Brenda and Roger’s House

As part of the renovation of an 1835 house, the Brenda and Roger  hired me to do a master plan for the area around the house.  The project was huge and a great challenge, and we addressed it in phases.  Phase 1 was the back hillside and development of fenced perennial and vegetable gardens.  Phase II was planting in the front of the house,  a shrub and tree garden on the upper hillside, and a pathway system connecting it all.  Phase III was construction of a stone pathway and plantings down to the pond that the couple had put in.  Installation and construction of all these phases was done by Eichenlaub Landscaping under my supervision.

Moving into the area between the Pond and the Barn, we removed dozens of half dead trees, and reestablished the treeline with Sugar Maples and Swamp White Oaks.  I designed and installed two cedar ‘snake’ fences to define the space.  The wooded dry hillside was planted with sweeps of native ground covers and other perennials, and a shrub layer, including Bottlebrush Buckeye, Itea virginica, Corylus americana, Lindera benzoin, Rhus copallina and Calycanthus.  Some understory trees were added to augment the many sassafrass seedlings:  Conus florida, Cercis canadensis, aesculus pavia and persimmon.  Most of the planting was done by David Geisler and Gorgeous Gardens under my supervison.

The Meadow

Within this large fenced area, the owner no longer wished to mow the grass.  As a test, I installed a meadow in part of the space, utilizing containerized perennials and many plugs.  This combination of perennials and grasses took off quickly, and it soon became clear that the paths I had designed were too narrow, and weeding was needed.  A second area was planted with seed, a perennial and grass mixture with some annual seeds mixed in.  It was planted with a seed drill by a local nurseryman.  The grasses were slow to develop and in the first year the annuals, particularly the cosmos were incredibly tall and floriferous, shading out everything else.  The second year it was clear that the grasses had not developed evenly, probably due to the cosmos, and huge weeds began to take over.  After 3 years, the owner has mowed this entire area down and is planning the construction of a picnic pavilion.   Anyone planning or planting a meadow in an area that will be in use should  also plan and implement a regular maintenance schedule, particularly weeding, in the first few years.





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