Apologies for the abrupt stop back in May. Due to a series of conversations that seem a blur in retrospect, Nora and I have left the “farm” in northern NY and returned to Connecticut. The decision was made in mid-June, my job back at the old firm secured by mid-July, and new house acquired and move complete by the end of August.
As you may imagine, those three months were a bit of a whirlwind. With the new, “old” job to acclimate to, and all of the unpacking, painting, furniture acquisition, etc., I’m just beginning to feel as though I can catch my breath…and now along come the holidays!
At any rate, gardening was the last thing on my mind…other than the occasional guilty pang of having left mine mid-summer stride. If you had asked me in early July, I would have told you I planned on digging up vast swathes of my NY gardens, putting my precious plants in pots, renting a 2nd moving van if necessary, and transporting them to their new home in CT. Alas, as the time to move grew closer and the chaos of dismantling a farm, packing up a house, buying a new house in a state that was 7 hours away, gearing up to re-enter the world of “big law” threatened to overtake and consume us, the notion of packing up and moving a garden seemed increasingly insane. So, here I am…and there it remains.
However, despite my confidence that our place in NY would sell this past fall, that did not happen. The happy side of that is I can travel up there in early spring and abscond with the plants of my choice. Because, as you will see from the photos below (and the one above), although I have substantially downsized acreage-wise (54 acres versus 1.3 acres), I have a wonderfully empty canvas on which to work.
We bought a beautiful Greek Revival style house, built in 1856, complete with hardwood floors, multiple fireplaces, 10 foot ceilings, gorgeous molding throughout and a solarium (below) with the original lead-glass paned windows and slate floor.
The backyard patio is constructed from original brownstone from the Portland quarry, and there are stone walls throughout.
The house is surrounded by some very old, large trees (mostly of the fir variety) which unfortunately are on their last legs and now pose a threat to the house. So some unanticipated tree removal will occur over the next couple of months. Although sad to see these old trees go, it will allow some much needed sunlight in what was a heavily shaded backyard, as well as actually allowing light into the solarium.
The previous owners put a lot of time an effort into renovating the inside of the house, but gardening does not appear to have been a priority. There is the occasional rhododendron and many hydrangea (definitely the New England shrub of choice for non-gardeners) surrounding the pool area, and a few perennials here and there. There are also some well-placed walkways, and large, well mulched borders, but as I said, largely a blank canvas.
Did I mention there’s a bocce court…yeah., that’s coming out.