Galloping Horse Garden, Part Deux
After a whirlwind couple of weeks, we are all moved in to our new home. We absolutely love it.
More than a few of my siblings have pointed out that the new place bears a remarkable resemblance to our childhood home in White Plains, New York. Of course it does. That's partly why I fell in love with it.
We also love our new neighborhood, which feels like a throwback to the 1950s. Everywhere you look there are front porches, picket fences, and little kids riding bikes on the sidewalk. How I got here I have no idea. True, gritty urban chic was never my thing, even when I lived in New York, but I wasn't exactly the Donna Reed type either. Yet without knowing when or how, I seem to have entered a new phase of life: the cranky "everything-then-was-great-and-everything-now-is-rotten" phase. What makes my 50s nostalgia truly ironic is that I wasn't alive during the 50s.
Yup, I am definitely getting old. Not only am I fondly recalling places and times that I never experienced, but I am losing my zeal for DIY. At the last house, we painted, put down flooring, even did a complete bathroom remodel. Most of our efforts were "galloping horse" productions, meaning they looked fine if the lights were out and you didn't have your glasses on. But lately I've come to see the beauty of making a few phone calls.
For example, we hated the wall colors in our new house. Someone - no doubt the real estate agent - had talked the seller into painting the house dreary shades of mushroom and taupe. Obviously they were going for a neutral palette, but the effect instead was to make you want to pull the shades down and sit in the dark, the better to contemplate the meaninglessness of your empty existence. Time to dial 1-800-I-Like-Service. In came Norberto, painter extraordinaire, who had the whole thing wrapped up in 3 days. Above, our homage to George Washington's dining room at Mount Vernon; below, our sitting area, done in something called "Field Poppy."
With the inside coming together, we're turning our attention to the outside, where a typical North Carolina summer is unfolding. It's 95 and humid pretty much every day - not ideal weather for planting. And maybe that's just as well. Before I can even consider putting anything into the ground, we have a fence to replace and a yard to remodel. We're thinking a picket fence, a pergola, a brick seating area, and as much garden space as possible. Now if we could just get someone to return our phone calls. I don't do fences.
CONGRATULATIONS!!! It looks gorgeous! I know you must be so glad to be moved and on to working on your new place! I love all your color - I've never been one for neutral colors, myself, either ;) It's good to be at that stage where you can call someone. After wearing ourselves out this spring, I think we'd love to get to that stage as well!
6/21/2014 11:32:44 am
Thanks so much. I'm glad I'm not the only one who loves color on the walls. Beige is boring! From your blog, your work looks a lot better than mine, so you don't seem as if you need to call anyone. Although there is definitely something to be said for not breaking your back.
6/21/2014 06:24:19 am
Hey, my bathroom must also have been inspired by Mount Vernon! It's the same shade and one of my favorite colors. Everything looks beautiful--I'm looking forward to seeing it in person.
6/21/2014 11:33:57 am
Great minds think alike - you, me, and George Washington. Schmoogie is all settled in, except he has trouble with the wood stairs. We need to put in a runner for him so he doesn't slip. Nothing is too good for my baby.
6/21/2014 08:44:10 am
I love your new house. I have a question for your consideration. Has the gardening industry gotten rid of scented flowers? I just walked around my local annuals purveyor and none of the flowers seemed to have any scent except perhaps the petunias. Or am I just getting old?
6/21/2014 11:35:50 am
You're totally right - they have bred the scent out of most of the flowers. I suppose while they trying to get just the right color, and vigor, and growth habit, etc. etc., something has to give, and it's the scent. Although most marigolds still smell. Do you like them? Most people hate the smell, but I kind of like it.
6/21/2014 09:46:50 am
Your new house is gorgeous! I love your interior colors! My walls are painted a pale creamy yellow but after spending all day in a windowless classroom decorated in primary colors, I needed a mellow space to unwind in. What are your plans for the garden?
6/21/2014 11:38:06 am
My plans change every hour on the hour. For instance, since I posted this, we got a quote on fences, the result of which was that Ron has decided that we don't need one after all. Now I'm wondering how to design a garden that's basically a rectangle with no walls to provide definition. Where do you put the tall plants?
6/23/2014 04:41:57 am
Here's an idea: Go to Lowe's and out in the garden section they have black metal 3-4 ft tall decorative fence panels that can be linked together very easily. I used them to create our dog run. You just buy what you need and stuff them in the ground. It's cheap, won't rot, and provides definition.
6/23/2014 11:13:04 am
I've seen those fences and wondered how good they are. I will definitely check them out.
6/22/2014 05:08:46 am
Thanks, Alain. The back yard has potential, I agree. But it's a totally new challenge for me - thoughtfully designing a small space, vs. randomly filling up a problematic larger area. I welcome all suggestions!
6/22/2014 05:10:14 am
I don't mind smaller DIY projects, but after injuring myself on big ones (like the bathroom renovation) while also doing a pretty crummy job, I see the wisdom of paying for expertise.
6/22/2014 02:07:45 pm
Thanks - I can't wait either! I am working on a few ideas, but still don't know quite where it's all going.
I'm happy for you! It is a beautiful home. And I too am having more appreciation for having stuff taken of by competent professionals instead of moi. Except for in the garden, of course. But even there- this week I'm paying people to plant a new crabapple. I have always planted trees myself, which has meant that our new trees have all been slightly larger than a stick. This time our new tree will actually look like a tree on the day of its arrival.
6/22/2014 02:09:51 pm
I secretly long to buy a full-size tree and have it planted. I'm not getting any younger, after all.
6/23/2014 10:34:02 am
Charm is oozing out all over! Your house is wonderful, and I love your paint choices. Definitely take some time to get settled before planting. As for the 50's, I was a little girl then, and I have good memories of those days. I think life was better!
6/23/2014 11:14:03 am
I agree! Or at least, in some major ways.
I think I must be getting old or maybe it's that I was weeding just before it started to rain, because I looked at your tiny backyard and the first thing that popped into my head is "small is good". I love my big garden, but the work can be overwhelming at times.
6/24/2014 02:10:08 pm
Thanks - I have thought of your blog many times as I contemplate my small back yard. I need design help, and I think 3 Dogs and a Garden is the place to find it. I am planning to review your past posts to see if I get any ideas.
6/24/2014 02:11:21 pm
Thanks so much. Any advice about starting a garden from scratch? If I recall, that was your situation.
Oh gosh... advice? Well, the first thing I did was plan, plan, plan. I had graph paper, plants stats, photos, a calculator, and I mapped out where everything was going to go. Then when I finally got all the plants and sat them down on the ground, I hated it. So, nothing is planted where I originally had planned, and I even moved a bunch of stuff this year too.
6/26/2014 01:42:09 am
in2paints, your comment is very apropos--I have some free time today and want to go to the nursery. And as I was figuring exactly what I needed and where, making little drawings and lists, I suddenly decided--eh, I'll just buy a bunch of things I like and figure it out when I get them home.
6/26/2014 02:20:27 am
I appreciate the advice also. My impulse is to just plop things down wherever I see fit, but my newly acquired blank slate has me thinking I should be a little more thoughtful. My guess is I'll revert back to form and just throw some things in and see how I like it.
6/27/2014 08:54:50 pm
Your new house is totes amazing ! Both exterior and interior. It is so iconic. Do you know its history ? How old is it? I have a bad case of house envy!
6/28/2014 03:21:47 am
Thanks so much - although it's funny, I have house (and garden) envy when I read your blog. I admit to being one of those Americans who secretly long for an English house and garden. As for my house (which yes, I do love) it was actually built in 2006. The neighborhood is new, but the style of the houses is old - they are Craftsman, Charleston, colonial, etc.
7/1/2014 04:05:52 pm
Yay! You're settling in so nicely! I like that idea of picking up the phone. I think I'll be doing more of that (God willing) in the years ahead as the budget allows. Love that backyard and patio area!
7/2/2014 01:55:01 am
I highly recommend picking up the phone. Of course, after we got some estimates, we decided to do some of the work ourselves after all - or not do the work, period.. It's astonishing how much things cost! Maybe I was a little naive after all those years of DIY.
7/7/2014 02:11:17 pm
Sorry about the slow response to your plant I.D. request Sarah. I had to look this one up as it is one of those not-so-common plants I got at Lost Horizons Nursery. It is Caryopteris divaricata, 'Snow Fairy'. It has insignificant blue flowers and beautiful variegated foliage. It is one of those plants where the foliage makes it special not the flowers. It has become a favourite! Height: 60 cm and Spread: 60cm (very similar in size and shape to a small Spirea) Full sun to half shade.
7/26/2014 03:18:31 pm
Thanks, Jennifer. I thought it might be caryopteris. It's really lovely and I may have to add one to my front garden, where it's half shade.
8/26/2014 02:46:03 pm
Thanks so much! I was away, so please forgive the late response. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
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The Galloping Horse Gardener is a native New Yorker who packed it in in 2005 to live under the radar in Cary, North Carolina. In 2014, she removed to a new secure location somewhere in Raleigh.
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