Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dear Nan: In Answer To Your Question

About Hedge (he really does have an enormous personality)...and an apology for not writing a followup post. YET!

I have two really excellent excuses: Priscilla Peahen and the unusual winter weather. Both have eaten up my energy and attention!

If you followed Priscilla F (people have put forth various thoughts on what the F stands for) Peahen's story; you know that she has finally been relocated to a safe place in the country. But, not without a great deal of angst while searching for just the right home. You know, I really miss that big bird, but don't miss her knocking on the front door at 6:30 AM every day.

It's strangely odd Not to be followed by a large bird when I go into the garden

As for the weather! After 30+ years in the Middle South I am a complete winter wimp. The temperatures stayed in the teens for almost two weeks. We were all in shock, especially when it snowed. It was absolutely beautiful out, but colder then we've experienced in a very long time. I couldn't make myself spend time outside if my life depended upon it! I bundled up and went for walks, but, it was a bummer to spend time looking at all that brown and gray in the garden. Even the lawnette had turn brown. Just the week before it had been a green oasis among the leaves and brown foliage. How you northern gardeners deal with winter, day after day, I may never understand...but, I have tremendous respect for each and every one of you.

So, I hardly ventured out, didn't do any garden work and occasionally danced around the issue of Hedge... What could replace him? Did we want hardscape or an evergreen hedge, a mixed perennial border or something entirely unique and different? Did we even want to spend resources on replacing an already working solution to privacy and noise abatement?

Soon he will be in his glory,
shortly after he will morph into the big green
blob that ate the front yard.

spring 2008

I spoke with my friend Sarah this morning. She's a garden designer who has helped me in the past. She understands the issues and has agreed to come up with some ideas. I am inclined to go off on a tear of whimsical ideas that are very exciting to think about~~

From Garden Porn Blog December 2007

Corten steel, galvanized drain pipes as columns, something unique and different! Well, you get the picture! She approaches designing a garden/landscape from the prospective of "there are no precedents in the neighborhood for that type of fence, Gail!" I want to be the precedent setting neighbor. No one knows what I do in the garden anyway with Hedge looming larger then life! Why not have a larger then life precedent!

In answer to your question~Have I made any progress on finalizing Hedge's replacement?

A little!

Warmest regards,

ps ~ thank you for asking.

*Nan Ondra and the Garden Bloggers Design Workshops


  1. While the steel fence is interesting it is cold looking to me. I prefer Mr Hedge to that steel wall. I know you and your designer can come up with a unique and friendly looking alternative.

  2. Good morning, Gail!

    Boy can I relate to you on the cold weather wimpiness. I don't do too well when the temps get below 50, I barely imagine what temps in the teens must feel like. The old hedge was so lush and beautiful. I like the sense of peace the steel wall creates in the Gardenporn picture, it sort of reminds me of a Japanese garden. I'm sure whatever you come up with be pleasing to the eye.
    Keep warm!

  3. Dear Gail, you have summed up our winter woes perfectly! How the northerners deal with this cold is a mystery, and we even used to live there! Now about Hedge, out d*** hedge, out! The metal wall is perfect. Maybe serpentine, wouldn't that be fabulous? Something artistic and eye catching. Do it!


  4. What a winter it has been. I've barely ventured out. We got snow again last night (it didn't stick) and now the weekend looks lovely. I'm pleased to hear that you are still working on Hedge. It will be interesting to see what you two come up with my friend. Can't wait really.~~Dee

  5. I looked one... two... three times at that bird before I realized it wasn't anything native! Haha. Then I read your post. I love peahens... sorry you had to give yours up!

    I can certainly sympathize with your woes about the cold, too. I usually have bouquets of daffodils by now, this cold is dreary on so many levels. It's a good thing I was born in the south!

  6. Gail dear,

    Having seen hedge many times in person I agree that something needs to be done...he's wild and unkempt and overpowers everything else...but what? Its a good question.... we have a somewhat similar problem in New Hampshire. On one side of our driveway is a place where neighbors store their watersports equipment, AND a bunch of junk as well! We didn't even notice it when we saw the house in early fall, but once the leaves are gone...well its unslightly to put it mildly. We've decided that we will put up a privacy fence on that side of the driveway, but since our driveway is even longer than yours (400+ yards) it will be expensive so we probably won't do it right away.

    I too have no idea how to garden in such a northern climate! I think we need a place to start some plants indoors, but don't know where to do that yet. Really this year I plan on mostly observing the yard, seeing what is already plants and mainly planing what I want to do!

    xxoo Lynn

  7. Thanks for the update, Gail! Whatever you decide, at least you'll get to enjoy another blast of much-needed color from Hedge this spring.

    And congrats on finding a new home for Priscilla!

  8. I seem to remember that you have a contemporary vibe in your home with your art. It seems that your garden should reflect your interests, and that wall looks awesome to me.

  9. You have NO. IDEA. how much I WANT a fence of Corten steel! (And with all due respect to Lisa, I think the lovely patina on Corten makes it a "warm" metal instead of a "cold" one.)

    Seriously, I'm drooling at the thought. PLEASE be the trend-setting neighbor! :)

  10. I love the wall, but then I love rusted steel in the garden. It needn't look cold and stark. I can imagine mounds of wildflowers spilling around its base. Then in the garden proper, you could put in rusted steel sculptures and ornaments to tie it all together. This is so exciting.

  11. I LOVE the contemporary fencing Gail. Very cool and definitely would be trend-setting. Go for it!
    I am one northerner/westerner that is ready to move! ha. Month after month of cold, brown and depressing has taken its toll...

  12. Gail, I can completely understand your lack of motivation this winter--it's why I turn into a slug every January and February:) I have to agree with Lisa; I like the hedge, even when it's not in bloom, and I think it goes well with feel of the rest of your garden, more so than the contemporary fence. But...I'm not particularly fond of contemporary decorating and I have no eye for designing, so what do I know?:) Whatever you choose to do, I'm sure you'll do a great job of tying it all together!

    I'm happy that Priscilla found such a good new home, but these creatures have a way of working their way into our hearts, don't they?

  13. My friends, The Corten steel really speaks to me and mr I and when we agree it's usually a good sign! I just got an email from an architect who says Corten steel is WAY too expensive for mere residents like me! I am going to continue looking...I think there may be other ways for me to use contemporary touches of rusted material! ...and I haven't given up on the corten yet.


  14. Oh Gail I understand both of your dilemmas! I would miss Miss Priscilla (though I am glad you have found her a good home) and the forsythia is beautiful when in bloom but it will eat up any space near it. I have to constantly battle it in my front garden too! Right now it is winning.

  15. Gail I don't know how Northerners stand the weather either. My family is from the Midwest (edge of the Corn Belt), but when they were growing up they got more rain than snow, and the summers were glorious. I spent 3 years in PA and couldn't hightail it back to NC fast enough. May was too cold!

    Hedge is quite Large. Have fun on deciding what to do next! 50% of the fun of gardening! :)

  16. I hope you figure it out soon. It really is pretty though so wait until after it blooms:)

  17. I remember the hedge, Gail, and will be anxious to see what you decide to do. It's snowing here again today ... déjà vu!

  18. Gail, if it's any consolation, I'm a winter wuss myself. I like your hedge but you want something with a bit more structure I take it. I hope you'll keep us updated on the progress and here's to warmer weather.

  19. I think this winter has been the coldest I can ever remember. I still have barely done anything in the garden.
    Hmm! as to hedge yes a dilema but please if you do replace it it has to be with something living or at least a construction covered in plant life.

  20. Gail Thanks for commenting on my blog I am sorry to hear your son was treated for Lyme Disease this summer. Hopefully they caught it early enough and he doesn't have any further problems.

    Sadly with all the controversy many people fall through the cracks with main stream treatment of Lyme. Not sure if you realised, I do another blog link on my side bar Looking at Lyme Disease just in case you hadn't seen it, there is a lot of useful information there.

  21. Gail, I'm sure that whatever you decide it will be the right thing, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you do. The forsythia shot is lovely! Have a wonderful weekend. Hope it's filled with sunshine.

  22. Well, good luck with the hedge that ate the front yard. Forsythia is glorious! Wonderful! For a couple of weeks! And then it's kind of beastly. My grandmother's small backyard is nearly overcome with the stuff.
    And sorry for all the snow. I guess I should learn to ski, so I can have a better attitude about all the snow we usually have. But that probably won't happen, since this clutz is much safer staying at home. Really. I'd probaly ski right into a tree and kill myself. So I'll stick to moaning about the snow occasionally, then gardening the rest of the year.

  23. Hello Gail,

    Your flowering hedge is beautiful. However, I am curious as to what you may or may not do to replace it. The options are endless...

  24. I love the steel wall and the garden orbs!


  25. Gail, I totaly understand those feelings about the cold weather. We have had snow for 10 weeks! I'm NOT used to that! A normal winter for me is maby one day or two with snow and a few more with frost, but that's it! Today we have the third day with thaw and I'm the happiest person around here =) I do hpoe spring arrives real soon / gittan

  26. I adore rusty stuff in the garden!

    Whatever you and Mr. I decide, I'm sure it will be great. Look forward to seeing what you come up with Gail!

  27. well you have a lot of diverse opinions here...even though i am by no means into comtempary i love the fence but i can see it planted out with small native greenery next to it. if corten steel is too much money...what about copper in more of an s shape.
    i know you will be thinking about it one day and it will hit you what to do. then you will wonder why it took so long to come up with the idea.
    happy long winter days.

  28. I was dubious about the steel wall at first. When I took it out of the context of that photograph and set it down in your garden, though, I could see it working. I hope you can find a reasonable alternative to Corten.

  29. Hi Gail, isn't it the way it goes, that we fall in love with something, then find it's too expensive? As far as the fence goes, I'd keep it simple, like the hardware on the cupboards, so you don't draw attention away from the plants. I do like the fence you showed, though.

    I am so ready for spring! It's 28 out right now. I"m sitting on the couch with a blanket on my lap, and one around my shoulders, and I'm still cold all the way through. Oh, I need to go get my bed buddy out of the microwave to help me warm up.

  30. Ooohhh...I think Hedge is perfect just the way he is. But, if he MUST be replaced, I'm confident you'll come up with an amazing replacemnt.

    These days I rarely complain about the weather, even our brutal winters. If nobody is being harmed, then I consider it a good weather day. I used to complain about it ALL the time.


  31. I'm curious too! Can't wait to see what happens. Can't wait for spring either! Kind of late this year, huh?

  32. Yeah, I've never understand why being the first to do something is seen as a negative or reason to hold back. Be a trendsetter! Do what you want! :)

  33. I must have missed the post where you moved Priscilla. Sorry you're missing her so much ...do you get to visit?

    We have a foot of snow and I haven't walked in my backyard in almost two weeks. Nor do I want to! I'm really over it, can you tell?

    Good luck with the Hedge decision - it's a tough one...

  34. I like the rusted steel look - and Mr.McGD suggestion that you add sculpture to the garden. I am sure that the two of you will come up with something that is great for your garden and I look forward to seeing what you decide on, I think you know my views about the hedge.

    Love the meet in Malvern badge on your sidebar and I am looking forward to meeting you.

  35. Glad to know I have company in the "I hate winter" department,lol. Just Saturday my husband turned on the radio to the local am gardening show and I had to hear them extolling the virtues of winter gardening in NC;~ I like the Hedge btw and your tags for this post:)

  36. I'm late to the party on Hedge but love the way you talk about 'him'. Will there be a memorial service after his demise? Followed by a baptismal for the new fence.

    What about a wall-of-water fountain? Long concrete (striated and colored/tiled) wall with one or more areas of cascading water to a disappearing ground of rocks. As long as we're fantasizing...

  37. Sorry Gail, but I don't have any hedge advice for you as I don't do hedges! But I'm with you on your disdain for winter. Even though I deal with it much more often than you do, that doesn't make it any easier on me. Still hate it!

  38. I'm TOTALLY tired of winter here in the Southeastern US., too. We're supposed to be having nice mild days punctuated by rain -- instead it's cold and grey and snowy. Bah, humbug...

    But spring is almost here.


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson