HOMESTEAD HOUSE CALL – A Beautiful Cottage Garden.

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On a tiny little road there was once a simple red cottage that was at one time a worker’s home in the early 1790”s. As with most residences here, additions and plantings have been added over the last 200 years so that today, there appears to be a phantom shade garden that seems to have magically enveloped a sprawling cottage.

I have passed the cottage many times and recently asked if I could feature the garden here for all of you to enjoy. The owner has spent many years planting and perfecting so that the garden appears to be in a natural state of reckless abandon. In fact all has been carefully planned to look perfectly imperfect (my favorite type of garden). I’ll walk you through it as if you were here with me! (P.S Don’t forget to click on the links – highlighted in bold – to learn more) All pictures by VLR.

From the little road, you can see the stone walkway that leads to the main entrance through the custom- designed hand-hammered iron gate. Note the bell and the garden shovel and trowel in the design. The original 1800’s section of the house is on the right. Four other buildings have been added since then.
A detail of the hand-hammered iron gate and a later 2- story addition onto the house with it’s own entrance door.
As we come through the gate towards the house and then turn back around to face the road, you can see the climbing hydrangea bushes climbing on the fence that separates the garden from the road. The property across the street also belongs to the owner of the house. In the area where I live, people have a tendency to spend their money to buy more property rather than make their homes bigger. Most of the property that is bought is either farmed or kept natural for conservation.
This is the main entrance to the house. The door is oak (custom made) and the color of the house is historic Madder Brown. Note the grate with drainage underneath.
There is a beautiful yellow bench just next to the door that sits on a carpet of moss on the chevron patterned bricks. Behind is a large jar container with a deep red coleus. Note the little ferns popping up in various places. Magical.
Here is a close up view of the mossy bricks on the other side of the door with smaller pot of different coleus plants. There is nothing more beautiful than nature at its best.
Just around the corner, the newest side of the house (still many years old) has a brick chimney that is hidden by climbing hydrangea. Honeysuckle grows up the trellis on each side and window boxes are filled with coleus and other flowering plants.
On the road side of the garden there is a massive climbing hydrangea that overtakes the fence. Notice the little birdhouse in the tree (most of them are Norway maples) that is a hidden refuge almost the vines.
Further along on the same side is an Italian terra-cotta jar filled with coleus and fuchsia. Hostas are in the background against the fence.
The hostas continue along the fence and are contained by mossy rocks that support all the plantings (including the Norway maple tree’s roots). True story: as this area was once all farm land, there are many rustic rock walls that have grown moss over the years. We have a problem with some unscrupulous landscapers who come and take rocks from the different properties. They are coveted by people who want the mossy rock look in their gardens so we all keep a watchful eye (Rock poachers beware!).
Then we wind our way around to the back side where there is a large stone patio which runs the length of the house. Here we have large urns with deep red coleus and hostas and ferns on the left. Interesting to note that most of us in this area do not have grass (as you would commonly think of it) but actually meadows (with lots of wild grasses mixed in) that are kept short (so that the ticks and the snakes don’t bother us). I know that my own plot of “grass” is a mix of wild grasses, wildflowers and different small plants like wild strawberries and tiny wild violets.
There is a great two story picture window which shows the people inside a spectacular view of the woods beyond (Here reflected in the panes of the glass). Mixed coleus are in the window boxes).
There is a beautiful hand- forged wrought iron stair rail (matching the front gate) that takes you down to (SURPRISE!) a gently flowing river at the back of the house.
Down by the river you’ll find hidden amongst the plant life a vignette that resembles ruins creating a sense of nostalgia and whimsy at the same time.
And here is the tranquil (at least now at low ebb and pre-storm season) river that runs past the back of the property. You can see the various buildings that comprise the house. Each section has been added over the years since the 1790’s. The tiny little shed at the bottom of the stairs below the house is actually a Swedish sauna!
On the far side of the river from the house is a sculpture (I’m going to call it “Gone Fishing”) that adds another whimsical and artistic touch to this already charmingly sophisticated cottage and garden.
Now imagine that we have gone all the way around the back of the house and come up again. We are now at the opposite end of the group of buildings that comprise the house. Here is a long view of the gardens that include Japanese Maples (in another month the leaves will change) hostas, lilacs and other plantings. The part that you see in the middle is the original 1790 house (you can see the entrance door and a window on each side).
On the way out (back towards the road) we pass the barn building which also includes a garage (to your left). Fuchsia flowers hang from an outdoor wall ornament and an urn is potted with greens below. The effect is sophisticated but still charming and cottage-like. The gigantic spruce tree hangs right over almost onto the street.
Here is the view of the very simple barn (constructed some time in the middle of the last century) from the road along the house. It’s angular shape and board and batten siding give it a modern rustic feel. Thanks for taking the tour with me! – VLR

7 Responses

  1. Sarah

    Wow, this has been a beautiful tour of a lovely garden👍 The deep red coleus, hostas, ferns and mosses are amazing colors and textures! Thank you!!!

  2. Ann

    Vincent, I am totally in Awe. Deep Awe. Your pictures, and the way that you built up the montage was truly alluring. The two round moss-covered round balls close to the end are the perfect periods….or are they part of the “to be continued” etc? The thoughts that you put in to make this magical place are evident, thank you for sharing it……liefs,Ann (good friend of your sister Sarah)

  3. Guedj

    What a fantastic tour of this amazing property ! Thanks for these great photos…you just want to move there!

  4. CLAIRE DELLIERE

    I’m grateful for such an inspiring piece; it has given me all sorts of ideas for my own garden.

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