Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Make Room For Tea

It's always sunshine, rainbows and lot's of work to do around Blooming Hill, especially during  the springtime.
As I have often stated, its never a dull moment around here. If we are not out tending the lavender beds, we are keeping bees.  If it's not about the bees, we are probably down rearranging the shop, weeding the labyrinth or giving a garden tour. Really--it's always something.  So, what is it now???   Well after having guests here for tea almost blown off of the back porch because of gale force winds, during the farm tour, last fall, we realized that there are times when we have to find another place to serve our guests on those cold, blustery days.


The herb garden, last fall, set with tea tables.  Pretty and peaceful, but a little cramped.

The herb garden, last June.
We found just the right place, full of sunshine and calm breezes with pretty flowers and fragrant herbs always in bloom and, that place is in the herb garden. However, we were faced with the predicament of needing just a little more space there, to accomodate our guests on those days when high winds blowing through the covered porch and the brick patio make them something comparable to a zero-gravity training chamber for NASA astronauts.

First things first. The 20-year-old raised herb beds needed to be re-levelled and straightend as well, before any kind of extended terracing of the ground around them could begin.
So Peter, the resident landscape architect/arborist, came up with the idea to terrace out the herb garden area and level the ground off, without changing its original design too much, by using the trunks of black locust trees as extended borders there.   He presented the idea to me, the head gardener and chief dishwasher and, I liked his idea so we ran with it, so to speak, because nobody can run while dragging fallen tree trunks from one end of the property to the other. Why black locust trees?  Well, we have a a lot of them on the property and these particular ones were about to fall down anyway and recycling their long, straight and strong trunks for something useful was the right thing to do. Over a couple of weekends in March, the new extended herb terrace took shape.


Taking down trees is hard work.  Once they were down, then we had to drag them back up the hill and to the other side of the property.

The truck helped served as manual labor in order to get these long trunks up the hill, in one piece.
I drove the truck up the hill while Peter, following behind and seen here in the rear view mirror,  manuvered a hand truck and took up the back end of the tree.  Slowly and steadily, we got them up the hill and into place as the new extended boarders of the herb garden.
Once in place, the tree trunks had to be dug into the ground in order to hold the dirt and pea gravel  that would soon be added to level off the grassy slope.

A shorter piece of tree trunk was needed here and there, too.  It was kind of like fitting life-size Lincoln Logs together.

The new herb garden border is beginning to take shape.
A thick layer of dirt, then an even thicker layer of pea gravel raised the ground, making it even for chairs and tables.
The sloping grass covered ground between the herb garden and greenhouse is now flat and much  roomier for garden guests to enjoy.  The boxwood ring has not been harmed or changed and still balances the boxwodd ring on the side of the garden where I was standing to take this picture.
After truckloads of dirt and pea gravel were shovelled into place, the herb garden was transformed into a peaceful side terrace, still perfect for just sitting and enjoying the birds, bees and butterflies flitting about the flowers and herbs while also possibly enjoying a cup of tea.

A few tables set, just the other day for a group who visited Blooming Hill, this last week.  In spite of the April weather, guests could sit and enjoy a cup of tea without being buffeted by the  gusty winds.
Another view of the newly expanded terraced herb garden, au naturale.
What's next on  the "To Do" list???  Don't ask!   Well--maybe ask for a cup of tea instead.  And, don't forget to reserve your teatime at "Tea with Eliza Doolittle" here at the farmlet on May 20 at 1pm.  $35.00 for tea and talk.  Contact Cyndie for more details; 703-431-0779 or bloominghillva@gmail.com.

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