Gardening at Beaumont House Series: Installation One - Sowing the seeds

Dear Flower Friends,

A few years ago I read a memoir about a couple that lived on one of the barrier islands off the coast of Virginia.  The wife was a few inches shorter than her husband. One day they were walking and the husband mentioned being able to see a certain landmark.  The wife responded she had never seen that landmark when they were walking.  It then occurred to her that their difference in height gave them different perspectives on the island.

I recently had a similar epiphany.  We just finished our construction project and Beaumont House now has a second story.  My perspective to the southeast is 20 feet higher.  The field next door, owned by a neighboring farm, is now in my line of sight everyday.  Over the past few months, as I was planning my cutting garden, I realized I needed/wanted more space.  The field wasn't being used for much and the area just on the other side of our fence would be perfect for an expanded cutting garden.

A few conversations later with farm manager, the expanded cutting garden is going to be a reality!  Two weeks ago, my husband, the studio dogs and I staked out a 60' x 30' area.  With a clean spade, I dug soil samples and sent them off to the Virginia Tech soil testing lab.  Within a week, the results came back and I have my recommendations for soil amendments.  My plan is to beta test the plot this year (my husband is an IT consultant - we throw the term 'beta testing' around a lot).  The garden will be all annuals, grown directly from seed. 

I'm adding dahlias to the cutting garden this year as well as some David Austin garden roses.  I'm thrilled to have dahlia tubers from Floret and my friend Ali of Hidden Hive Flowers in Illinois.  Planting time is coming up, as the threat of frost is usually around Mother's Day (I'm in USDA hardiness zone 6b/7a - the line literally goes through our property - talk about micro climate).  Curious about your hardiness zone, you can find it here.

Expanding the garden is new territory for me.  All of sudden I'm spending a lot of time thinking about irrigation, managing pests (insects, groundhogs, ticks) and weed suppression.  I'm a bit nervous, hoping I haven't overextended myself but the motto at Beaumont House tends to be "How hard can it be?".  I promise regular updates on the progress of the garden.  This is just the beginning of something good, I can feel it. 



These tete-a-tete daffodils are from the Beaumont House garden in a thrift store silver pitcher.  The work table is circa 1880 from a pewter manufacturing studio in central Pennsylvania.  Photographed on Fuji 400 film at Hip 'N Humble Interiors.

Photography by: Norman Photo + Paper