Sunday, February 15, 2009

Light and Shadow, Winter and Spring

As you can see, we're enjoying bright sunshine and blue skies here this weekend. We're also enjoying the way this light plays on the almost-completed addition to our garden and imagining dining under a cover of roses, clematis, or jasmine, depending on the month. Meanwhile, I've always loved the play of sun and shadow on construction geometry and could almost be happy leaving the structure unclothed.We've yet to choose furniture that will fit this "room," but I know that the new stone walls edging it and the long steps at the end will serve as seats, especially once they've soaked up a few hours of spring or summer sunshine. You can't really see in this photo, but I've got about two feet of garden bed along both lengths that will need to be replanted -- fun to look forward to.
I love the way the sun flares through the "ceiling slats" -- it will soon be warm enough to take my morning cuppa out here, albeit with a wraparound blanket.

Watching the structure evolve has been fascinating. We trust Frank, an island neighbour whose landscaping projects often involve beautiful stonework and funky arbours, to take our barest wishes and translate them -- we knew that we needed to clean up a homegrown, scruffy rock garden and we imagined a patio and some kind of support structure for a host of roses that were growing out of control. Once the posts were up, and then topped, we were a bit alarmed at the size of the unit so close to the house, but our eyes have adjusted, and we're quite happy with the result now. As the capstones have put some polish on the rock wall and the soil level of the garden has been topped off, the area is taking on the more finished look we were hoping for. The icing on the cake is materializing this week as Frank gives free rein to his creative side, playing with a collection of driftwood to trace sinuous shapes into the room's walls and inviting arches into its doorways.
Soon all that will be left is for me to begin training the roses and clematis to climb our room into a floral bower and then send out invitations for an afternoon tea!
What about your gardens? Do you have any outdoor projects that are helping you imagine spring? or making you impatient for it? Or do you live in a climate of perpetual spring or summer?


  1. Oh, I'm so envious! I love an outdoor room. I really love the look of the wood he's chosen and the shapes. I've been fantasizing about pushing our front porch out a few feet, enough to accommodate some chairs and a porch swing.

  2. For once the English sounds much more romantic than the French - "une tonnelle" doesn't really do it for me!

  3. Pseu: You'd probably get so much more use out of an outdoor room than we will, what with your warmer climate -- I love the idea of a porch swing!
    Lesley: You're right, "bower" is incontestably more romantic and picturesque than "tonnelle"! Although if I were sitting in a "tonnelle" in Burgundy . . . .

  4. Whoops, Lesley, or is it Bordeaux? Get my "B" wines mixed up and now my regions? not good, not good at all!

  5. Your soon to be outdoor room is so beautiful. Now I have two places I want to visit: your outdoor room and your patio. Le sigh!!

  6. frank and i really enjoyed your post and in particular the way your eye catches the light and shadows (well, with the help of your camera, too) .. beautifully done ..

  7. lbr: kettle's on . . .
    Jane: Frank's work really is beautiful and the light mesmerizes me -- I'm pleased with what the camera caught of that.

  8. You will really enjoy this space. You could plant some Lady Bank's roses somewhere. I love them. We are trying to plan enlarging our outdoor patio and perhaps adding a fire pit. It is so overwhelming to me. I would love to have a hammock or somewhere to nap outside. Maybe you could have that too.

  9. Julianne: Perhaps you'll post some photos as you get on with your planning -- we've thought of a firepit as well, but haven't done that yet. We do string up a hammock on the deck each year, but I'm not satisfied yet with the location. As for the Lady Banks' roses, I checked them out, and they're a great suggestion, healthy, supposedly deer-proof (I'm truly skeptical) vigorous climbers and great climbers. Sadly, though, they don't meet my number one fragrance for roses: Fragrance! Luckily, I have quite a few good roses that have just been waiting for this arbour, and there's a great yellow one that's especially ready to gain back his lopped-off limbs and start flowering -- the Graham Thomas, which you might know, is a vigorous rambler/climber, raspberry-rich-scented, and I'm pretty excited to see how he adapts to his new digs (actually, he never was uprooted, so "digs" is probably not a good word choice there!)


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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