Friday, August 3, 2012

Antique Garden Arbor

Garden gate into the yard where our new/old garden arbor was originally placed in Ashville, N.C.
Looking up, inside the garden arbor.
This is a tale of mystery, intrigue, action and even some melodrama...that's right, I said melodrama!  Maybe we were inspired by the Olympic games in Great Britain or maybe we were just gluttons for punishment in this hot, hot summer but I think Pride and Prejudice's Lizzy and her Mr. Darcy would have understood completely.

Two large lavender beds in the back of the yard being enlarged to frame  the arbor better.  That merans more lavender to  plant!  Sighhhh!
It all started one evening while walking through the gardens and casually talking about what was next on the projects list.  Yes, there is certainly enough pruning and weeding to be done but something was missing in the serenity of the the summer evening here at Blooming Hill and it was a garden arbor that could grace two well-healed lavender beds  positioned atop a small bluff in the back yard.  I wanted something to encourage sitting a spell while savoring the delights of nature right here in our own backyard on a warm summer evening, clear spring day or one of those golden-crisp fall afternoons.  So, Peter being Peter, went on an intense search to find just the perfect garden arbor, and find just the perfect garden arbor, he did--on Craig's list and located 9 hours away in yet another beautiful place--Ashville, North Caroline.   Where?!?  I said Ashville, North Carolina.

Finishing touches on the beds before we leave on our trip to pick the arbor up.
 A detailed end cap to one of the pillars.
Then came the wheeling and dealing with the owners of this lovely antique English-Romanesque inspired piece of garden art that would surely be a crowning specimen here at Blooming Hill--a wrought iron filigreed cap resting on six cast stone pillars with intricate detailing of cherubs, harps and acanthus leaves.  All we had to do was plan and time our entire vacation exactly around the persnickety seller's whims in order to obtain it. Of course, they were sure in the beginning, that we were not the right buyers for their arbor which, I shall remind you again, they were selling on Craig's list.  It took some complicated and convoluted dickering to reach an agreement.

Peter with Tucker supervising more digging at Blooming Hill before we leave.
In the end, Peter's tenacity wore them down and we were on our way to Asheville to pick up the garden arbor, still not sure it was ours, but positive thinking brings positive results--of sorts.   And, Peter promised me a tour of the Biltmore Mansion and Gardens since we were going to be in Asheville anyway...uh, huh.  In any case, Peter started measuring and redesigning lavender beds before we even were assured the arbor would be ours.  I tried to talk him into another arbor we had seen closer to home and definitely a sure bet, but he would not change his mind, having his morale boosted by Tucker and dreams of an antique garden arbor set among the garden beds.

A glimpse of the arbor in it's old home with the Blooming Hill crew beginning the dismantling process.
Bringing out the big guns to detach very stubborn pillars and wrought iron canopy all soddered.
Kevin and Peter putting a lot of muscle into it while former owner David, with a broken collarbone, looks on.
We arrived exactly at the appointed time and were greeted by Sammie and David who were only too gracious and very helpful since they had come to terms with parting with their beloved arbor, telling us a bigger, more ornate one was on it's way and would be taking the old arbor's place.  And, of course, Peter assured Kevin and I that we would be in and out of there in 1/2 hour and on our way to enjoy a perfectly lovely afternoon in the Biltmore Estate Gardens...easy peasy, lemon squeezy...uh-huh.  With each tug and pull, it became increasingly clear that this was not going to be easy or fast.

Not an easy job!
The pillars were set in two feet concrete footings with re-bar running through them from top to bottom...phew!

Getting the pillars and bases into the truck and trailer, unbroken, was another heavy, hard thing, entirely!
That one half hour turned into 5 hours and counting as the dismantling process was quite a bit more than any of us, even the owners themselves, expected.  Forget screwdrivers and pliers!  Out came saws and sanders, crowbars and sledgehammers and the sparks flew! By the time we were done taking apart the garden arbor, the place looked like a demolition zone and now all we had to do was wrestle it into the truck!

Former garden arbor owners, David and Sammie, very happy, I think, to see us go!
 Keeping our fingers crossed that our faithful red steed would take us through  both North and South Carolina and then finally home to Virginia.
Finally we were done dismantling, moving and packing our garden find into the truck and trailer, thanked Sammie and David and got back into a very loaded down truck for the next two legs of our vacation through Charlotte, North Carolina and Charleston, South Carolina (of course, we have to do everything the hard way, including vacations) before returning home.

The story is only half finished but the arbor was finally ours and we were on our way!
Stay tuned for Chapter Two of the continuing saga of  Lizzy and Mr. Darcy's return home with a little piece of Scarlotte and Rhett's Tara Plantation in tow. Oh! That's right, Lizzy and Mr. Darcy are in England and  Scarlotte, Rhett and Tara are in Georgia and everybody here is fictitious--except for Peter, Kevin, me and the garden arbor.   That is definitely real life and how we live it here at Blooming Hill!

1 comment:

  1. That's a lot of work for an arbor! However, I'm sure you will enjoy it immensely.