Garden Thoughts

Rock Garden

Turn bank by den into a rock garden, with wide steps going up to front door next to foundation wall, where there is never any sun.  Pave area at top by steps to the front stoop, which lacks sun (think we have enough flat square stones to do this.)  Steps could be railroad ties or rock.  Concrete stepping stone path from there along front to the gate by garage.  Eventually replace with stone or brick.  Let grass grow farther into point by garage and at bottom of slope.  Possibly put lavender between azalea and end toward garage – kinnickkinnick is not doing well at all.

Point by Garage

Shovel mound of gravel and whatever over the hill to level; clean up area over the hill by garage door.  Build steps over the edge. Take out bush honeysuckle at end of lower path along retaining wall.  Decide whether other shrubs or plantings are needed there.

Front Walk Border

Follow Hartland side of walk with a border, possibly starting with a line of lavender, which stayed green all winter by the mailbox.  Leave a path at corner of house to get into side yard; needs to be wheelbarrow width.  Possibly stepping-stones.  Maybe use sedge plants from patio?

Middle Terrace Japanese Garden

Build tea house (need not be elaborate, at least to start – maybe uprights, sheet tin or even branches for roof, and bamboo shade walls on house side).  This would block view down to next backyard from patio, serve as a focal point of Japanese garden.  Other features should be a hand basin rock, a lantern.  Possibly river gravel area with stepping stone path.  Plant mountain laurel and rhododendron along retaining wall.

Middle Terrace Pool

Move bridal wreath spirea – maybe on either side of steps – they are pretty when blooming, obviously do well in shade, but not visible where they are and in a funny place.  Move rocks removed from pool.  Ferns?  The blood root we moved in is up but not blooming.  Columbine has disappeared…

Bottom of the Garden

The corner at the bottom of the garden gets sun from early in the morning until fairly late in the afternoon.  It is also very visible from the patio and our bedroom.  Clean up brush pile, possibly build a new, more presentable one for the groundhog, thrushes, and whatever, and to block the neighbor’s shed and the chain link fence next door.  Plant with honeysuckle, trumpet vine, maybe autumn clematis.  Fruit trees might also be possible – doesn’t seem to be a frost pocket, since the daffodils are earliest there.

Fence Row

Simplicity roses and peonies already there.  Fill in with wildflower mix again, and eventually add other perennials for narrow mixed border.  Needs to be stuff that will stand salt.  Look up that evergreen white-flowering ground cover – candytuft? to plant all along fence so grass and weeds aren’t always oozing onto sidewalk.


Fig tree against chimney. Yellow climbing roses (Golden Showers?) in chimney corners against house?  Or peach trees?  Border beds with lavender to keep it defined all winter.  Decide how to surface paths.

Hartland Side Yard

About six feet along fence gets morning sun.  Build shady thicket with seating area around red maple; check to see where opening for best view is.  See plans from Mid-Atlantic book

Back Walk

Plant ferns along retaining wall? Gets only a little early morning sun. Lilies of the valley another possibility, but evergreen ferns probably better. Need to thin daffodils when the leaves die back – put some around sweet gum stump with crocuses.  Might put some in mailbox bed and maybe along fence.

Brick Oven

Below retaining wall next to pond.  Need shrubbery between it and Japanese garden.

Side Yard

Seating thicket under maple tree – see plans from Mid-Atlantic book.

One thought on “Garden Thoughts

  1. My name is John B. Tonkin, Jr. and I lived in your house from 1961 until 1972. My Grand Mother (Norma Tonkin) and Grandfather (Loring Tonkin) owned and lived in the house from about 1916 until 1961, when my Grandmother died and my Father (John B. Tonkin) and our family moved into it. I was 13 years old. What a great place to grow up in!
    I read your article on the house and viewed all the pictures. Most everything you said about the history of the house and its owners were true but not exactly accurate. The recent interior pictures of the house were very nice. I would love to see what it looks like today.
    I don’t know who you are, but if you would like to know more of what I know of the house and it’s history, please feel free to contact me at my email( or call me at 304-269-4195. I live on a farm between Weston and Buckhannon. I also have some pictures of the house taken in the 1930’s and 1940’s

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