… on dreams of a garden (wedding)


Winter Hydrangea

Yesterday, I was googling away, in total wedding planning mode.

The Nearly Perfect Husband walked by as I was looking up “skinny evergreens”. Then he walked by again when I was researching “Cornus Alternifolia”. Then he walked by again (lots of walking, this guy) when I was looking at the results of “Favorite flowery tree that looks good in winter for cardinals; titmouse”.

Why? What do you do when you google when you are planning a wedding?

JoHn finally stopped.

Him: “No.”

Me “What?!”

Him: “Do you just sit there with ideas pelting you in the head all the time?”

Does he not know me at all? 

Him (responding to my ‘duh!’ look): “No.”

Me: “I don’t…”

Him: “No spending money on more plants.”

Me: “Uh. These are trees.”

Him: “Same thing.”

Me: “No sir!” And then, before he could go any further I pummeled him with a whole bunch of facts about the trees I was looking at, and told him that these trees were all about hummingbirds.

Sidenote: Hummingbirds are a fave of the Nearly Perfect Husband and he is a sucker for any purchase that involves attracting them. Right now, in addition to bee balm, he is lucky enough to have hummingbird favorites including roses, hydrangea, daisies, viburnum, coreopsis, and a whole bunch of tulips and irises and also ornamental grasses. (Please don’t tell).

And then I explained that the dogwood, a hummingbird fave, might provide some privacy for the screen porch and also that the evergreen would make them feel safe all year ’round (being squishy and pine-scented and all). And then I mentioned that everything would look especially nice for the wedding.

And he said: “Fine. As long as it’s in the wedding budget.”

Silly guy.

The stuff that is permanent doesn’t count in the wedding budget.

I do not know how he manages to get through his days unscathed.

So anyway, I may have mentioned to you that we have some gardens in Maine… which sort of followed in the footsteps of the house – as in me saying, “Hey. If we just moved this one wall…” turning into an entire gut job and JoHn being able to wave to me through the foundation six months later.

No really.

Photographic proof:

And then that was all done and that little voice that mentioned ‘gardens’ when we bought the place started screaming.

I know. Poor JoHn.

So… (I’ll do these as befores and afters)


Where labyrinth now sits

Note the building (no longer there) is SINKING INTO THE GROUND.

Now The Labyrinth sits there. The apple trees and rhododendron were uncovered in the garden renovation/restoration/new-stuff-putter-in-er-ing, and came back beautifully.


The Labyrinth garden

House as we were creating gardens:

New paint goes on.

new stone walls…

The Inn

Sod and first plantings :))

The side now(ish):


All planted and happily growing with ‘The Squirrel Village’ in place


Standing by the screen porch, looking out at the water. A lot of the gardens were planned to look ‘messy’ and all ‘Giverny’.


More ‘Giverny’ gardens across the street.


In summer, white peonies show up in the foreground, with creamy yellow day lilies all along the wall.

The side and back of the house ‘before’:

And now…


Looking from the yard down toward the barn; yarrow and hydrangea and beach roses and herbs and lilacs and apple trees and…


Close up of limelight hydrangeas and ‘those pink things I like that begin with a ‘d” (I’m wicked smaaht and knowledgeable)… wait. Dianthus! (see?)


Early summer. You can see the back of the house. the gardens surround a patio and are held back by stone retaining walls.

Roses over back wall, early in season

We left most of the foundations of the buildings free of plantings because the old granite is so beautiful. This is the barn ‘after’. All we did was do a grass ‘ramp’ up toward the huge sliding doors, held in place by old stone.


The restored barn through old trees.

Actually, those old trees are wedding trees – a pair planted in honor of a bride and groom long ago – cool right?

There are several pairs of them on the property – oaks and horse chestnuts (the latter pelt you in the head each fall if you’re not careful). We have to figure out where to plant two trees in honor of Mac and Jack getting married here this summer (continuing a cool tradition).

So, the wedding!

There will be a big tent extending from the barn toward the water… the front of the barn will be a great hang out space (well, this is the current plan) with the back all set up for music and dancing… and they’ll get married across the street by the water so, I explained to JoHn that we have to get that all ready and level and set for the ceremony if we are lucky enough to have weather that lets us have it outside… right?

So that meant we needed to hack back – well, we saved and transplanted a lot – the two massive swaths of beach roses because it turns out that a ten foot gap in between isn’t enough for chairs to fit and also a bride to walk through.

So we cut them back about 10 feet or so on each side.

And while we were at it…


The work

Well why wouldn’t we uncover tons (yes, tons) of ledge and move one clump of the roses to the ceremony site by the water? Oh! And then…

Well then I was looking over the ‘cliff’ where the ceremony site is going to be and saw just grass and weeds and stuff. A water side garden suddenly made so much sense! And we could call it… the Waterside Garden… with maybe a little Giverny-style garden beyond it… you know, to tie it all back into the other Giverny-style gardens because flow.

So then this happened:


The Waterside Garden going in. The Giverny-style garden will be where the green grass and weeds are the background.

The uncovered ledge (so pretty, right?) at the top leads up to the wedding site… which now looks like this:


Wedding lawn!

The massive rose swaths are on each side of the uncovered ledge… what’s the plural of ledge?


And after this picture was taken we tucked some thyme and cranberry colored coreopsis into the ledge-i.

And I told JoHn that all of this – right down to the turf – will attract loads of hummingbirds and they will probably buzz all around us at the wedding.

In February I’ll make sure to mumble something about off years where the hummingbird population is less than usual due to migratory patterns. 

Oh my Gawd! Did I show you Mac’s dress?!

Okay… hang on…

I think I have a pic of it somewhere here…

Fine. Just kidding. I can’t show it to you.

But how about Granny’s face reflecting what we all felt at the exact moment we saw her in it, and knew


The Moment in Granny’s Eyes


I love it too.

Oh my gosh… I think I am realizing…

Mac and Jack…

They’re getting married. 


Thanks for readin.

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