what is really going on in caln township with lloyd farm?

Many thanks to Abandoned Steve Explorations for the use of his gorgeous photo of Lloyd Farm in Caln Township.

Abandoned Steve Explorations took the glorious photo I am opening this post with. I am positively obsessed with the cool structures he covers. He was nice enough to lend us the use of this photo it’s part of an upcoming project. You can find him on Facebook , his website, and YouTube.

Lloyd Farm is haunting me. Part of a Penn Land Grant, dating its origins to the 1600s.

(See this history by Edward C. Lendrat)

Then there is the 18th Century farmhouse with an equally historic 1901 addition.

What am I talking about? 1757 was when the farmhouse was originally built and 1910 when the Lloyd family commissioned Gilbert McIlvaine the Philadelphia architect to build a “modern” addition that paid homage and melded with the original farmhouse. Mr. McIlvaine maintained a home in Downingtown for many years and was also active in the Boy Scouts founding several troops I am told in Chester County.

Back to Lloyd Farm…except the people who have called it home or who had something to do with it are important to the very fabric of Lloyd Farm’s history.

Yesterday I learned surprising news when a copy of an old historic preservation application was unearthed from the early 1980s – possibly 1982. Yes – seriously – Lloyd Farm Application for Historic Designation: PA Historic Resource Form Circa 1982.

From this form we learned quite a few things including that Lloyd Farm around or before the Civil War was a freaking stop on the Underground Railroad!

It’s just crazy and you have to ask what in the heck is going on in Caln Township? How long have these commissioners known the history of Lloyd Farm and why didn’t that historic designation proceed? Why wasn’t it pursued for a national historical status?

Did I mention the demolition permit? There is one. And what is with the date mismatch in that letter thing?

I don’t live in Caln. I do know amusingly enough like Lower Merion Township , it’s a First Class Township. But who runs the Township? Because it surely doesn’t seem like the elected commissioners does it? I know in Lower Merion Township years ago because I was part of it when the residents rose up after having had enough over the threat of eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore that we flipped half of the board of commissioners in one election.

And Caln residents are upset about this.

Really upset.

I want to know why the developer wants to tear down the house don’t you? Is this going to be like the death of Addison Mizner’s La Ronda in Bryn Mawr, PA? A case where a magnificent home was torn down for salvage just because someone could?

Caln resident submitted photo.

Look at the historic comparables in Chester County that are actually getting saved and restored: West Whiteland Inn, Exton. Benjamin Jacobs House, Exton. Fox Chase Inn and Barn, Exton. Linden Hall, Malvern (even if I don’t like some of what is being done it’s being saved, finally.) Loch Aerie, Malvern. The Jenny Lind House, Yellow Springs Village.

Also to be considered? Several Toll Brothers projects including in Chester County where similar vintage farmhouses and/or barns have been or are being saved. Now it is no secret how I feel about Toll Brothers developments, but if even they can preserve historic structures on properties they are developing why couldn’t the developer for Lloyd Farm do that? Or why couldn’t they contemplate something like selling off the farmhouse with a small plot of land around it to someone who might want to preserve it and live in it or something like that?

Caln resident submitted photo.

I don’t have the answers and every day I have more and more questions. This is one of those situations I just don’t get it. I just don’t get what is going on here. I don’t understand why this property isn’t more valued for the centuries of history involved here?

Our history should not always belong to the wrecking ball.

That’s all I have got.

#SaveLloydFarm #ThisPlaceMatters

Caln resident submitted photo.

the sisterhood of the traveling rug

This could be considered a cautionary tale. To pay attention when you’re bidding on things in an out-of-state auction. More specifically pay attention as to how you will get the item home.

Just after the New Year I was checking out an online auction down in Charleston, South Carolina. There was this old red-ish rug in an old house on an old floor that was like my dream rug of what I had been searching for to decorate with in my dining room.

I am not a giant fan of wall-to-wall carpet. I like hardwood floors and area rugs. And my favorite area rugs are old Persian and oriental rugs, most of which (like most people) I cannot afford. So like many other things when it comes to decorating you have to get creative. You check out auctions, you check out house sales, you go barn picking.

So when I saw this rug I knew if I could get it at a reasonable price, I would finally have what I wanted. I am not one of those people who was fortunate enough to inherit old rugs like this from family members as hand-me-downs. And it’s hard to find a decent sized oriental or Persian or Afghan rug that isn’t brutally expensive even if it is in rough shape.

Of course a lot of that has to do with the fact that certain kinds of rugs aren’t being made as much in their originating countries as they once were and when relationships with countries change with the US it means things aren’t being imported much either. Another factor are consignment stores and dealers jacking prices for their profit margins. Mind you, we live in a free market society and if that’s what they want to charge that is their right. However, it is my right as a thrifty soul to shop a better bargain.

There were other rugs in this auction in particular and this would’ve been considered a lesser quality rug, although for me it was what I wanted. So I set an absentee bid (and it was low) and walked away from the auction site. Much to my surprise no one really bid on it except for one other person. And they seemed to lose interest in it and in the end to my surprise I got it and got it for a song. I got it for like a true garage sale price which seriously shocked me.

I have won rugs in auctions before. If you are working with an honest to God budget or just don’t have a lot of money it is sometimes your only option. The key is to know the auctioneer, and in this case it was a Caring Transitions franchise.

After I won the rug I waited to see when they would invoice me for shipping. I contacted the auctioneer and this was a learning curve for both of us.

This is a room size rug pretty much – a smaller room but then again I have a small house. As I noted previously, I have won rugs in auctions before and I’ve had them shipped to me FedEx. They come insured, you have to sign for them – you have to be home to take receipt and it’s generally speaking pretty easy.

This time it wasn’t so easy. Some auction houses have their own personnel who pack and ship items if they agree to pack and ship. Other auction houses and auctioneers have a third party pack and ship items. In this case it was finding a third-party to pack and ship who didn’t want to gouge me for many times over what I actually paid for the rug.

One company told the auctioneer around $425 and that wasn’t necessarily including all the fees and what not that they charge. Another company told the auctioneer well over $500. Neither the auctioneer or myself expected this at all. I did not know what to do so I reached out to a friend of mine that lives in the area of the auctioneer. She agreed with me that the price was crazy.

This is where it becomes the sisterhood of the traveling rug.

My friend offered to get the rug and take it to FedEx and have them pack and ship it. Because that’s what I have done in the past and it was quite reasonable in price.

My friend went to the warehouse where it was being stored and nobody was there to greet her. So in the end, the auctioneer kindly had the rug I purchased delivered to her home and she took it to FedEx. FedEx charged me (with significant insurance for safety purposes) a little over $95. Not $400 not $500.

The rug arrived this morning and I signed for it. Now I have an appointment with my rug cleaner who will come and pick it up and take it out to be cleaned and have a mat cut for it. I am able to afford to do that because I didn’t just settle for what these packing and shipping companies said should be the charge.

So that is my cautionary tale. And I will tell you that when I spoke with the FedEx man this morning he said he had delivered something else locally a while back – a musical instrument – and the man who receive the package was charged over $500 to ship it by a third party pack and ship company.

So when it comes to these subcontractors I guess it’s caveat emptor or buyer beware… and do your homework.

And yes I know some people are going to read this post and think I am crazy hunting down an old rug. So many people will say “why not just buy a new one?” That part is easy. I love vintage. I like the character of old and vintage items. I just don’t like the price tag sometimes which is why you shop around.

Many thanks to my friend who helped me get my rug to me. She is and always has been aces.

lloyd farmhouse STILL not secured! caln township are you listening?

My friend Robin Ashby sent me some entirely too heartbreaking photos from Lloyd Farm. This is what he had to say to people about a visit there this weekend:

Historic Stewardship involves documenting a site before it becomes the next High Density housing project, raising awareness and speaking out – Nestled in Downingtown is a parcel dating back to Penn’s Land Grant Charter of the late 1600s. The ruins of the barn and outbuildings are stunning examples of stonework using Downingtown Blue Limestone from 1800 -1940, overgrown formal gardens in which one finds one of the largest (and oldest) Japanese Maples in Pennsylvania sit waiting to be brought back to life. The farmhouse is circa 1795 and is rapidly disintegrating, but has 8+ bedrooms and beautiful architectural elements.

This will shortly become high rise, high density commercial/residential housing for 1000+ new residents. The fields will be gone, the fox, deer and birds will find other habitat.

Of course, we have the ability to speak up and say that this doesn’t have to happen quite like this. Caln Township will discuss this project on February 12 at their meeting, DAHS (Downingtown Area Historical Society) suggests that you attend and listen.

What in the hell is wrong with Caln Township and whomever the developer is? Literally a week ago I wrote about this as then people were also inside the historic farmhouse on thr property because it was wide open and not properly secured.

It’s like someone doesn’t want this farmhouse to survive do they?

Japanese Maples are among my favorite trees! And who knew this property had the oldest one? Or had at one time such fabulous gardens? Who has old garden photos to share???

Here is the info on the upcoming meeting:

And again, many thanks to Robin Ashby for the photos. Here are some more:

for sale: suburban home complete with bondage room

sewxy twist

It looks like your typical cookie-cutter McMansion Colonial doesn’t it?

Well yes….but….nooo….All is not as it seems when you then you read the description off of the RedFin and the Coldwell Banker Realtor’s website:

“50 shades of Maple Glen”. One of a kind surburban home with a sexy twist. Private quiet lane of 3 homes leads you to a secluded 4 bedrooms upstairs plus 1 bedroom in basement 2.5 bath colonial home located just 15 miles outside Philadelphia in the suburb of Maple Glen. Property includes 3 fireplaces….Full finished walk-out basement w bilco doors, includes a gym or 5th bedroom and also is a private adult sexual oasis. It can be converted back to a typical suburban basement. Home currently is being offered as an Air B&B rental @maisonxs that gets $750 a night on weekdays & $2000 a night on the weekends for private parties or entertainment.Convenient to PA turnpike, 309, 63, 152 , trains to Center City Phila, restaurants, shops, & minutes from downtown Ambler. Award winning Upper Dublin school district. House is being sold furnished.

Now I can’t take credit for discovering this, a friend of mine did and posted it.  So have many, many people on social media.  This real estate listing will go viral no doubt….

So…the house is being sold furnished…well I guess those bondage contraptions are hard to pack and move aren’t they?

Yes, really – check out the real listing and the smattering of screenshots I took (since I think it could all disappear- and slowly are- just my opinion but…) :

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Can.You.Just.Imagine thinking you are going to see a normal suburban home in a decent school district? Will realtors have to warn adults to leave the kiddos at home when coming to view this listing? How on earth will they handle an open house? How much do you want to bet it’s the broker’s open all realtors will flock to? (Wearing dark glasses, wigs, and hats so they aren’t recognized of course.)

And OMG the Realtor. You just can’t unread, unhear this  from CBS3:

It’s what lies in the basement that makes this home something right out of Christian Grey’s Red Room. Leonard says it has been turned into a “private adult sexual oasis,” fully stocked with whips, chains, a sex swing, among other things.

The entire home is being sold fully furnished, but if a sex room is not your thing, Leonard says the room can always be converted back to a typical suburban basement.

Hi, Me here. Dying laughing. Realtor spinny spin spin. Sometimes my dear, least said, soonest mended. That Realtor should not have given a sound byte IMHO. “If a sex room is not your thing” LOL LOL LOL. No honey…no no no…but I heard she told a reporter that her phone was blowing up? LOL LOL LOL of course it is….

However, what shows up in houses never surprises me as I still remember being a kid and being taken along as my parents were searching for a house when they decided we were moving from the city to suburbia.  In one staid and traditional neighborhood in Bryn Mawr there was a home with a primal scream therapy room complete with padded walls…and they also had an old electric chair….as in a chair to fry people in. It wasn’t operable but it was horror movie creepy. It was so unexpected I still remember my mother standing there in stunned silence before recovering her composure.  I wish I could remember the house location exactly but all I remember was it was on a corner, had sidewalks, well manicured typical Main Line neighborhood on the north side.

I realize everyone deserves to sell their home for top dollar but what will this listing attract to that neighborhood in Montgomery County? What has it already attracted as an AirBnB??  Yes, it is an AirBnB:

Welcome to MXS.

A privately secluded 3-level, 4000 sq.ft exquisite showpiece located 15 miles outside of Philadelphia.

More information
Provides a cozy and warm experience, or something a little more exciting, MXS is designed to appeal to your own personal mood.

When hosting private parties, demonstrations, or just a retreat.
When in Philly, think MXS.

Interaction with guests

MXS enjoys the company of guests at their request as well as providing them with butler and concierge service.

Other things to note

Private wing available for short-term stay at a discounted rate. Please message us for details.

Oy vey, so does the Master or Madam greet you at the door in black leather and a hood if you rent for AirBnB? What does the butler and concierge service wear?

I must be getting old, as this doesn’t do anything for me other than want to get down on my knees and give thanks to the Lord above for my awesome neighbors without surprise bedrooms and bondage proclivities.

Good luck selling the house, I think it is a little plebian for Christian Grey. After all, where would he land the private jet?

To each their own.  This just gives me the creeps. And while I tried not to judge, while I tried to be objective, I just can’t be anything other than skeeved out.

My my my the Ambler and Upper Dublin area sure has grown up hasn’t it? Makes you really want to know your neighbors doesn’t it? And say you wanted to buy this house but didn’t want the “extra” furnishings? How on earth would you title THAT house sale?

Ok enough on the 50 shades of creepy real estate listing.  Every pot has a lid, shoe has a foot…I guess?  But hey, at least it is in the “award winning” Upper Dublin School District, right?

brian article

And the media is having fun…Philadelphia Magazine added it to their “Just Listed” with a column by Sandy Smith. And Brian Hickey from the Philly Voice toured it today and I am waiting for his article because I think it will be my favorite….

Oy vey.

So wonder how the neighbors feel?

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nice ker-feal article in county lines magazine

capture ker feal

Courtesy of County Lines Magazine

So….no secret….I am the lover of what some consider to be more obscure or less popular bits of Chester County history. Among those bits would be Ker-Feal, the country home of Dr. Albert Barnes.

“When I looked out the window at Ker-Feal this morning, God went over the head of all artists in my estimation: He had made a picture of wide fields and luscious hills covered with an immaculate white; and holding the fields and hills together in the composition was a beautiful network of white lines made up of lacy patterns of branches of trees and twigs of bushes.”

~ Letter from Albert C. Barnes to Mrs. Owen J. Roberts, March 30, 1942 (courtesy of County Lines Magazine February 2019 article)

Ok so yeah. THAT. Makes me itch  to see Ker-Feal as I have never been and have never been invited to tour the property and take it all in.

Sigh. It sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

Which is why I am so glad that County Lines Magazine’s February, 2019 issue will feature a terrific article on Ker-Feal!

You heard it here first, make sure you pick up the February, 2019 County Lines Magazine – follow this LINK for Flipbook link on issu

Click here for article which is now available online.

The article was written by my pal Kirsten at Natural Lands.  Partway down the article you will see a photograph of the cover for a 1942 House & Garden Magazine. That is my personal contribution to this article as I have that magazine.

County Lines Magazine: Thursday, January 24 2019 9:29

Fidèle’s House … Forever Green
Written by Kirsten Werner, Natural Lands

Most people who know of Albert Barnes think of the extraordinary art collection he left in trust for the public, first at his Lower Merion home and then later moved to a modern museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. The world-class collection includes over 181 Renoirs, 69 Cezannes, 59 Matisses, 46 Picassos and so much more.

But few know about another residence in Chester County, home to a different type of collection.

Here’s a short version of that story.

…Dr. Barnes and his wife, Laura Leggett Barnes, acquired an 18th-century farmhouse in Chester Springs, Chester County in 1940 and called it “Ker-Feal.” Named after Barnes’s favorite dog, Fidèle de Port Manech, Ker-Feal translates to “Fidèle’s House” in Breton. Dr. Barnes adopted the Brittany spaniel mix on a trip to France.

(Now go and read the article – it’s amazing, well-written, and interesting)

Here are my other Ker-Feal posts:

is chester county’s ker-feal at risk?

AWESOME! conservation easement placed on dr. barnes’ ker-feal!

on hired muscle and sinkholes

On Sunday shortly before dinner time my cell phone exploded with text messages and calls. News of another sinkhole opening on Lisa Drive in West Whiteland.

Now a sinkhole opening up after heavy rains in our part of the county is not so unusual is it? Is it not true we are rife with sinkholes because of the geological formations under the ground? All that stuff about schist, karst, and what some describe as a veritable limestone fault line?

See this from water-research.net:

Or check out this map from the geology section of the Chester County website:

So why does it always seem like the pipeline companies don’t care about the actual geology of our area where they are shoving their pipes?

In addition to the geological life of it all underground (which is why there were so many mine and quarries, etc right?) we are an area with lots of old farm pits and whatever a lot of developers have buried at old construction sites of years past? Today most construction debris gets hauled away properly but in times past? Was a lot of debris removed or buried?

Anyway my point is in my opinion all these things add up to giving a lot of people the ability to have sinkholes on their property. My other point is neighbors and residents seem to be more aware and fearful of sinkholes, yet these pipeline companies seem to just move blithely forward don’t they?

So we have another sinkhole and I’m told it’s a property that Sunoco bought on Lisa Drive. The pipeline that was exposed was the old pipeline Mariner One. What makes all the difference in the world now in my opinion is how Sunoco proceeds and thus far is it anything that business as usual? Or the continuing saga of Chester county residents versus Sunoco?

Why do I say that? Hired muscle, thugs, security take your pick of describing people who reportedly called themselves constables. Does that mean they want people to think they are law-enforcement?

WFMZ reports:

Chester County DA: Sunoco hired private security to protect pipelines

CHESTER CO., Pa. – Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced that after investigating a new sinkhole that opened up last weekend in Chester County, his office discovered that Sunoco hired constables from outside of Chester County to act as a private security force around the pipelines…According to a release from Hogan’s office, when the sinkhole appeared, citizens reported it and a plain clothes Chester County Detective approached the scene. When he arrived, an armed man flashed a badge and identified himself as a constable from Northumberland County.

When asked by the detective, the man admitted he had been hired as security by Sunoco, according to the release.

Is it just me or is that like welcome to Crazy Town?

I have had friends tell me of being in their own back yards and having the pipeline workers photograph and video them going about their everyday life. So they are allowed to do that yet if residents do the same they are criticized?

I have to ask if municipalities getting ready for other pipelines like Adelphia Gateway to come in are paying attention? Do they think realistically it’s going to be any different than what the residents dealing with Sunoco/Sunoco Logistics/Energy Transfer Partners experience every day?

Are we as residents of a county that played a huge part in the birthplace of our American freedoms supposed to just live in a factory town paid police state? Every time I hear one of the stories about the pipelines it reminds me of the tales of factory towns and factories and mining towns and mines where literally some company owned everything: where you worked, where your laid your head to rest each night, where you went to do your shopping and so on.

And when it comes to these pipelines what are we getting out of the deal? These are transport lines correct? So they are taking stuff taken out of the soil in other parts of the state and shipping them out of the area and overseas, correct? And for this privilege of living with this in our area what do we get? Oh yeah, things like experiencing eminent domain, declining property values, valid safety concerns, polluted drinking Wells, sinkholes, being harassed, and more?

Does Governor Tom Wolf give a damn? Does Attorney General Josh Shapiro give a damn? Do most local mucicipal reprsentatives in each township and counties give a damn?

Before I lived in Chester County, and even when I first moved to Chester County I thought people were being overly dramatic with regard to the pipelines. Because that’s what the PR spin doctors wanted me to think.

As I started to look beyond the spin and began to call some of the affected residents friends, and realized I already knew some of the affected residents, my perspective began to right itself towards the truth.

First I realized that if life had been different, we (as in my family) might be living in Marydell in West Chester with a pipeline now in the back yard. Then when I realized where we currently live is 1030 feet and 1060 feet from exisitng pipelines and where Adelphia Gateway wants to repurpose an old line like Sunoco-lite I really knew this was actually scary stuff.

And that knowledge has made realize we can’t really trust these pipeline companies can we? And that lack of trust extends to elected officials who do nothing to support the residents who elected them, doesn’t it?

As residents we are heavily scrutinized, perhaps even unfairly scrutinized because we are tired of the pipeline status quo. Is it just me or does it seem we as residents are held to a more stringent set of rules or a higher standard for wishing to protect where we call home and are raising our families?

That is why I am glad Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan is taking a hard look at what is going on. Maybe more officials will follow suit. One can only hope.

In the meantime, like thousands of others I live every day with grave concerns as to what the pipeline companies are doing. After all, we aren’t revolutionaries we just live here.

#DefendWhatYouLove (responsibly, please)

Here is more media coverage:

WFMZ 69 News: Sinkhole exposes Mariner east pipeline in Chester County

Philly.com: Another sinkhole appears in Chester County neighborhood, exposing Mariner East pipeline by Katie Park

Philly.com: Mariner East 2 worker’s ‘obscene’ comments draw ire of Chesco DA by Vinny Vella, Updated: January 16, 2019

Daily Times: The Heron’s Nest: Sinking feeling for Mariner East By Phil Heron pheron@delcotimes.com @philheron on Twitter

Dragonpipe Diary

StateImpact Pennsylvania

StateImpact: JANUARY 21, 2019 | 07:34 AM UPDATED: JANUARY 22, 2019 | 10:12 AM

Sunoco to ‘purge’ part of Mariner East 1 after new sinkhole opens at Lisa Drive by Jon Hurdle

why can’t u.s. television produce a real gardening show?

Every time a new gardening or garden/landscape show is going to premiere on US television I watch it. I am a rabid gardener and an avid gardener and I like to learn and be inspired to garden better, garden smarter, garden prettier.

But every single show I see on DIY or HGTV and now Bravo aren’t real gardening shows. These shows don’t give any gardener I know inspiration. And they aren’t really creating garden spaces where the homeowner learns about the plants and how to care for them after all the television crews are gone.

I had high hopes for Bravo’s Backyard Envy. But after watching the premiere episode, I think it’s going to be added to my skip it list and I’ll tell you why. And FYI the photos are screenshots I took from the television screen.

My sister lives in Manhattan. She has both a rooftop garden and a rear yard garden. I have watched closely what the gardening professionals have done with her spaces over the years and it’s nothing short of lovely. They are also for the most part, plants that she can care for, a garden space someone who doesn’t really garden or have time to garden can maintain. My sister has lovely maintainable spaces that are beautiful four seasons of the year.

Backyard Envy made me wince. In my opinion they don’t know what they’re doing and I wouldn’t hire them. Being a garden designer and landscape architect are very specific practices. The people who are the principles on this show aren’t landscape architects or true garden designers. Being a designer for Ralph Lauren stores/events and having space planning background and graphic design background doesn’t make you a landscape architect or a gardener.

And to add insult to injury, they butchered both the common names and Latin names for many plants. I don’t pretend to pronounce everything perfectly but if somebody gave me a garden design television show you bet your life I would learn how to pronounce everything before I was on camera or recorded!

I will admit that I found the roof deck of the house in Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn (think that is where they were) clever, but I found some of the choice of plants unrealistic for the homeowners to maintain unless they wanted to pay someone to come in a couple times a week and take care of the space. Part of the trick to urban garden spaces is to also make it sustainable and relatively simple to care for because not everyone can afford staff to keep everything in garden magazine ready form 24/7. I also was uncomfortable watching them “blacken” wood up on the roof, because in my humble opinion something with a live flame should have been done outside and on the ground and then taken up to the roof after everything was cool.

The second property they were dealing with was up in Piermont, New York. Piermont is in Rockland county. It’s on the west bank of the Hudson river apparently. It is very attractive to people who want a more bucolic lifestyle yet still be somewhat close to New York City. It’s a very pretty place. It’s also not too far from the site of the now demolished Tappan Zee bridge. So, essentially it’s a place that is quasi-on the water, which means gardening has to take that into consideration right?

The show goes to the home of a couple with a very modern house on the edge of what seems to be a big pond. The space they want fixed up as usable garden space is literally 2 feet from the water. As soon as the crew starts digging water comes up. Well d’oh what did they think was going to happen? Can you say water table? Aquifer?

Their solution on the show reinforcing a bank with railroad ties and adding a French drain. French drain pipes are something we use in our gardens to direct water and deal with water. But when mother nature is RIGHT there with a body of water and not much space or slope, do we really think that is a long-term solution? Will that garden space even last? What happens if there’s a good storm or something? If those people didn’t have public sewer and it was away from their septic and public water, why didn’t these “experts” suggest things like willow trees? Or other, longer lasting solutions?

Why willows? Willows absorb water as they live for water. We planted one in our front yard when we moved into our house because we are not on public water we are not on public sewer and 1/2 of our front yard was extraordinarily wet because it was the low spot on the street leading to the woods in the rear. We now have a front yard that does much better in the rain and our garage doesn’t get flooded anymore. I have also improved the grade slightly of the flowerbeds next to the house and that helps. In other wet spots in our woods I have done things like plant giant pussy willows.

The garden space in Piermont was an attempt at a layered garden. But as opposed to what David Culp has done in his gardens (see David Culp’s website) or what I have seen British gardening treasure Monty Don do, this fell short. Sure it looked good for cameras, but what real gardeners prepare a riparian buffer and put echinacea / cone flowers in it? If you’re going to do a riparian buffer it has to actually have plants that all tolerate a lot of water and you need the right light and a lot of it. Echinacea/coneflowers also don’t like wet feet. I found out the hard way when I tried to plant them in a certain spot out front in a flower bed on the side of our property near the willow tree we planted. I had the right light, but it was an area that gets wet and the plants had a whole failure to thrive and eventually died.

There were also other plants that definitely don’t like wet feet that they planted on this episode, and/or didn’t seem to be right for the light. Maybe people who like the show are going to find me overly picky, but sorry not sorry for my opinions. I dig in the dirt. I wear gloves but I still get my hands dirty. And I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty. One of those guys seemed like he was going to pass out if he actually got his hands dirty. If that’s the case, what’s he doing in a garden or on a show that creates outdoor spaces?

A real riparian buffer is a total work of art, and the other thing I found missing from this design were native plants. If it was my show I would embrace plants that were native to the area as well. And I would point them out because people are interested in that. And they should have spoken more about creating a riparian buffer on the edge of water and not just ” look at these pretty flowers”.

The problem I have with these shows (and not just this one) is I don’t think anything is sustainable long term. I think in a few years if that a lot all of these homeowners who participate in the shows will be looking for help. When you plant things for instant gratification to look good and tart up for the cameras, it’s like the online dating/relationship shows like the Bachelor or Bachelorette — what happens after the cameras stop rolling?

For me, the plants come first and whether or not I have a bar cart next to my pond if I had a pond would come second. As I grow my gardens I plan my seating areas around that. And maybe I am more of a traditionalist and I don’t want an outdoor living room out back. I have a living room already and it’s inside. As someone who has also deliberately planted layered gardens I can tell you it is work and maintenance.

I think the three folks who star in this show are very creative. But I don’t find them to be actual gardeners. And with all these lifestyle shows no matter which network you choose, it would be nice once in a while in the US if we had an actual gardening show. United States television could take a page out of BBC’s book. BBC offers fabulous gardening programs which is why am so happy to have access to them via the streaming services.

Is actual gardening such a boring concept in the US that we can’t get a real gardening show? Is there life beyond mega decks, outdoor man caves, and hardscaping? I think there is, and I know I’m not alone so I hope we get to see more of folks like Monty Don and his colleagues on this side of the pond.

As for me personally? I get to see how winter hardy some of my plants actually are in the next couple of days. Here’s hoping everything survives. Stay warm and thanks for stopping by.