The smell of boxwoods intoxicates me. It fills my mind with memories of the family of my youth that I talk about so often around here. I wasn’t at home with my parents much as a child and that was fine with me. I much preferred to be with my Great Aunt Nana her brother Uncle Bim and my grandmother Mamie. Uncle Bim was a jack of all trades being mainly an Engineer on the Southern Railway. But he knew how to build houses and did so for many of the neighborhoods thoughout our area. He built the home where he lived with his sister in the community of Old Salem, NC. He also built my grandmother’s home and that of my Aunt Mary and Uncle Bob.
Mamie’s House, my grandmother…notice the Craftsman details
My Aunt and Uncle’s House and notice the craftsman style
All three of these homes are called Craftsman style. ( The home of Uncle Bim is not shown as I don’t have a scanner to upload the photo but it looks just like the one above) If you are a Craftsman fan then you are hopelessly devoted to being one. It is not something you choose to be but rather something you just plain are by nature. Consider it a gift and enjoy an appreciation for all things constructed with attention to stability. It is a balance of design marrying angles so they square off in a pyramid sort of way. I always knew I wanted to design and build one for my family. So now, I live in a Craftsman home with big front and back porhes where we swap lies and swat flies. We just moved in March 08. You can see my current home from my sidebar link if you wish.
I’ve been honest with many of you about my gardening experience. Combinations of color come to me easily and I’m known for making an arrangment out of anything. Up until this summer, I worked for a local nusery and was known as the container queen. Learning the Proven Winners cultivars wasn’t too hard since we were a Proven Winners nursery. The owner, Damien Johns, is the best nurseryman I’ve ever met. He is a stickler for detail and grows his plants in the very best soil. We had some of the prettiest and healthiest plants on the planet. I acquired quite a few customers and some still call. Over the next year, I’ll remake many of my recipes and photograph them. I was too busy the first go round to think about it. The gardens above are from my former home. Mr D and I bult the rock wall. It’s Tennessee thin stone and it’s dry stacked and back filled as we went.
I still have so much to learn about plant names and the scientific varieties. I taught Biology for 5 years and can tell you exactly how a plant goes from seed to reseed. I can tell you how cells graft and what happens when roots layer to form new plants. I know how cells uptake nutrients and so many more biological plant goodie stuff facts and that is why I am a smart successful gardener. I understand how to grow a healthy plant.
I learned from those folks listed above. My Aunt Nana loved wildflowers. She would talk to me for hours about flowers. I was listening but mainly I was weighing the colors and matching different combinations in my imagination. As so it goes today and I won’t try to hide what I don’t know. I try very hard to remember the names of plants. Some I remember easily but it’s not how i choose to organize them . I choose to organize them by color. And I don’t follow any particular rule. It just comes to me what will go together because I have always been able to match them up. I think this lack of knowing all the names is a handicap and I work on it every day. Rarely do I go to the nursery to pick up a particular plant but rather a particular color. I can match contrast or make it monochromatic using different plant material.
The pot above looks like a cone of ice cream to me. The ice cream is flowing over the edge. My new gardens need a name. They are cottage style in most ways but my chaos is ordered. I like to clump colors. Helen over at Gardening With Confidence says it’s important to name your garden. She says it will help you explain to others the theme of your garden. You won’t find yourself stammering for words to describe it. You will have thought that through already and it will flow from your heart to your lips. So I need to do that. I accepted Helen’s challenge and have been pondering over how it describes my style. Helen also says we need a mission statement so our gardens are defined in a way that makes it a living testimony of who we are.
I started gardening when I was 10 ish or 4. I have always liked masses of color both bold and subtle. It’s mostly a cottage style but the whole Craftsman style adds a bit of natural element to the picture. Craftsman gardening is a style that leans towards native evergreens, grasses, natural areas, rock, and keeping with greens, browns, and oranges. The inside of my home is very much that mix of color and the style of the home is Craftsman. You can tell from the front columns and wide porches. The angles of my home are in keeping with our areas take on Craftsman. I have a version of 9 light windows in my home as well.
Having considered all these styles and who I am, I came up with this:
My gardens shall be called:
Putz is a German word meaning to decorate My family comes from Moravian tradition and my great aunt Nana would carry out the Moravian tradition in her craftsman home by putting up a Putz. The Moravians adopted the word putz as their name for the elaborate Christmas manger scenes each home had sitting in a treasured location. For my aunt, it was in her dining room on a beautiful oak side table. It took her weeks to decorate. It was multi-level with rock, moss, wood, little people and animals, and the manger and stable were very real looking. Each Moravian home cherishes the many Putz pieces passed down through generations of families. Some Putz are very elaborate and cover several tables. The Home Moravian Church in Winston Salem, NC has a Putz in the basement of the Single Brothers house in Old Salem, NC. It is a replica of the original settlement of the 1700’s.
As a child I was both fascinated with my aunt and mesmerized by all the Putz but especially the one that was displayed proudly on Walnut street. It was very importatnt to keep the Putz misted and healthy. You didn’t want the wood or moss to dry out and become unattractive for the holidays.
So it shall be that the love my aunt, uncle, and grandmother bestowed on me for the love of nature both in the garden and in the Putz ……..I will call my gardens The Putz at Copper Top Cottage . It must be tended so that in season, it will put forth it’s best showing. It is wood, water, nature, rocks, sticks, and pleases me to decorate it with all nature of plants.
Garden name: The Putz at Copper Top Cottage
My Garden Mission Statement: Decorating A Garden so that it brings happiness to all who enter.
Please follow the link below and meet Helen at Gardening With Confidence
Helen Yoest at Gardening With Confidence is all of the following!
Gardening Coach in Raleigh, NC Zone 7b.
Helen writes for garden and style magazines including stories for Nature’s Garden, Fine Gardening, Carolina Gardening, Metro, Triangle Style, Living in Style, Boom!, Wake Living, 15/501, and others.