TomBlog: Reflections on Autumn 2014

orangery2(Ed. note: this blog is an adaptation of a blog that Tom wrote last fall and I never got around to typing up and posting via our webmaster who is located in China… apologies to all of you and of course to Tom who is now, I hope, writing a more current blog to entertain and edify you).

We at SpindleTree are just now recovering from a very weary and hectic late Autumn 2014. A large truckoad of perenniuals, shrubs and trees (including 40 beautiful rhododendrons and several azaleas) arrive late in October and created a frenzy of planting – “just plant it, we can move it later next spring if we have to” – became the standard litany, so plant we did!

Among the several areas selected for plant installation was one location that is now spawning repercussions, both large and small, and demanding both long and short term investments of time and money. Serious amounts of time were spent last year building a stone staircase in what was then the small Memory Garden, after the undergrowth had been cleared away. With the unexpected arrival of the rhodos and azaleas this new garden’s focal point, a stone ruin, cannot be delayed or avoided or fogotten about or purposefully ignored any longer. It must be built!

The design of an appropriate folly to be sited at the top of the new staircase has begun. Gothic windows that remain from our collection (used to create the small greenhouse at the main house) will be built into a stone chapel ruin where rest and respite will be available to weary or contemplative visitors to the gardens. And it should also be a very romantic setting for wedding photos. I just ordered 700 sawn blocks of limestone to be used to build the Ruin. I look forward to getting some ‘rest and respite’ myself when the building is completed (I hope) later this summer.

Susie has the post office working 24 hours a day (for her only, I’m sure) bringing us more and more and more seeds for Spring planting, for planting in pots and for not planting anywhere because she will simply run out of time.

backup 9.22.2014 365Spring (if not Summer) feels just around the corner today and as soon as we are rid of the frost, work will begin, (ed. note: a late freak frost wreaked havoc on the sumac, robinia, bittersweet, buxus – you name it – all the little tender leaves wizened and dead – a tragedy never before seen as long as we’ve been here. We hope the trees and plants affected will rejuvenate – time will tell). Limestone blocks will be laid and eventually I may be allowed to take advantage of a brief lull. On the other hand, as we turn that corner, I have a list longer than a roll of bathroom tissue of things to be done immediately, if not sooner. Mother’s Day every year is our official opening and it’s even earlier than usual this year, May 10th. Plus I’ve just been reminded that it’s also our 10th Anniversaryof being open to the public. And now we’re in the middle of a real drought although it’s so early to have one. This will throw a monkey-wrench into the works because we’ll have to stop everything else and concentrate on watering. Rain has been promised for the last week and a half – we’ve had nothing here. So do some rain dances for us, folks – we’re desperate!

spindletree1