Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Greenhouse Love

Sunflowers and roses--a late summer vision in yellow!
The shop with it's new greenhouse room--we love it!
You've heard the expression, "Out of the frying pan and into the fire."  Well, that's sort of what has been going on around here all summer long, from adding lots of new lavender beds, to expanding our "you pick" field, to installing our new labyrinth and finally, right into enlarging the shop.  Yes--that's what I said--we've (well, Peter, really but I helped, here and there, and took all of the pictures.) enlarged the shop.


A view of our original and hardworking "happy-place" greenhouse, through the poppies, this past May.  This greenhouse will continue as it always has--home to cuttings and plants year-round.
Waaaaay back in May, a customer and now our friend, Linda, visited Blooming Hill and then offered us an unused greenhouse that was just taking up space on her property.  Ever the thrifty and curious gardeners, Peter and I went over to her house to take a look.  Before we even left the property, we both had about 20 ideas as to what we could use it for.  So, a few days later, Peter and Kevin went back to Linda's and dismantled the greenhouse, packed it up in the truck and brought it back to Blooming Hill, where it sat in pieces for a few months. We had to think about where it would best fit on the property and then we had to mull that over a bit as well.

WARNING!  Devil deer know how to photo-bomb!
The herb garden in August.
Suddenly it was August! Where did this summer go to, anyway?  The time was ripe to get cracking on yet another project and, after weighing all of our options, a little extra space in the shop seemed like a pretty good idea.  Hence, nestled in the shady glade and attached to the back door of the shop our new greenhouse room is another bright and happy place while adding to the overall "garden" feel of the place.  So, instead of talking endlessly (as I have a habit of doing when I blog) on the construction and rebuilding of it I thought I'd post a few pictures of the whole process instead.  Here it goes in a nutshell, so don't blink...

In any case, we love what we've done with the place and hope you will stop by and take a look around yourself!  Tell us what you think.
A garden angel keeping watch at the greenhouse room's back door.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Labyrinth - The Way In Is the Way Out

Our newly constructed labyrinth here at Blooming Hill, painstakingly built by Peter.   I could not have asked for a more perfect 34th wedding anniversary gift.
The way in is the way out.  Sounds like something Morpheus probably said to Neo in the movie, The Matrix, or perhaps Jedi Zen Master, Yoda, might have said to his young protegee, Luke Skywalker.  Yet, it is actually a simple description of the design and purpose of a labyrinth.   A labyrinth is a single-path circle (sometimes oval or square-shaped, too) with twists and turns, some expected and others unexpected, that begins and ends pretty much in the same place. Yet, a labyrinth can have the mysterious ability to help center an individual, spark creativity and might just help, clarify a question hidden deep within the nooks and crannies of a person's mind, body and even soul.

Before hand-digging the labyrinth shape, Peter used the tractor of our neighbor and good friend, Joyce, to carve out a big enough space in the rolling topography leading down to a small pond.
The inspiration behind the journey, just beginning.
The idea really taking shape in the dappled shade on a hot July afternoon.
Through the years, I have had the opportunity to walk a labyrinth at different locations, during church events and other group meetings and have found them to be an enlightening experience. I have always thought Blooming Hill would be a perfect place to have one, especially as a companion to the lavender field.  I have been working on Peter to design and build one for a long time and, after some heated discussions, serious soul searching and compromise on both of our parts as to just exactly where to put it, finally, last month, he got down on his knees and dug a labyrinth by hand--sometimes, literally!  This whole process, we found, was just as much of a quest, if not more, as purposefully walking one that is already installed.  Labyrinths are thought to enhance right brained activity and, as we are both left-handed, Peter and I are always open to expanding our already creative sides.

The prodigal son, still home this past July and just before he began his own 9-year journey in medical school at Virginia Tech, helped his father do some heavy lifting and spreading of stones to create the "walls" that would separate the soon-to-be grassy paths.
Carefully laying down dirt and grass seed.
A closer look at the center of the labyrinth in the early stages, dug by a right-brained, left-handed  landscape architect named Peter (or P. Lorenz, if you want to be  totally"artsy" about it.)
Labyrinths are not some new age phenomenon that somehow sprang up out of pop culture.  Rather, they are ancient, stemming as far back as ancient Rome and Greece and even earlier. They were also a central part of the Catholic Faith during the middle ages and often walked as a representation of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, or for repentance, bringing the participant closer to God and these practices are still inspiration to walk a labyrinth in modern times.  For many, walking a labyrinth can be a mystical experience while others may just simply not understand them.  In any case, a labyrinth, whether the experience is deeply meaningful or just fun, can make a participant stop and think.

Somebody just can't wait until it's finished to expand his spiritual side.
Apparently, for some people, digging out chunks of heavy clay soil is lot's of fun!
Heavy rainfall, one evening sent pea gravel and dirt to just about everywhere they should not have gone since the emerging grass could not hold them in place. So, once again, some hand-digging action needed to executed in order to retain the design of the labyrinth.
Our Blooming Hill Labyrinth is 28 feet in diameter with a classical design outlined in pea gravel to help you stay on the soft-grassy path. The goal is to reach the center and then turn around and walk back out by using the single circuitous path, thus bringing the participating walker some clarity by the end of the journey.

He walks it everyday to meditate on the squirrels and free his mind from those devil deer...Really!
A view of the labyrinth from the top of the hill.
Stop by and try out our new labyrinth.  It is not quite finished as we wait for cooler weather in order to build a stone retaining wall and add a bench to enable a walker to relax, let go and receive an answer.  However, many visitors to Blooming Hill have already tried it and liked it and, much to our own liking, have come back to use it again. We are always happy to share something of our own journey here at the farmlet and look forward to sharing it with many more who may be interested as they come in and out of our Blooming Hill life.