My New Garden

{My new boxwood garden in progress last spring}

As you may remember, last year, we started on a little home renovation project with the main purpose to add a new garage. With the new garage came the opportunity to add a new garden where we used to park behind our house. I have always wanted a vegetable garden but didn't want it to sit barren in Winter or look disheveled next to our terrace.

As I look forward to getting out in the garden again, I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you the before and after pictures. Keep in mind that I really don't want to ever get to the after stage as I like the process of planting and recreating, adding and updating.

Here are some before pictures as the construction for the new garage is underway. I have a small butler's pantry off of my kitchen that used to have a desk under the window. We removed the desk and made a doorway where the window used to be. I REALLY miss having my desk just off of my kitchen!

This is where a new garage now resides. 

And here is a different point of view, standing in the backyard and looking towards the street. Our garage now fills this space and my new garden was built just to the right of the bulldozer. 

The elevation of our lot drops off significantly from the front of the driveway to the backyard so we had to bring in huge loads of top soil to bring this area up.

The image below is one of my favorite inspirational pictures from the gardens at the shop Merci in Paris. I know my garden looks significantly different but this is the image I shared with our landscape designer to get the design process started.

I worked with a very talented landscape designer, Amy Priode, from Piedmont Carolina Landscaping. She worked closely with my husband and I to put our vision into a workable plan. We had two main structural issues we had to solve before moving onto the decorative (and fun) phase of design. We had to plan for the sea of water that runs down this path and into our backyard every time we have a downpour and we had to bring the level of the garden up by about two feet, no small task.

Here are a few of the drawings Amy presented to us offering different graphic patterns for the boxwood parterre garden. The site for the garden dictated the shape of the garden. It was a hard decision.

In the end, we actually combined a couple of the plans to create our garden. 

Here is the final working drawing (below).

And here are the photos of the garden just after it was installed.

I wish I had taken pictures when they were lining up the boxwood and making sure they were perfectly aligned, a very meticulous task. I bought the little expandable willow hurtles so that I could grow tomatoes in the middle and climbers such as squash, zucchini and cucumbers on the sides.

My long term plan is to plant an espalier fruit tree at the end of the path against the garage wall.

Sadie is starring at me because I am standing in the middle of the hydrangea. 

Here is the view looking down the path and into our backyard. We continued the path on the other side of the terrace.

You can see here to the right boxwood lining the path, an area that we created to let the water stream through when we have a big rain. We created several "catch basins" to take care of all the water.

Amy suggested we add Knock-out Roses and Limelight hydrangea on the other side of the path from the garden for color. They bloom all summer long and into the fall.

Sadie is never very far away when I am planting. Here I am planting yellow squash and cucumbers.

An iPhone picture from later in the summer.

I actually wanted to create this vegetable garden so that my daughter could experience the joy of growing her own vegetables something that i remember fondly from growing up.

My daughter Madison loaded up with her fresh picks.

One of my favorite Instagram photos from this summer...gotta' love the blue fingernails!

I hope you enjoyed my garden tour. Today is a beautiful Spring day and I have been working in the garden adding some Winter blooming plants.

Have a joyful Easter!


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Bedside Table Bliss

{Bunny William's bedside table from NYTimes The battleground on the Bedside Table}

I read a really interesting article last week in the New York Times that I thought you might enjoy as well ~ The Battleground on the Bedside Table.

The article really made me think about my own bedside and what I could do to improve both the way it functions and the way it makes me feel as I pursue a good night's sleep.

I also loved the opportunity to peek inside the bedrooms of a few of my favorite designers and bring home a little of their advise on styling the nightstand.

{Alexa Hampton's bedside table from NYTimes The battleground on the Bedside Table}

Here's the scoop! 

For a blissful night's sleep, the bedside table should be a marriage of beauty and function and answer your specific needs. The bedside is one of the most private spaces in your home so "styling" should be about creating a personal sanctuary and keeping you organized before bedtime.

  1. A Great Bedside Table. Consider the tabletop size and whether you prefer open or closed storage or a combination of the two. Always, always have his and hers nightstands! I love a room with an antique table at the bedside or a quirky piece with personality converted for use as a bedside table.
  2. Good lighting ~ a pair of beautiful lamps or swing arm sconces. A sculptural lamp provides height and adds interest to a bedside table vignette. Don't overlook the lampshade! There is nothing more beautiful than the filtered light coming from a pleated silk lampshade.
  3. Beautiful tray or box to gather glasses, electronics, cell phone, jewelry, coins and electronics.
  4. Notepad, Journal and a special pen reserved only for bedside.
  5. Personal items that make you smile such as art and family photographs. Consider leaning and layering art for a more interesting tablescape.
  6. Fresh flowers or a touch of greenery adds softness, texture and another sculptural element to the bedside. A touch of something from nature always makes me smile.
  7. Books and magazines. An essential element if you like to read before bedtime.
  8. A Favorite Scented Candle. I wish Charlotte Moss still made the Virginia Candle (hint, hint)! My current favorite is the Baies Candle from Diptyque.
  9. A Stylish Alarm Clock
  10. A Way to Organize and Store Electronics - think about what you need at the bedside - the iPad, Kindle, cell phone, remote(s), docking...ugh! The latest electronics have made designers rethink the bedside table. Many of the latest options have special features built-in for corralling electronics and managing cords.
If I were to follow my own advise, I would need to do a little spring cleaning and rethink how I might organize and plan for the things I need next to the bed.

Allison's favorite things for bedside bliss:

  1. Chelsea Textiles Gustavian Bureau
  2. White porcelain lamps from Christopher Sptizmiller
  3. My favorite scented candle - Diptyque Baies Candle
  4. A Silver Tray to collect jewelry and electronics
  5. Fresh flowers, preferably white, arranged in a simple glass vase or antique goblet
  6. A journal for my thoughts - One Line A Day

I am also particularly fond of this little honeycomb porcelain plate in grey available at Jayson Home and Gardens. It is handmade in a Connecticut workshop using an object made for use in beehives. 

It would make a nice little catch-all on a bedside table.

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