Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

Home Sweet Home

In an effort to delve a bit more deeply past the store inventory and our latest vintage finds, I thought I would share a bit about another passion of mine: gardening. It feels funny to say as, since my initial idea to open the store last November, I have barely seen my yard, much less worked in it. But there was a time, not so long ago, when I could spout Latin names of plants as easily as if they were names of friends...which they were, really.

My husband and I bought our first home, pictured above, nearly six years ago. We were newly married, I having abandoned my first career in editorial and merchandising work to follow my passion for interior design, going back to school to pursue a second degree.

Our budget was small by Seattle standards, so we looked at double digits-worth of homes--homes in good areas with holes in the ceiling, homes in bad areas with slightly smaller holes in the ceiling... I was emotionally exhausted and ready to hole up permanently in our apartment when I found what is now our house. And it was just like the story you wish you could tell about your significant other: I walked in the door, and I just KNEW. Charm oozed from every corner: 12' ceilings, original hardwood floors, open floor plan, attic-turned-whole top floor master bedroom, huge yard...

Oh, but the yard. Not so charming.

I grew up in the South, in a lovely historic home built in 1808, in the middle of 18 acres of rolling green fields. My mom was an avid gardener, and with 18 acres, she had plenty to do. As a child and teenager, I never got gardening--so much work, all the weeding, mulching, dividing, and for what? Just to do it over and over again. I was sure the bug would never strike me.

But within the confines of an apartment, I found myself planting and tending window boxes, shopping for plants I had nowhere to put. I found myself wanting a--gasp--garden.

Come closing day, we tackled the yard head-on, even convincing my mom to travel from Tennessee to pitch in. We planted upwards of 100 boxwoods in our front yard, dug up all the grass from our planting strip, threw up a fence, planted trees--and this was just the first week. We were on fire.

Our pace kept up pretty steadily over the next few years, with sketches passed back and forth between me and my husband, compromises on plant selections and materials to use for various projects....all of it made our yard more lovely, but it also was something we could do together, something that reminded us of all the reasons we liked each other to begin with (and some of the reasons we didn't!).

Since having a child, then starting a business, then having another child, our time working in the yard has decreased dramatically. But like an old friend, it's out there waiting for us to remember it's there. I just hope it won't hold a grudge.

"Before" and "After" shots of our front yard:



Stay tuned for Part Two: The Backyard....


Christa said...

I've totally walked by your house before and didn't know it! It's one of my favorites in that neighborhood!

Revival Home and Garden said...

Hey, thanks! Knock next time, as I am almost always inside with the two small ones.


So Haute said...

Looks lovely! Can't wait to see the backyard!

Revival Home and Garden said...

So Haute, love your blog! Thanks for posting... I'll get the backyard pics up as soon as I can figure out where I saved them. Argh.

gatherings home said...

OMG Leah! Your home looks amazing! Wish I had 1/2 that yard. I would be one happy girl.


Revival Home and Garden said...

Hi, Carol. Thanks for your lovely comment. I am still trying to get out to Gatherings--have heard such lovely things about it! Between my two kids and the shop, I don't get out much. It's a big day for me when I go to the grocery store unaccompanied!

Hope to meet you in person soon!


inDdecor said...

Absolutely lovely!

Jan said...

I love your garden. Its so relaxing and beautiful.

Dahlia Press said...

So beautiful, I wish my yard looked like yours! Can't wait to see the backyard.

Anonymous said...

Love the color of the house! What color is it?

Revival Home and Garden said...

Anon, I so wish I could take credit for the house colors, but would you believe it was painted this way when we bought it? All I have is a can that I have been "matching to" ever since! If you live in Seattle, drop me a line and I'll paint you a scrap for your own "match to."

my favorite and my best said...

i have such yard envy. i am in love with the boxwood "fence" you have surrounding everything. question about that...is that just several small plants that have "formed" together after time?
great blog. came here via decorno.
you must thank thank that saucy lady.

simple man said...

Hey Leah, here's a book a friend gave me (by "gave me" I mean I stole it):


I don't see a lot of Asian design at your place, but there are a lot of unconventional ideas and patterns here that I hadn't thought of. Of course, throwing a classic Japanese bamboo fence into the mix might be designy genius!


Anonymous said...

aghhh! I'm in Maryland. I guess I'll run out to the paint store with a photo of your house then!

Revival Home and Garden said...

My Favorite, thanks ever so much! Yes, would you believe the boxwood "fence" began as something like 100 teeny tiny boxwood plants from K-Mart purchased for $1.97 each? That was around 6 years ago, so not too terribly long to wait for the hedge effect.

One day I'm going to count all the boxwoods in our yard; I'm betting, per square foot, we may have a record of some sort.

Happy gardening!

griva said...

I too found your blog trough Decorno - I am looking for ideas with boxwood and I just love what you've done!
Can you please list the plants on the third 'after' picture? The planting looks amazing!

griva said...

I too found your blog trough Decorno - I am looking for ideas with boxwood and I just love what you've done!
Can you please list the plants on the third 'after' picture? The planting looks amazing!

Grant K. Gibson said...

OK- WOW- I need to buy a place in San Francisco and you can come and do that for me!
Your blog is great and I am so glad that I found it.
I can't wait to

Revival Home and Garden said...

Griva, thanks for your kind words. The plants in what we loosely call our "knot garden" (the third "after" photo you referenced) are as follows:

1. The ever-present boxwood (of which we just planted 16 more in the backyard this weekend. Yikes!)

2. Rosemary...which all died in one of the harsh freezes last winter. So sad. Now they have been replaced by French lavender.

3. Santolina, or cotton lavender, often used in traditional English knot gardens

4. Columnar barberry, the tall maroon plants peeking out of the corners

5. New Zealand Brass Buttons are the ground cover surrounding the flagstone path... these are a truly wonderful and hearty ground cover that we have used in numerous spots. Can't recommend them enough...they are available in at least three varieties, and we have a mix of all of them here.

6. New Mexican Privet are the tall airy shrubs on the outer edge of the knot garden. These have also been a great find, courtesy of mail-order company High Country Gardens. Drought-tolerant, cold-hardy, and no maintenace. Yippee!

That may have been way more info than you wanted, so apologies in advance. Hope you may have found a good plant idea or two...feel free to e-mail me at leah@revivalhomeandgarden.com if you have any more questions!

Revival Home and Garden said...

Grant, right back at you! Your blog and shop photos are absolutely lovely... I am on my way over there momentarily to pass along my wish list from your current inventory.

I'll make a deal with you: I'll trade you landscape design advice for lodging in your future San Fran home! Keep me posted on the house hunt. ;-)


Anonymous said...

OMG, that is so gorgeous! (and I don't usually say "OMG" but it fits my feelings here!)

I would love to walk by your place, but I'm in Minnesota so alas...I'll just be inspired by your photos. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

How did he make the fountain?? It's beautiful.

Revival Home and Garden said...

Thanks, Anon! He used two sonotubes (sp?), the cardboard forms used with concrete to make things like large supports, pillars, etc.--of varying diameters, placed the smaller inside the larger, and filled the resulting ring with concrete. I belive he did all the necessary wiring prior to this step, but anything non-aesthetic I am a little foggy on.

We found our concrete forms at a local concrete supply shop -- see if you can track one down near you. They weren't too expensive, either, if memory serves.

If you want any further information on the process, drop me a line at leah@revivalhomeandgarden.com and I'd be happy to get the particulars from the man in question.

Thanks for reading!

landrylee said...

I'm in love with your garden! What is the beautiful flowering white hedge to the side of your house?

Revival Home and Garden said...

The hedge on the side of the house is just plain old privet, left unclipped to flower. Eventually it won't flower any longer after clipped into a full hedge, but for now we are enjoying the flowers' insane aroma! To keep them blooming, I like the idea of growing them as standards (i.e., pruning the bottom half of the bush away to make it resemble a tree). A favorite local restaurant had a pair flanking its front door in giant terracotta pots, and the smell of the blooms when entering the door was phenomenal!

Angela Cappetta said...

I absolutely must know. Is the gorgeous color on your house "Stunning Shade" by Sherwin Williams? If it is, I'm seriously considering it for a project on my end. It's such a delicious color.


Revival Home and Garden said...

Angela, so sorry for the delayed response... I have to admit that I have no idea what color our house is! I would love to take credit for the color scheme, because I do love it so, but it was a custom mix by the home's previous owners.... in person it is almost an eggplant color. Love it!

Revival Home and Garden said...

Oh, and Angela, one more thing: Holy shizinski, your work is amazing! Just visited your site. Love!

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