Monday, April 29, 2019

Jenkins Arboretum

Hi Dear Folk,

A lovely afternoon out at Jenkins Arboretum.  I went with friends and we took a packed lunch.  Sunday was rather chilly and cold, in fact last night went way down to the thirties.  The arboretum is at it's best this time of year with the azaleas and rhododendrons, it's also known for woodland flowers.

Spring is that green here in Pennsylvania.

Trillium, I love them with their three leaves, they also come in white.

A deciduous azalea, I had two at my old house and wish I'd brought them with me.


Friday, April 26, 2019

Shed Shingles Maybe Tomorrow

Hi Dear Folk,

I was happy about breaking new ground for my rose garden, which is exciting, but a lot of work and will take me several days to just finish the making of the garden.  It sits right outside my Simla Room windows, so will enjoy that.  It will be dug out all the way to the azalea bush.

As I was working the area seemed to be a haven for these little black midge flies, they get under my glasses as I'm working and although you don't feel it at the time, sting you.  I must be very allergic to them, because the one side of my face and eye is totally swollen, itchy, the skin feels stretched, so quite painful.  It happens to me every year in the garden at some point.

I did enough turning of soil to plant two rose bushes.  I will monitor them carefully, because I am pushing the boundaries of where they can be planted.  Roses like 6 -8 hours of sunlight, and best to be first thing in the morning.  This area only gets 4 hours and not until the afternoon.  If they really don't like it there I will dig them up and move them.  So may not turn out to be a rose garden right there, but it will still be a garden, I have a few things to add to it.  Listening to Small Spaces Big Dreams, Monty Don, one can push boundaries, you just have to see.  I also decided to take out of a big pot and plant here, my Strawberries and Cream hydrangea.  The two dailyness and butterfly bush were already here.

On the whole my eight existing rose bushes haven't had the total attention that they have needed, so to rectify that I am feeding them a fish fertilizer that I saw recommended and see how that works.  Also I compost so have added that to the soil.

I thought the roof shingles would go on yesterday, but they did not and today rained most of the day and now it is very dark and looks like a thunder storm is coming in, yes it's pouring.  On the whole the weather has been favorable for my shed build.  I think it may be finished by the end of next week, but that depends on the weather.

The scaffolding is up to put the roof shingles on.

I'm second guessing myself on window light.  I love the porch on my shed, but it will limit the light coming through the French doors there.  Also the whole shed sits right under my giant pin oak, so a shady area already.  I have another set of French doors going in on the oak tree side, along with an almost floor to ceiling window, and I have another window going in on the street side, a little smaller but still a fair size window.  At the moment the two end walls and part of the side wall are still open and it seems dark inside, so I'm wondering if it needs another window.  I had originally wanted a little one on the apex opposite the front entrance, but they are so expensive, that unless I come across one cheaper, I was not going to put it in, but may need to rethink that.  Things are always a work in progress.  In fact I thought the windows I got were too large when I got them home, but now I'm thinking there is not enough light.  Mr. B. said there is no reflective light inside, so will definitely be painting the inside white and I think that will make a huge difference.

I am happy with the placement of the shed, because to get the width I wanted and distance from the street that the borough requires, I thought it might look a little squashed against the trunk of the tree, but it does not and enough room to walk through easily and give the tree room to breath.  Plus we had no need to cut into any of the roots and I was happy about that.

The builder mentioned at a future date insulating the shed, and panelling it, but I like the wood framework of the shed showing inside and on the whole I hate panelling, but maybe there is new stuff out there that I would like. I have some ideas about this, one painting the beams white, then using denim insulation, which is about two inches thick, the R factor is not as high as fiberglass insulation, but I don't have to use the shed in the depths of winter.  Over the insulation, which will go between the wood structure, I was going to staple a fabric.  Whether this will work I don't know.

Will step up onto the porch from my patio.

I will have a view right down the length of my garden from the porch, can't wait.  Iced tea lemoncello here I come.  This is something I've dreamed of for years and probably will wish I had done it years ago, still I'm enjoying it now.

I was asked the style of my house and it is Dutch Colonial, that is what it is called here in Pennsylvania.  We don't think of the Dutch as having a huge influence in America, but that is not true.  Many of the old families were of Dutch decent, such as the Roosevelt's, also New York City was at one time called New Amsterdam, and of course Harlem and you could go on.

Lots of work in the garden, here was one little job but took a lot of time.  I had one pot of hosta on the oak tree patio in an old plastic pot falling apart, so I split the hosta into three and planted it here. It was very heavy. I also lifted all those path stones, they were so sunken that roots from the fir tree had grown over them and every time it rained they were covered in mud, now they are a lot better.  My peonies are budding there, so I'm quite happy with this newly cleaned up area leading into one side of my Simla Room.

Every time it rains a different type of fungus pops out on the root stump of my old ash tree.  Such a rich brown and texture, covered in pollen from the oak.  I've seen blue fungi and red fungi, tall and short, different shapes, such variety and joy to see, doing it's work breaking down those old roots.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Rolling Right Along On The Shed Build

Hi Dear Folk,

Things are coming together on my shed build, a couple of boo boos but nothing major that can't be rectified.  The French doors are 80 inches high and we only made the side walls 78 inches high, we could have made them higher but didn't.  This can be worked around.  The doors leading onto the porch will be full height and will open inwards, the doors leading off the side will be need to be cut two inches and will open inwards.  The apex of the roof it around 9 feet high.  The builder kept the angle of the roof in line with the angle of the roof of the garage and I think that works well.

The two windows I bought are quite large so almost floor to roof line windows, that's ok lots of light and a picture window view.

I love my wisteria, the fragrance and beauty, the bees love it too.

The porch roof was added on today, it's truly starting to shape up.

My neighbors across the road are moving after 45 years, we will miss them.  He said when they moved in my pin oak was 10 feet tall.  Now after fifty odd years it is a monster, fortunately healthy with a life span of 120 years so a few more to go, it will see us out.  I don't fancy having to have it cut down.  I said to Mr. B. we could pay someone a million dollars and they would never be able to get rid of every oak leaf in our yard, it's never ending.  My neighbor said "the gift that keeps on giving."  Just after you finish cleaning the leaves then all the cattails with pollen fall.  The life of a gardener.

Just a couple of things in the garden, stag horn fern one of my favorites.

Columbine flower, always think they should be in fairy tale picture books.

Well that's it.  No not quite, I've decided to plant a rose garden outside my Simla room windows.  My aunt has over one hundred roses in her garden in England, it's heavenly.  I have eight in my garden dotted about, but a whole garden just of roses would be nice and they would get enough sun there.  I'm looking for some specific roses, several I wanted were already sold out, I guess I've left it a bit late.  But a couple still in stock are Julia Child's and Macy's Pride, I also liked Amber Queen and I am trying to keep within a certain price range.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Shed Is Shaping Up

Hi Dear Folk,

It is chilly and I feel I should go back to my wool jumpers, not sweatshirts, which are not as warm.  I'm sitting here with the gas stove on in the Simla Room as I'm quite chilly.

More work was done on the shed today.  The shed size is 9 feet wide by 16 feet long, the porch area will be a bit smaller as we lost some inches at the back.  We could have cut a huge branch off the bush in the corner but it really would have decimated it, so for the sake of keeping some nice greenery, we did not take the shed back quite as far as we were.

 Although we had to take up some patio and move some pots, we were able to keep all of my already existing gardens, and foliage, which will make the whole area look less stark and new.

That's siding sitting on the patio.  I kept that part of the patio and it is from the side there that I will step up onto the porch and into the shed.

I have two sets of these almost one hundred year old French doors as I previously said.  I took them out today and gave them a good clean, the mice had made a terrible mess of them, even gnawing some frets.  At least all the damage was on the outside of the doors and not the inside, I will sand them and stain them again.

These are the screens, I will clean them up another time.

Here are the columns, we're just using two of them.  And thinking of Paris I love that photo print by Robert Doisneau hanging in the background.

My new windows from habitat and found my deck chairs up in the rafters, that fortunately the mice had not got in to.

I cleaned this chandelier which was sitting in our basement, I don't even remember where it came from, I will hang that in the center of the shed.

I was going to hang this crystal chandelier which a friend gave me a while ago, but I had forgotten that all the wiring was gone, so will make this chandelier into a candle chandelier, maybe with cups and saucers on, wouldn't that be nice?  I thought of getting a wrought iron hanging arm and hanging it on that in the shed.

So many ideas swimming in my head.

Let's hope the rain keeps off.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Ground Was Broke On My New Shed

Hi Dear Folk,

I've been working away in the garden, clearing up after winter and getting this area ready for my shed build. Today dawned cold, bright and sunny a good day to start to lay the foundation for my shed.  It's an exciting time to see things come to fruition.

Yesterday we pulled down out of the garage rafters, two sets of old French screen doors that I have, original to this house, so almost a hundred years old.  It was a dirty job, as the mice had nested on the top of them and made a right mess.  We also got down the three circular columns.  I will have to give the doors a good clean.  They have glass panels that clip in and out, and in the summer you can take them out and put in screens, all wood.  We took them off the house when we made the porch into a sun room.

This is the area we are going to put the shed.  We had to take some of the slab patio up and move everything.  Plus dig out a huge forsythia bush, it took Mr. B. three hours to dig it out.

I took some of the slabs and laid them down the side of the garage.

I love this time of year because everything is fresh and bright green.

Here's the base floor, walls will go up tomorrow.

On the garden end to the left of the above photo we will add a deck porch, using two of the columns.  I bought two brand new windows at Habitat for Humanity.

I cleaned an old chandelier to put inside and I also bought a ceiling fan at Habitat for the porch.

It's something I've wanted for a long while.  My own personal space at the bottom of the garden, under the oak tree.

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