Six years ago around this time we started mapping out the “rooms” of the formal gardens. We cut out the sod and recycled as much of the dirt as we could and turned the rest into sod rolls for our neighbors. We had 60 rolls of sod. Then I aerated the beds well, and in a few select spots dug the swales which I filled with old wood and dead branches. Then I covered everything over with dirt, compost, weed fabric and mulch. We had nothing to put in the beds. By sheer luck, a neighbor posted on social media they had some boxwoods they wanted to re-home. But we knew we needed something more. So Rick went about making cuttings of the Annabelle hydrangeas we found in the neighborhood. He stuck them right in the ground and let me use my systems to nourish them. This was our first hedgerow.

Cuttings of Annabelle Hydrangea and the donated boxwoods of Mezzacello. Jim Bruner | Mezzacello

It’s fun to think about those tiny boxwoods – all 36 of them! Rick put them to use to frame the formal garden rooms. They were all donated from a neighbor who had inherited them from the previous owners of their house – who happen to now live down the street from us. So we made three truckload deliveries and Rick planted every last one of them. It was hard work. They are so much bigger and more vigorous now. The systems for developing compost, the manure, the additives, and the water swales really make a big difference!

It’s funny to see Mezzacello this way. Today the flowers and hedgerows frame everything so well. And the 36 Hornbeams are all almost 4 meters tall now and a solid wall of green. 

I did almost all of the labor here. Rick helps, but it is my job to fertilize and plan systems. This one I cannot take credit for. Rick is the genius behind this plan. I thought he was being over generous in his proportions and scale. I was wrong. This garden has matured beautifully. I can only imagine what our neighbors must have thought of the “racetracks in the grass” that was our yard in 2015. Rick had a vision. And it is today one of my favorite places in the world.

Update

I wanted to post a photo of later in that same spring when Rick planted his 32 Hornbeam cuttings. Jim Bruner | Mezzacello
Those tiny cuttings five years later. I literally just took this photo. Jim Bruner | Mezzacello

 

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