Maintaining a special yard on the mountain

One of the reasons I call my business “John Schulz, Landscape Artist”

I spent the day Friday helping to tweak the beautiful plantings at the Magee’s house on Mount Alto.  I was told that the house style was “French Country” I have worked on the installation for almost 20 years.  I thought the story and the yard were worth sharing.

a well sculptured garden

a well sculptured garden

I met the beautiful Yolanda Magee and her husband Nelson about 20 years ago.  They had been busy working in construction management in Saudi Arabia for 13 years and in Spain in resort development for two years.  The house was built in 1964, and bought by the Magees in 1972.  They left for Saudi Arabia in 1976.  Instead of selling the house, they rented it for fifteen years.  When they returned in 1991, the yard was a shambles.

I was hired to repair and rebuild the plantings.  Yolanda had been told that the existing boxwoods were beyond repair and had to be taken out.  I figured that we could save them and save them we did.  We started with a basic renovation and the installation of a private patio behind the house off of the lower sun room.  The patio is accessed either through the sunroom, or by a set of flagstone steps that go from the driveway next to the carport

Still snuggling on the patio after all these years.  Awwww.

Still snuggling on the patio after all these years. Awwww.

Before we started, I told Nelson that my mother Jane B. Schulz, who lives in Kingsport, Tennessee, had told me that if we prune the knockout roses on Labor Day, we will have flowers until the freeze kills them.  That got the project started and we went on to shape up the entire yard. Here’s what the knockout roses looked like before pruning:

My mother said to prune the Knockout Roses for Labor Day and they would bloom until a hard freeze.

My mother said to prune the Knockout Roses for Labor Day and they would bloom until a hard freeze.

The knockout roses are planted so that they will show over the brick wall from the road side and may also be enjoyed from the house as they rise over the manicured yaupon hollies.  Nelson pitched in and pruned one group of roses while the landscape crew worked on the other side. Nelson is an amazing perfectionist.

Nelson helps to prune the roses.

Nelson helps to prune the roses.

We gave the yaupon hollies their fall trimming and the result looked good.  Mom said that the knockout roses will re bloom in two to three weeks and will last out the season.

Pruned knockout roses on September 3

Pruned knockout roses on September 3

While we worked, I got this shot of Yolanda as she watered the geraniums on the upper landing.  She loves the pots on this front accent and keeps something there all year. We have usually planted geraniums in the summer and pansies in the winter.  I think that next year we will use impatiens instead of geraniums.

Watering the plants on the upper front landing.

Watering the plants on the upper front landing.

The boxwood garden that I mentioned earlier was a shambles when we started.  We were told they couldn’t be repaired and would have to come out.  I decided not to listen to the advice and over a number of years the garden has grown in well.  I am a great fan of boxwoods and I knew it could be done.  Looking at them now, I’m glad we took a shot at it.  “No guts, no glory”

The renovated boxwood garden

The renovated boxwood garden

I always liked the thought of landscaping from the inside out, so I went into the house and took a picture through the window.  The boxwood patio is like a painting on the wall from the living and dining rooms.

Boxwood garden and patio from a living room chair.

Boxwood garden and patio from a living room chair.

While I was inside, I decided to take a picture from the ground floor sun room in the back of the house.  It is a delightful room and over the years we have trimmed and cut the existing trees so that there is a “window” through the trees to the valley below:

The mountain view is like an ever changing picture on a glass wall

The mountain view is like an ever changing picture on a glass wall

At the start of the renovation, a couple of the boxwoods were large, scraggly, and almost beyond repair.  The choice was to either take them out or turn them into topiaries.  I thought the latter sounded like a lot more fun.  Here’s how one of them turned out after careful training for a few years.

Turn an ugly, misshaped boxwood into a beautiful topiary

Turn an ugly, misshaped boxwood into a beautiful topiary

Two of the trees in the following picture were originally in planters and got too big, so we planted them over to the side and then added a live Christmas tree from years back.  We have now turned them into modified topiaries.  They’re not finished yet-actually, they will never be finished-but they are really shaping up fine.

topiaries in the garden border

topiaries in the garden border

The zoysia grass flows like a river around the side and down to the rear side of the house. When we installed the sod, Nelson asked if it would be advisable to install a brick border.  I told him that my Uncle John had once said, “It only costs a hell of a lot more to go first class.”  The border was installed and I think it offers a wonderful finished touch.

zoysia sod flows like a river down and to the rear

zoysia sod flows like a river down and to the rear

One funny thing that Nelson told me is the house has a “mansard roof” and that the bedroom walls upstairs are slanted the same as the roof is.  He said that hanging pictures becomes an art form because you must hang them from the bottom as well as the top.

As I was finishing up, I glanced at the back to see Yolanda enjoying the September afternoon with her—you guessed it—Kindle.  Nelson told me that he loves the Kindle and has bought five of them this year, two for the house and three more for members of his family who have trouble finding books overseas.

Enjoying a Kindle on a wonderful September afternoon

Enjoying a Kindle on a wonderful September afternoon

I realized that I am blessed with the opportunity to work really hard on a project for an entire day and enjoy every minute of it.

**********

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

Or the print edition: http://www.amazon.com/Requiem-Redneck-John-P-Schulz/dp/0981825206/

Try “see inside the book”

 

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jane Schulz
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 16:15:05

    John, what a delightful visit! It must be gratifying to see the fruit of your labor over the years.

    About the knockout roses: I think they will bloom until frost.

    However, if they do not, remember that I said to cut them back on Labor DAY.

    Reply

  2. John Schulz
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 16:19:51

    Actually, mom, I think Friday was labor day in Japan

    Reply

  3. Ruth Baird Shaw
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 16:50:00

    Great creative work. It is always great to visit johntheplantman

    Reply

  4. Sandy Lusk
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 18:38:00

    “No guts – no glory”………….I love your writing (and your landscaping)!! I look forward to Sunday reading to see what John the Plantman is up to – and creating!!!! Simply the Best! Have a great birthday tomorrow!

    Reply

  5. Terrell
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 19:21:52

    Beautiful, John! I knew Yolanda from Broadside days. She sold ads for us our first year.

    Reply

  6. Eva Marie Burns
    Sep 06, 2010 @ 07:56:15

    Beautiful landscape and beautiful people!

    Reply

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