Weekly Photo Challenge: New

Patience is a virtue, we gardeners remind ourselves. Nothing tests that quality like the installation of a new garden:

black and white

Taking on a one-hundred year old house means learning to love renovations. Or at least accept them. The challenge is not to have too glaring a contrast between the old and new. We’ve tried to have the new construction blend seamlessly into the old. Sometimes we’re successful, sometimes not.

The first summer after we moved in, we ripped out the hideous “landscaping” which was swallowing up the side porch and was nothing more than a tangled, overgrown mess of ivy, both poisonous and English. It was the perfect opportunity to install a new garden.

How to make it look like it had always been there? We decided on a parterre garden. Parterres are traditionally designed to be viewed from above – you know, from the upper stories of the chateau – where their elaborate hardscapes can best be admired.

I decided on a much less elaborate design which appealed to my love of symmetry and wasn’t too full of itself.

Enough talking. Here is the installation of the new garden:

No proper Virginia garden is without brick:

the circle 001 - Copy 003 - Copy

The thing is, like pasta, you can’t rush a garden.

IMG_20140828_103133

Sadly, I am not capable of dangling out of a second story porch window AND holding the camera straight.

 

You’ve got to give it a couple years before the “new” wears off, and it starts to look as though it has always been there:

49cfe1d09b00300850e5e6156770159c

As you can see, my style of gardening is “controlled chaos.”

IMG_20140518_091411

IMG_20140628_100431

A view of the parterre side of the house as Berkley and I returned from our walk. We haven’t seen the dear old boy in a while, have we?

And so the question remains, when are you coming to visit? We can sit on the porch and solve the problems of the world together sipping tea or mint juleps, whichever you prefer.

Thanks for reading,

Barbara

About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. And the odd thought or two.
This entry was posted in Challenges, Garden, Projects and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

127 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: New

  1. Wow! I’ll bring the champagne.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gorgeous. I used to love doing all the brickwork.

    Like

  3. suzicate says:

    So lovely! I can imagine sitting out their with a notebook and pen, ah such a lovely thought!
    We did our back using cobblestone which used to be a main street nearby…I love the history behind it and want to rip it up and take it with us if we ever sell…hubby says we must leave it behind…we shall see!

    Like

    • You don’t have to leave it behind, Suzie, you could stipulate in your listing that the cobblestone doesn’t convey!! I think maybe hubby just doesn’t deal with digging it up and hauling it away. I love cobblestone in a garden and used some over in the potting shed garden we did last summer. Thanks!

      Like

  4. Victo Dolore says:

    Oh, wow! That is absolutely gorgeous.

    Like

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    Wow, such a beautiful transformation. “Controlled chaos” – I love it. I think my style must be simply “chaos” as I think I lost any control years ago – lol! Nice to see the B dog again. Lovely post and garden, I’ll add it to my list of must-sees. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Almost Iowa says:

    If I come to visit, do you promise not to hand me a shovel? 🙂

    Like

  7. Lauren Owen says:

    That is a beautiful oasis.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. smilecalm says:

    impressive
    space 🙂

    Like

  9. claywatkins says:

    lovely garden – it looks like a very peaceful place to enjoy a summer evening or spring afternoon – have a happy new year!

    Like

  10. It’s heavenly Barbara! Could I bring MissouREE wine?

    Like

  11. Jeanie T says:

    Barb,you know that I love your beautiful home, inside and out. I do believe it is Architectural Digest, Southern Living, Homes and Gardens, etc. worthy! your diligence and hard work has certainly paid off.

    Like

    • You are too kind, Jeanie, really. That’s the thing with photographs – we can hide all manner of sins which I’m sure is exactly what goes on in some of those photo spreads we admire so in the magazines you reference. If I were to take a photo of what it looks like right now, the Garden Gestapo would come haul me away!Thank you, my friend. XXX

      Like

  12. Outlier Babe says:

    It looks like heaven, to me, Barbara. My goodness, what a happy, contented place. Hard to hold on to a temper for very long, waking up there, walking outside there, coming home to there, I would imagine.

    Congratulations to you both on your superb job of planning and execution.

    Like

  13. reocochran says:

    I loved this beautiful brick inlaid patio. It is such a lovely way to have not only updated the back yard, but it also brings back past historic circular images, Barb! I am on a mission, going to get a movie with my grandson, Micah. So, must leave the hallowed grounds of the library and then, off to pick up a pizza. It is a rainy day but never miserable around my place! Smiles, Robin

    Like

    • Enjoy that movie with your grandson, Robin, I will await the reviews. So happy you enjoyed a view into my garden which literally, Robin, hums and bounces from bee activity in the summer. You would like it very much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        I already love it, just re-read your above story and realize it is located on the side of the house…. It is an amazing place and I love it already. Yes, I hope to stop by, someday in the future, with lots of planning and your knowledge of said visit, too.
        I had fun with my grandson and wish I could show you the ‘robot’ design he made with his dominoes, the beautiful rainbow design he made of colored juice and milk caps, red, orange, blue, black, purple, pink and white, it is like layers of big colors, if you think of each cap as a ‘point’ then it appears like Pointillism style, Barb!
        Our movie we watched was a version of the Madagascar, only featuring a duck and the penguins. The three penguins who follow orders adore the baby duck’s egg and feel like they are papa’s, while the bossy drill sergeant penguin wishes to ‘shape’ the baby egg up before he is even born! He must undergo all kinds strange exercises, all the while my little MIcah is afraid he will break the egg! He is so sweet, he had me take a picture of him in his pajamas and send it to his mom and dad, telling them good night. I showed the art, the domino robot and the pajamas photos several times during my day at work…. smiles, Robin

        Like

      • I bet you would love the ability to post photographs, wouldn’t you Robin? Then we could all see the splended Pointillism of young Micah along with his domino robot. He sounds like a very nice little boy and what joy it must give you to be his grand-mere! If he is a mini-Seurat, then he must have a grandmere, after all!

        Like

  14. joannesisco says:

    Once again you have blown me away with what a beautiful home you have. That was a very ambitious project … especially from my perspective – a gardener in theory, but lacking in practical follow-thru.

    It looks like the perfect place to pass an afternoon chatting with friends – old and new.
    … I’m going to start packing now 🙂

    Like

    • Seriously, Joanne, when we look back at pictures of some of the projects we’ve undertaken, we both shake our heads and wonder how the heck did we do that? Installing that parterre took the good part of an entire summer. Roger did all of the cutting in and design of the paths, but we had a mason do the actual brick work. And let’s just say he was a tad unreliable. He would show up so hungover we weren’t sure he’d get through the day, but once he was here, he’d work like a fiend.

      Come in the spring or summer! I’ll save a space on the porch just for you! Oh! We have a good dark night sky here for Mr. Science….

      Like

  15. Jodi says:

    So lovely, Barbara. You have such an eye for design and beauty! Such an inviting space. I hope I will get to experience it one day! 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you so much, Jodi, and I hope so too. Do you garden at all?

      Like

      • Jodi says:

        I tried a small vegetable and herb garden this year, and I do a few flowers, but nothing like you have going on! I have hanging baskets and potted plants on decks and porches.

        At our previous house, we had a massive perennial garden that burned us all out of gardening – mainly all the weeding!! That’s the part we all hate. 🙂

        Like

      • And there are one or two other things on your plate. Looking forward to seeing the progress you make with your new camera!!

        Like

  16. Your garden is just beautiful, Barbara. How I’d love to have a spot of tea and chat with you there. The brick is a lovely touch. Excellent photos – even if you couldn’t manage to dangle from the window and shoot to perfection. 😉

    Like

  17. nrhatch says:

    Absolutely gorgeous, Barbara. It blends seamlessly with the porch as if they’ve always been besties.

    I enjoyed the image of you dangling out the window to get the best shot!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. A lovely civilised adjunct to your house…your style of gardening looks to be much like that of Christopher Lloyd at Great Dixter…do you know his books?

    Like

    • Oh! Oh! Oh! No, I have never even heard of him!! And I call myself a gardener! Read this:
      His writing style, honed over the years, was witty and entertaining, sometimes acerbic, sometimes eccentric, but always informative.

      How marvelous, Helen, I do adore an acerbic eccentric! I have in my book pile a wonderful new (old) Beverley Nichols – my current British garden writer-obsession, but there is room for more, I’m sure. Thank you for the tip!

      You do know that I can’t help but think of that crazy Jim Ignatowski on “Taxi” every time I see the name Christopher Lloyd?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Heyjude says:

        Excuse me for butting in, but I thought you might like a walk around Great Dixter as I have a post about it (and a dozen or so other gardens) http://wp.me/p3jVw4-UT
        It is a delightful place but I think yours reminds me more of Sissinghurst.
        (I hope you don’t mind me posting a link, I know it’s not always blog etiquette to do so, but I’m not selling anything – honest 😀 )
        Jude xx

        Like

      • Oh, gosh no! I am delighted! Popping over instantly!

        Like

  19. What a beautiful home and garden! I long for a home with a sunny yard again – ours in too far in the woods to get a lot of light. Sipping a cocktail on a warm afternoon there is heavenly I’m sure! Camille

    Like

  20. Kentucky Angel says:

    It’s amazing Barbara.. I love it, and will be there soon. How about making that mint tea? I realize mint juleps are considered my state drink, but personally I consider them rather, uh, nasty? Such a waste of good bourbon and mint.
    BTW, I would like to invite you, and all of your followers to stop by my blog, the one called Reviving An Award, and pick up the 2 Angel Awards that are posted there, or if you only want one of them, get the one of your choice. I created that award a couple of years ago to spread love around the world, and now I would like to use it again to spread Peace, Love and Harmony in an attempt to reclaim the earth before we lose it forever to the “progress” that has killed it. You are making a wonderful contribution to that effort, and if everyone did one small thing, maybe it would not be too late to save a tree, a plot of grass, or a river to pass down to future generations. Maybe even some clean air to breathe. Okay, enough about that. Just taking baby steps here.

    Like

    • Your remark about the mint juleps reminds me of my father’s opinion of mimosas: “A waste of both champagne AND orange juice.” Naturally his opinion does nothing deter me from enjoying them whenever I have the chance!

      Sure, Angie, I will go over and read what your Angel Award is all about. Thank you and mint tea sounds awfully good too!

      Like

  21. Sue Mayo says:

    I love everything you and Roger have done with the Barn. It is more beautiful than the pictures.

    Like

  22. In AWE. Absolutely beautiful. Prove that patience is a virtue, and that working hard on something gives great rewards in the end.

    Like

    • A gardener without patience would be the most frustrated creature on earth. I remember transplanting some bulbs from a friend’s garden and waiting breathlessly for them to emerge. And they didn’t bloom that first spring. Arrrgghhh. Next year, next year is our mantra. Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Your parterre garden is so, so pretty and lush. Thanks for sharing the back story and pics. Sitting on the porch overlooking the garden sipping something long and cool would be a slice of heaven!

    Like

  24. Ah….what a wonderful trip back in time 🙂 and such a wonderful reminder of why I admire your gardening skills (not to mention Roger’s architectural ingenuity!). I love your “controlled chaos”…and wish terribly that I could master the “control” part a bit better! I cherish the time spent sitting on that lovely porch (making metal notes of things that I should be trying at home in my own garden :-)!) and look forward to the next visit, whenever that may be.

    Like

    • And one hopes that some of those mental notes included “Pay Attention to Plant Spacing Requirements!” When will I ever learn? And, Terry, when I walked through your lovely South Carolina garden, I thought how wonderful it is that we all learn from each other when it comes to gardening. I haven’t been through one yet that hasn’t taught me something. Yes, none of this would have happened without BH’s excellent skills.

      Like

  25. BTW…SO lovely to see Berk again 🙂

    Like

  26. What lovely “controlled chaos!” Our “brickyard” is Spanish country if it had a name. And we too laid each brick, as well as handmade tile floors and counters. It is a true labor of love, isn’ t it? Nice to be able to simply enjoy it all. It will bee a pleasure to hear all your improvements on your old house.

    Like

    • Agreed on both points, Kayti. It is a true labor of love and it’s awfully darn nice to enjoy it after all that hard work. Ooooh, now I am so eager to see your Spanish country oasis. Do you have citrus trees? Oleander? Or other lovely plantings that I can’t even imagine? Do point me to a post if you’ve written one about your garden and if not? Well, there’s fodder for a future blog post…..

      Like

  27. Oh, definitely the mint julep. And I shall bring my parasol and extra wide straw hat and we shall sit in your garden and talk about Mr Carlington who just moved into town and what his intentions are towards Miss Mae.

    And I will try not to turn mint green in envy at your beautiful garden. 🙂 (And I can’t get over how green everything is!)

    Like

    • Hey Heather-belle, I am chuffed that you have gleaned such an uncannily accurate picture of Virginia life from my posts! Get that parasol out of mothballs and I’ll start muddling the mint.

      My garden doth not grow too green right now – we are in the middle of winter, but in a few months, watch out! I understand it’s been hotter than blazes in your neck of the woods?

      Liked by 1 person

  28. menomama3 says:

    I admire your energy in tackling such a massive job – clearly a labour of love, both the house and the garden. I have a fine collection of hats that would beautifully accessorize the occasion of sitting on your veranda and drinking mint juleps with you.

    Like

  29. Love watching projects take shape over time. There is rarely a better feeling that to be able to see the fruits of one’s labors and to be able to live in and with them. This is lovely, Barbara.

    Like

  30. Heyjude says:

    Hello Barbara, I popped over to look at your blog as I am always so impressed by the comments you leave on Margaret Rose’s blog(s) so I figured it was time I had a browse around yours only to find out that you have the most GORGEOUS house ever, and designed a beautiful front garden to boot! I am so green with envy :mrgreen: as I am still looking for my dream house and garden (or actually garden with house attached). I may have to join the tribe and see what else you get up to. And sipping mint juleps sounds just fine 🙂
    Cheers
    Jude xx

    Like

    • Hey Jude!
      Did you know in the real South, they never say ‘Hi?” It’s always “He -ey” with mandatory two syllable drawl. Garden with house attached sounds just exactly right to me! Please come pop in whenever you like – there is no rhyme or reason to what goes on around here – I am one of those nicheless bloggers! So happy to read this comment and Cheers to you in this bright new year! Barbara

      Like

  31. dorothy says:

    Too bad all your blogging friends can’t visit your gorgeous property in person. Heaven on earth. And Berkley is looking down checking out the squirrel situation.

    Like

  32. Behind the Story says:

    Oh, my gosh! It’s beautiful. The combination of symmetry and a little bit of chaos is perfect.

    Like

    • Thank you, Nicki. Your gorgeous Pacific Northwest has some of the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever seen. My sister lived in Vancouver, WA for many years and would show me around the area. In particular I remember the rose gardens in Portland!!

      Like

      • Behind the Story says:

        The Portland Rose Garden is beautiful. Another special garden is the Butchart Gardens near Victoria, BC.

        Like

      • Butchart is on my travel bucket list for sure. I think, from the photos anyway, it might be one of the most beautiful garden areas ever!! I am kicking myself for not taking the time the one and only time we were in Victoria – you know how you always think you’ll come back to place….

        Liked by 1 person

  33. bkpyett says:

    What an amazing job you have done reconstructing what looks as if it has always been there. The brick work looks beautiful and now the gardens have grown the whole garden looks magnificent.
    Your lawns look so green, do they remain green all year? It is a credit to you, Barbara!

    Like

    • No, our lawns brown up in the winter and usually in mid-summer too when the real heat arrives. We have a very hot and humid climate here Virginia and often get very little rain in July and August. Beastly hot, often, although last summer was a reprieve from the intense heat. I know you are in the midst of quite the heat wave now, right? How doth your garden grow in the heat?

      Like

  34. dogear6 says:

    How gorgeous. It was a lot of work, but a wonderful end result. I’m glad you shared it and showed it off to all of us!

    Nancy

    Like

  35. Aquileana says:

    It looks perfect!… Sending you all my best wishes!. Aquileana 😀

    Like

  36. ritaroberts says:

    WOW ! So beautiful is your garden Barbara. I have so much difficulty in growing those colourful flowers here in Crete. They last about 6-8 weeks and then get all shriveled up with the heat. I have created shade for them but no-go. Geraniums are about the only flower which don’t suffer quite so much ,but then I don’t like geraniums too much anyway Shrubs and trees are better but they still get scorched with the heat. You must put a lot of time into your garden but at least you are rewarded for your hard work. Its simply gorgeous. Thanks for sharing. I will keep coming back to your blog just to have a look at your garden.

    Like

    • Rita, your environment would be conducive to all the silvery tough herbal plants: lavender, rosemary, salvias. Sadly, lush green gardens probably not. I do put a lot of time and energy into the garden; some refer to it as work, I think of it as gardening (most of the time.) Believe me, when it gets 95 and so humid you can barely stand it, I am not so enamored with it all! Happy New Year, Rita.

      Like

  37. KerryCan says:

    Holy cow! What a gorgeous house and gardens!! I understand that it all must’ve been a lot of work but the payoff is amazing–just beautiful. Our approach to gardening is so different–my husband sees something he likes at the garden center, brings it home, and we wander around, looking for a bare spot, and plunk it there! We did have to start completely from scratch a few years ago, when our yard was flooded for several weeks and everything died but, even then, we did very little planning. When I see what you created, I wish we’d done more!

    Like

    • I’m laughing at the image of “plunking” plants down into a bare spot. You are hardly alone. Here’s what I’ve learned after many years of gardening…..plants are the very last thing that should happen in a garden. All of the bones of the garden need to be in place first before the plunking commences! LOL! Carry on with your gorgeous weavings.

      Like

  38. Dear Readers of Barbara’s blog: I can attest to it – her garden is really beautiful, I’ve seen it with my own eyes 🙂 I had no idea you made this garden from scratch, Barbara. It must be so rewarding now to sit on the porch and look out over your successful project.

    Like

  39. Sandra says:

    That is just so beautiful. I can imagine you spending many happy hours there. I love gardens that have structure but where the softness of the plants and flowers gently redefine the lines. I’m green with envy.

    Like

  40. la_lasciata says:

    I remember the previous posts. I shall remember this one, too.
    How utterly rewarding and joyous, dear Barbara ! – how … SATISFYING !!!
    And how simply beautiful.

    Like

  41. Oh, how gorgeous! I am inspired! You really know how to pull it all together. What a lovely view from upstairs. Old homes are so magical and full of possibility (yes, and cobwebs and eccentricities, I know….) but you have certainly breathed fresh life into yours! Just lovely! Hugs, and I’ll bring the wine. Shall we try for April? Hugs, WG

    Like

    • Cobwebs and Eccentricities! That should have been my blog name, WG!! COL!!! Fits me perfectly! April sounds good to me. Be prepared to leave with clumps and clumps of stuff though!

      Like

      • Ah, something to look forward to at last 😉 I know your garden will be glorious in April 😉 And the back of “Goldie” is always prepared to accept garden gifts 😉 See you then, if not before 😉 Hugs, WG (I am still intrigued by the wonderful name you chose: Silver in the Barn. Such “old Virginia” elegance…)

        Liked by 1 person

  42. Your garden is stunning! Thank you for sharing it with us!

    Like

  43. I’m positively green with envy BUT thank you for these lovely images and inspiration to start my new year.

    Like

  44. Barbara Stevens says:

    “Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.” Mary Sarton
    To see your vision come to fruition is a joy. (An introvert, Barbara? I think not)

    Like

    • How I love this quote. Yes, gardening is an instrument of grace. I cannot tell you how often I’ve seen it as a metaphor for life in many, many ways. Thank you.

      I do very much feel like an introvert if left to my own devices. You know that “Quiet” made me suspect she had set up a spy drone in my head. We must discuss this further IN PERSON! Happy New Year to you, dear friend.

      Like

  45. Barbara Stevens says:

    Oops, *May Sarton

    Like

  46. Oh, wow, this garden is spectacular. And your house, too.

    Like

    • Thank you, Audrey. Really the old barn looks good from this angle….kind of like Greta Garbo had her preferred side…..it was the decidedly least impressive of the many lovely plantation homes that once surrounded the area. I’m so happy you like the garden – kind of my pride and joy, if you couldn’t tell! Are you a gardener at all?

      Like

  47. Parnassus says:

    Hello Barbara, A large old house, a rambling yard, a green lawn–I love houses but have never owned one (renting isn’t the same). At least I can experience such charms vicariously though your splendid home. And if brick garden walks were not part of the fantasy before, they are now!
    –Jim

    Like

    • Hello Jim, this particular view of the southern exposure of the old “barn” is my favorite. The porch looks out over the yard and a small field and then into my neighbor’s field where her horses graze. That’s where that wildly-dressed mule resides (you may remember?) The brick paths are my favorite part of the whole garden, so I thank you. If life ever brings you to Virginia, the garden gate is open.

      Like

  48. I LOVE THAT GARDEN! And the dog. And the house and yard. And thank you for the invitation. I’ll be there shortly. 🙂

    Like

  49. Dixie Minor says:

    Wow! This is sooo beautiful , I love it! Thank you for sharing. I love your house too! Happy New Year to you, Barbara!

    Like

I welcome your comments:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s