The White Garden in Repose
You choose some projects; some projects choose you.
We knew that the fence along the back of the White Garden was in disrepair when we moved in, but the extent of its decrepitude couldn’t be fully appreciated until we went through a few seasons and watched several panels fall to the ground. Some of it was nailed to rotting posts, and in some places our predecessors had just wired it to an obliging sapling. Even a cursory brush clearing exercise put the whole structure in peril. At 150 feet, the concept of clearing the land, demolishing the old fence, carting it away, and building a new barrier hung like a Sword of Damocles over Willow Greens Farm.
And to be honest, the budget was allocated to far more glamorous projects. But as we started planting in the White Garden, it became clear that the eventual disruption caused by a new fence tomorrow would destroy many of the plants we hoped to install today. A new fence suddenly landed on the critical path.
I spent fifteen long seconds thinking about taking on the project myself (or as the kids today might say, “Adding six foot privacy fences to my fence building tool kit”). But I couldn’t concentrate as a very loud voice was shouting “Hell No!” inside my head. Suddenly, faster than seemed possible in a backed-up, supply chain challenged world, I had a quote in hand—for much less than I thought, and with an installation date of two weeks. I was suspicious.
Now if you are looking for a contractor tale of woe you’ve come to the wrong place. That’s not my style. Instead, two guys showed up at 10am and with very little supervision they beavered away: swinging sledgehammers, wielding old school clamshell posthole diggers, and emptying bags of cement. By 3:30 we were (metaphorically) popping chilly ones and looking down 150 feet of stick-straight fence. Not a bad day’s work considering that all I did was walk around and worry that they would strike some long forgotten electric cable or dig up a body.
I let the pressure treated lumber dry a bit, and Mr Wagner and I (not that one, the one who makes paint spray guns), applied a semi-transparent stain (Cottage Gray). I’m hoping this blends well with the Corten steel planters and the sculpture that anchor the garden.
I realize that I haven’t said much about the White Garden itself, and that is because it seems to have gone to sleep. The fragrance of the Korean Spice Viburnum and the vibrant display from the white daffodils ended in early May, and the Anemone Blanda that was supposed to be showing itself has become rabbit food. We look forward to the blooming of the Philadelphus and the Hydrangea in June, but for now we have to busy ourselves with researching white flowering plants that bloom in May and can stand up to our rabbit population.
The biggest challenge of this garden is that it has gone from complete shade to blazing sun. Two dangerous trees (one of the notorious Bradford Pear variety), that both shaded and threatened the house, were removed last year and we are still charting the path of the sun and the resulting shade in what feels like a completely new space. But with the fence well and truly sorted, and our eyes on a possible expansion, it seems ready for a bit of inspiration.