A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: September 2016

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18 September 2016

An Allium and Cutting Hedge Plan

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Thanks to Longfield Gardens for providing the alliums for this planting in celebration of the Year of the Allium
This was the impetus to get me moving on this project I have wanted to start for months now!

The gardens I inherited when we bought Stonecrest are fantastic and wild. There is a creek lined with moss and ferns and plenty of woods and grassy area for the kids to play. There are hundreds of daffodils that peek up each spring from their woodland beds and a few small "official" flower beds with peonies and such.  However.  I miss lilac. ...and hydrangea. ...and sandcherry.  I crave easy bulb blooms to cut all season long. I miss the grand parade of spring and summer fragrance.  Thus, I decided to tackle THIS beast:

That hedge of weedy bushes sits to the left of the house and if you could look from the sky down, you would see a driveway that goes into a lower level garage. Across the driveway (where that electric line pole is) is another hedge that is similar, but is currently housing a hornet's nest. Once we are able to remove the nest in late winter (the hornets have left us alone and are good pollinators, and will leave the nest empty), I plan to make a similar cutting hedge to mirror this one. Clear as mud? Here is the hedge in relation to the corner of the house:

There was a very large mulberry tree which we had cut out, a host of poison ivy which the sheep ate up and the next step is to have the rest of those trees and bushes cut out. I considered keeping the tree, but I do not want to have to worry about either the power line or the roof once the tree grows to maturity, so everything has to go. Once the area is clear, I will build up the soil with manure and leaf mold and then planting can begin!  I am utilizing three sources for this particular planting.  Longfield Gardens is providing the alliums, I purchased all of the trees and shrubs as saplings from the Arbor Day Foundation and I will fill in with cuttings from plants I am already growing.

Ready to see the plans? They are hand-drawn, so prepare yourself to squint a bit:

The lines, arrows, circles and stars are all various types of alliums in the Bountiful Blooms Collection. I met Nick McCullough and his wife Allison at the P. Allen Smith event this spring and was excited to see that he put together this collection for Longfield along with a full garden design. My design takes cues from Nick's, but I am using foundation shrubs instead of peonies.  You can see his design HERE.

The alliums used in both plants are the same and you might be surprised at a few!  My very favorite are the pretty pink drumstick alliums, a break in tradition from the perfectly spherical varieties.  I clustered these around the sand cherry near the corner of the house.

Next, the ginormous Gladiators will pop up towards the center of the planting and the Purple Sensations will be sprinkled here and there among the hydrangeas. Last, but not least, I will plant the understated pink Christophi amidst some Guacamole Hosta I have at the bottom of the planting.

The foundation of the planting is a background of beautiful, fragrant cutting shrubs. There are two large traditional lilacs and one Pekin Lilac (a white lilac) along with several white hydrangea and (my favorite!) a sand cherry in the corner, by the house. The sand cherry has one of my very favorite scents in early spring, so I sited it here so I can get the benefit of the scent early in spring from the front porch. All of the Arbor Day trees and shrubs come as 2 year old saplings and will take a few years to get to a good size.  However, they are cheap (around $10 or less for each one) and planting the saplings is far easier than planting a mature bush or tree. Planting saplings is also my choice because they seem to adapt easier to the heavy clay soil a bit easier than larger specimens that have been babied with nice soil for years and years. If you are super curious, here are my choices:

Hydrangea, Lilac, Pekin Lilac, Sand Cherry
3 Washigton Hawthornes
2 Sargent Crabapples
3 American Redbuds
4 Flowering Dogwoods

PS: The Arbor Day Foundation offers 10 free trees when you support them with a $10 membership HERE.  I do it almost every year. When we lived in Nebraska, we would often go up to the Foundation headquarters and I absolutely love what the Arbor Day Foundation stands for and works towards.  ---not sponsored

One last note: I chose varieties that are all shrubs or small trees so that I do not have to worry about that power line or the roof in future years. The tallest trees (dogwoods, maybe crabapple) will be towards the bottom of that slope to give them plenty of room to grow. The alliums will actually go in first this fall, then the trees come dormant in November to be planted out immediately. Filler catmint, lavender and sedum will fill in holes next spring and then I simply have to have patience and wait until the blooms come in!

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01 September 2016

The Guest Room Gallery

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Thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Company for providing samples for this mini-makeover.
The Guest Room Gallery at Stonecrest Manor

This is our guest room, under the influence of Prisma. You could say the editing app Prisma has become a bit of an obsession.
If you follow along on Instagram, you have been seeing a lot of it.  I just can't get enough!  Case in point:

The Guest Room at Stonecrest Manor

That is our guest room comic book style!  I love the way different art "finishes" highlight form and line and how you can really "see" your spaces differently. I have always utilized photography as a way to "see" rooms in order to rearrange furniture, change colors, etc. because they reveal what the naked eye misses, especially when you are living in a space. Prisma does the same thing, but in an even stronger way.

Now onto the "real" pictures, shall we?

As you enter the guest room, there is a straight shot view of half of the gallery wall. I added a small painting to the hallway to draw you in. Note that the paintings (for the most part) are REAL. They have real brushstrokes, real flaws, real signatures. (However, they are NOT necessarily expensive.)  It has been my goal to collect these original pieces for around $5-10 each.

The Guest Room Gallery at Stonecrest Manor

I have about 2/3 of the wall covered and hope to finish out the wall in the next year or so. (Until then, a garden structure/trellis is hanging out in the corner to add height.) I needed to unify the paintings, so I have stuck with a seasonal landscape/floral subject matter and used Dixie Belle Chalk Paint to connect the frames. I left three frames in their original wood, but these photos are making me rethink that decision. I think at least that top left frame might get the Dixie Belle treatment as well because it is sticking out like a sore thumb.

The Guest Room Gallery at Stonecrest Manor

Why chalk mineral paint? 

A. I did NOT want to sand frames. They have lots of ridges and details and are a pain to sand. Dixie Belle goes on with 1-2 coats and it is finished. (You could probably do 20-30 frames (or more) with one little sample cup. It goes a long way!)

B. I love-love-love the matte finish that only chalk paint can accomplish and the matte finish complemented the art much better than a gloss finish.

The Guest Room Gallery at Stonecrest Manor

From the other side of the room...
The Guest Room Gallery at Stonecrest Manor

Hiding behind that door is a little laundry room and it is in SAD shape aesthetically.  I spend a LOT of time in there though, so she is in the midst of a little makeover. New tile will be going down on the floor soon (there is GREEN carpeting right now - IN A LAUNDRY ROOM!) and a little bit of art on the wall will help. The room is *just* large enough for the washer/dryer and a small cabinet (see below). While I had the Dixie Belle paints out for the frames, I went ahead and put a couple coats on the old formica countertop that was previously the worst mustard yellow ever. 3 weeks later and it has held up way better than I expected. I was just experimenting, but it turns out I quite like it!

Countertop with Dixie Belle Chalk Paint

The guest room also has an amazing fireplace and the colors of the stone were really the jumping off points for the colors of the gallery wall. 
You can also get a little peek of the recently painted (black!) bathroom back there:

The Guest Room Gallery at Stonecrest Manor

I have come to the conclusion that black is my VERY favorite colors for little washrooms.
Black Bathroom at Stonecrest Manor
 A larger mirror is on my "hunt list" for this room!

One more little plug for Dixie Belle...When the sample products arrived, there were several different gel stains. The table below is the entry table right inside our front door and I literally opened the paint package and couldn't wait to test them out, so I went to town on this water stained table with the tobacco gel stain. 20 minutes and a few coats later, the table looked SO much better!

Dixie Belle Tobacco Gel Stain

The stains are not completely irradiated (that would have taken either sanding, then restaining or a chalk paint treatment), 
but this little touchup made a world of difference. The Dixie Belle gel stains are definitely a tool in my back pocket now for little touch up jobs!

Stonecrest Manor

...and because I LOVE Prisma...I couldn't help just one more!
The Guest Room Gallery at Stonecrest Manor

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