Saturday, July 8, 2017


Nature boy
I've never been the outdoors type. Hence my
idea of camping has always been a Holiday
Inn. It's not that I don't appreciate flora and
fauna. It's simply that my natural preference
up to now has been to avoid direct contact
with both. There is little more elegant than
sipping or supping al fresco. However when
that also involves battling bugs I quickly hit
my outer limits. Given one deals with enough
pests in life why purposefully subject oneself
to unnecessary exposure? The above said, I've
spent much of this week in Montana puttering
about our terra firma. And beyond loving it!
Green green grass of home
After over four years of much restoration and
renovation we are reaching the end. Yesterday
our landscapers finally rolled out their green
carpet in our rear yard. Suddenly what's been
a dusty mess is now a verdant oasis. For weeks
Frank has been behind the scenes as he's been
transforming a side of our house into a "secret"
garden. Slowly but surely it's coming together.
Which means that finally it's finished. Not that
we won't continue to tweak as long as we live
here. Plus all to soon tasked with repairing all
that we've worked so hard to make a reality.
Thus forever after we're a work in progress!
Perennial gardening
In hindsight our landscaping is the amalgam of
our life experiences. Living in Manhattan and
Dallas we came to appreciate the calm, intimacy,
privacy, and elegance of walled gardens. While
my parents resided in Williamsburg Virginia
I saw the importance of formality as it relates
to laying out exterior spaces. Years of globe
trotting exposed us to all sorts of gardens - all
of which leveraged local cultural influences.
Thus post purchasing our 1917 home we had
to put all of our dreams into historical context.
Integrating turn of the century garden design
with the reality of Montana's harsh climate.
Work in progress
Outside there was little left of our home's past.
Plus no photographs of the original landscape.
Thus we had to start from scratch, building
walls, fences, paths, gates, and planting beds.
Our challenge is now filling said spaces with
an overabundance of perennial classics a la
Gertrude Jekyll and Beatrix Farrand. To do
so in our climate requires being a gambler.
Most of the tried and true flora that we have
come to love won't survive winter in Zone 4.
However through careful selection, prudent
planning, and strategic placement we hope
to nurture a few survivors against all odds.
Out of this world
Now that most of our plot is covered with
the basics, our landscape will evolve. Over
the past decade Frank has become an avid
gardener. Much like any artist, his vision
will continuously evolve. In the meantime
I plan to commune with nature in my own
way. Our new brick terrace lays below a
century old Horse Chestnut. Hanging from
it's boughs is a cluster of lanterns under
which we'll dine al fresco. Finally we're
able to get out of the house and literally
smell our roses. At least until it snows or
the mosquitos start to bite! Happy summer!