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It's been a while since I’ve journaled last. I’ve been distracted to say the least.

I have not been idle in these past few weeks, on the contrary I've done a lot, working non-stop in the garden in all kinds of weather almost every day. Here in my little bubble, gardening has been a cathartic exercise. Constantly thinking about the Black Lives Matter movement, rampant racial inequality, the worldwide pandemic and the utter disgrace of our inept leadership.  

On top of all this (thanks to COVID) I have only been back to my place in NYC for a total of 48 hours in the past 4 months with no plans to return full-time any time soon. The longest time I’d ever spent up here was maybe 2 weeks in the past 20 years, I usually only came up on weekends and holidays. So trying to set up working life in the country has been a challenge.

I guess it seems like an idyllic place to have these problems, but I (like many) have not been able to work for 4 months and this a very scary thing. 

I’ve had a tough time centering myself and finding a place to actually work. Having had my own business for my entire career, I learned early on that I needed a studio space, separate from the distractions of home to work effectively. Which I’ve always had until now, so what to do?? 

I think I finally figured it out :)) As I write this on a beautiful summer morning with Maurice by my side, I am sitting here with a little vase of gardenias and a warm breeze gently blowing through my window (with a pretty view of the back garden gate) in my very own home office!

After much debate I turned the downstairs guest room into a cozy office space with a door that closes, it also gave me an excuse to go shopping for a new desk and cupboard, and decorate this little room with some of my favorite things, needless to say this makes me very happy!

As I prepare to enter new adventures in my working life (lots and lots of changes, soon to be revealed!), the sun is shining through the window and pulling me outside. If this is my new normal, I’ll try and make the best of it :)

Of my original list of spring/ summer chores (see my first journal entry), I’ve already done half with a few new additions. Here’s an update of what I’ve been up to in the garden.

James XOXO

The first thing I did right after quarantine was replace 8 hornbeams (some didn’t make it, there are 34 trees in total!) in the new hedge and move the opening closer to the house. I also trimmed the tops to a respectable 9 feet. Now all I need is a little patience until they fill in :)

Here is a view from the Cutting Garden towards the front lawn, soon the fence behind will be completely hidden.

By mid-may I had completely edged the Rose Garden in chunky granite blocks which now looks tidy and contained.

I also built a trellis like structure from fallen branches from spring cleanup. Here are the branches trimmed and set out by size to begin the building process.

This season, I experimented with training the rose canes horizontally to promote more blooms and it has worked out quite well!

Luckily I now have an outdoor dining room so I can have dinner with my closest friends and family in small groups and social distance in style :)

I finally worked on the flower border for the Flagstone Walk, here are the two newly dug beds. Each one is 50 feet long! This is a view from the south side looking towards the Rose Garden.

I was originally going to plant a border of bearded Iris on each side of but opted for a different species. I planted Iris versicolor (aka Northern blue flag), a rich violet-blue flower with purple veining.

They are native to my region and are sentimental to me as they were in the garden when I first moved here but since long gone. I ended up planting over 100 plants! Here they are waiting for their new home.

It has quite a dramatic effect and I think I will now call this the Iris Walk :))

I was obsessed with an ugly corner in the yard behind the barn. This is where I compost and keep the firewood. I really hate that it can be seen from the kitchen window and patio just outside. I had some leftover cedar fencing and decided to hide it with a fence and gate. It took a few days but I’m tickled pink as it’s the first fence and gate I’ve ever built! I have been affectionately calling this the Pig Pen, lol.

Another place that needed my attention was a shady patch of overgrown weeds under a canopy of pines and a very large, majestic Silver Maple towards the back of the garden.

Sometimes it’s a nice contrast to have a little wild and untamed spot in the garden. It won't take much to make it right- a little selective weeding, a few paths and a dash of wildflower seeds will do the trick! I just found the perfect garden bench for this spot, which is now so aptly named the Wilderness. 

It also doesn't hurt to have your very own little garden gremlin helping out, I think Maurice also likes his new normal :))

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