Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Pergola, a MAN and a lady with a spade

         When it comes to indulging my garden whims, the Lord of the Manor is my hero. When our old trellis crumbled and  toppled under the weight of this outrageous wisteria, said wisteria lay on the ground for months, spreading it's tentacles further and further throughout the side yard. I hesitated asking my dear James to "fix it", as he had just spent weeks on a bathroom renovation. But one day, out of the blue, he stated it was time to "get that blasted thing (aforementioned wisteria)  off the ground!" and he sketched out his own design for a wonderful new pergola. The result couldn't have been better if  a pro had come up with the plan. I just love that man!

 First, he sunk 8ft poles, 8/10"diameter into the ground, 6 of them, spanning 21 feet across. May I emphasize that James is not a professional carpenter, by any means, just a determined and clever DIYer.

  After the  poles were "buried" James used  4 more 8 to 10" diameter poles as cross beams going head-on. These were notched with the chain saw to lay flat upon the vertical poles. Smaller poles were then used to stabilize and connect the entire structure.

 It took quite a bit of adjusting to level this roof.. I had my doubts. It looked a bit higgeldy- piggeldy to me. But I just held onto the securing ropes according to his direction.


  He assured me that there was a method to this madness....

And he was right.. the peaked roof turned out perfectly. 
This is such an amazingly sturdy structure, gorillas could dance on it!
 It will be standing for many  a long year.
What a wonderful man!

Love you Honey!!

  Cost of this project: Approx. $350 to $400.
 Time to complete. Approx. 4-5 days

Now it was my turn..
 First I pruned the wisteria down by at least 2/3rds and attached the remaining branches and  wisps to the pergola. Beneath the peaked roof I continued a brick walkway using old brick, flat found stones and bits and pieces of this and that. Because our house is 120 yrs old, we try to create a compatible aged look in the landscaping, I call it Hopalonghollowscaping. I prefer imperfection to a "professional" landscape look.
  The walkway leads to a small patio in the back "yard".

I planted Phlox, Delphiniums, larkspur, veronica, penstemon ,and day-lilies along the walk. I will plant baby tears thyme in between the stones and bricks.
 Beneath the left side of structure is a trouble area which fills with water every rain and flows into the creek in the front yard. We are turning it into a dry creek, ( a project for another day)
 I am scouring the rose catalogs to find the most fragrant and promiscuous climbing roses for this structure. Ladies, what roses do you recommend? Rainy and Penny, you would know!

On the right side is a lovely shady area neath the pergola. I planted mosses  and shade plants at the base of each post and lay pine needles on the ground for a soft cushion.


Marjorie Fish, the English Cottage garden writer, said that a garden should be  "
A sequence of continual delights!"
  Create little interesting vignettes, here and there in your  garden area, surprise the viewer.

 Beneath the Pergola, I planted a moss garden,
 and I planted some chairs...
on which  to sit...
 and contemplate on how fortunate I am to have such a lovely place...
 to sit and contemplate.
 This is so peaceful here,  in the cool morning shade, but we need some cushions.

On the "back side" of the pergola is an old cracked concrete patio.
This patio was a catch all for 3 dead lawnmowers and pallets and trash cans, NO MORE!!!
We hauled off the debris and then I went crazy potting plants. It's amazing how one project just leads to another, and then another.
 I used to loathe this "patio" and longed for the day when I could pull it out and replace it with cobblestone or brick. But, you know, it has sorta grown on me.


   Someone built this patio in 1968 and signed it with pride.

 It is close to being an antique, well okay, maybe more of a "collectable".  I am really glad that I never removed it. Now, I like it's  funky old cracks and crevices (which I am filling  with soil and  ground-covers)

 I like it's uneven surface and rusticity. It is actually charming.
 If you have to work with something that is less than perfect, make it work!  You can do wonders with a bit of imagination, a few plants and props.

SEE? Anything can be fixed
 Funny old patio.

I LIKE you now!
  So there is the new pergola, and a new garden area and a new use for an OLD, cracked and decrepit patio.
  I hope you have a clever and handy person in your life, who isn't afraid of hard work and will build you a wonderful trellis, arbor, pergola or any old thing you want. Maybe you even have the skills to do it yourself, use your imagination!.

This lovely lady has been visiting this side yard every day this week. I hope she hasn't got designs on all those potted succulents!

And  Remember our 3 little orphans? Look at them now!
 Halfway grown up!
They are a wild trio.

  Just one more thing, ( for you, Mary)
I finished this illustration last week.
   Have a wonderful week, and do something nice for yourself in the garden.


  1. What a wonderful pergola and your husband looks like a great guy too. I love new projects and I too have a wonderful husband who is putting up wainscotting and painting our livingroom and parlor. I just love that he does those things. Your garden looks lovely and I love your brick path. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Blessings and hugs,


  2. Your pergola is so welcoming and beautiful. Your husband is very talented. I love a handy man. Wonderful illustration, oh talented lady. Your amaze me.

  3. That is quite a pergola and one of these days you'll have a colorful roof made from wisteria. I really love that path you created, it looks as though it's been there forever.

  4. I am so glad to finally be able to read this post, it was pure joy.

    James built a wonderful pergola, it will last you years. It's going to look fabulous with the wisteria and whichever rose you buy growing up and over it too. (You'll have to check roses in your area for the right one for you, as I don't really have a clue.)

    I love your path and I'm so glad you didn't get rid of your patio. How cool that it is signed by the maker.

    I, too, am married to a handy guy and I enjoy being his helper.

    Your artwork is so lovely and detailed as always.

    You are such an inspiration. Thank you and James both for sharing your lovely country life.


  5. Jeri,

    Your pergola is lovely!

    I'll put some "money" seeds in the mail to you tomorrow.

  6. Your garden is looking lovely Jeri - I'm quite jealous of the pergola !
    My rose suggestion is 'Paul's Himalayan Musk' - it is very vigorous and had a beautiful fragrance ^_^

  7. Thanks for the seeds Sharon! I will check out that rose Carolyn, thank you.

  8. that is a wonderful handy man indeed! your trellis looks gorgeous and strong and your work looks inviting and peaceful indeed.

    your book illustration is so charming. I guess it will be folded in half becoming two pages? Or am I looking at one page?

    wonderful week to you!

  9. What a beautiful pergola and hubby. I can't say the same for that concrete face laying in the dirt. Creepy!
    the book looks awesome!

  10. Oh, Jeri dear, what joy that colorful illustration evokes....the journey is nearing home....If only DMC could
    capture those hues...but I am trying..
    Sir James has done himself proud and
    you, Milady, have created another
    beckoning corner in your blessed world
    a veritable fairyland....We are so
    grateful for your sharing....


    First of all, those men of ours....HALLELUJAH!!!!!! I LOVE THEM. From my dear old dad to my fantastic husband to the little boys in my class that would help FIX my messes on the computer (teehee...it's true) MEN come to the rescue with their tool kits. My next post (I am thinking) will be on MY GUY who is also plotting and planning something for ME.

    LOVE it all. Your orphans are nice and plump, your DEER friend is sweet and life looks like it is flourishing chez toi. Such a pleasure ALWAYS to come here and sit for a while and hear the honks of the geese gang....how is that HAMISH, anyway?

    LOVE! Anita

  12. I love that you made something old into something new and beautiful! The cracks and crevices add to the charm, you used your artist's eye to perfect AND of course your husband's hard work to make that beautiful pergola! It's a lot of hard work to make paradise! We live on the side of a mountain and I swear one of my legs is getting shorter from all the yard work...

  13. Isn't that pink parrot fascinating and that mink green moth FAB? I am so glad to have friends like you that enjoy the small wonders that maybe too many people miss or will never ever see. Life is GOOD when we know that there is a BIGGER world out there in the microsphere as well as the overall picture. And I will collect Hamish's feathers and HONKS for as long as I live...have a terrific day my sweet Jeri! Anita

  14. Hi Jeri
    No, not buying this farm but building a house in the country on 2 acres so we need a small tractor during the building and landscaping time. There is a lot of grass to cut,too. Yep, I'm going to the country soon and couldn't be happier about it.

  15. Hi Jeri. Girl I am loving your pergola. What a good plan and some sweet construction of it. I like your rustic walkway too. Now I know why you were sweating and building on the heat. LOL! I person does have to use tour imagination to hide some things. I have so much to hide around here. LOL! Your patio looks great and who would know.

  16. Wonderful garden ! It is fantastic to be skillful and creative and to make so beautiful things to embellish the garden. Your animals are very cute! I like your magnificent illustrations. Bravo Jeri, you are formidable!



  17. Jeri
    I am so sorry I am late in getting here... WOW! What a man you have.. I cannot believe this.. It is a piece of ART! He really does beautiful work.

    Ok my vote would be for a climbing rose named 'Pierre de Ronsard' also know as Rose Eden. A beautiful pale pink rose and yes, it has a beautiful scent. I believe it will grow in your zone, but you double check.. It is a David Austin rose... You did want a climber yes? I was so glued to the photos here I am sure I read it right..

    I love your ground work.. I am so glad you did not pull that up.. I love the old and cracked..
    You two make a great team..
    Your illustration is just amazing Jeri...
    Thank you so much for wandering over again...

  18. Oh wow! It's incredible! James truly is a craftsman and such a perfect partner for a fabulous artist. Everything is so lovely Jeri. You both have created a magical and peaceful place to live.

  19. Hi Jeri

    I think if that rose will grow in your zone you will love it... You are most welcome.

    Funny that you mentioned my parrot reminded you of the pink one on Anita's last post... Actually when I saw that beautiful pink parrot I was so INSPIRED I had to paint it... Only mine was purple... Then I wanted to create a needle felted parrot.

    I just love the pergola your husband built for you... James is a gem!
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend

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  21. It will be a perfect place to let runs clematis and roses.
    I love also the walkway made with bricks and stones. You and your husband turn everything so beautifuly!!!Bravissimo Jeri and nice summer to you

  22. What a wonderful pergola your husband has created, lots and lots of room now for that ever-winding wysteria vine.
    Your walkway is equally beautiful, it fits right in with Ochre Moon Manor house all the details, the moss between the bricks and rocks, the plantings and whimsy, just perfect !
    Enjoy your new pergola, I'm sure the critters at Hopalong Hollow surely will :)

  23. Bravo to you and your talented, wonderful husband, dear Jeri!
    Beautiful, inspirational, and idyllic...and what a great shot of your stunning peacock on the patio!! :))
    Your world brings me joy...
    - Irina

  24. Hi Jeri,
    Oh dear... Without power for five days? That cannot be good.. I am glad to hear it is on.. I hope nothing was damaged and no one hurt by the fall of that 40ft tree.. What a week you had.
    Thank you so much for coming over to meet the moussies and your kind words.
    I see you met up with Christie, how wonderful..
    Take care and I hope you have a good week.

  25. There is so much beauty in this post I don't know where to begin. What an amazing outdoor world you and your very talented husband have created.

  26. Again, so thrilled ti see all if this in person...and I fell in love with that nook under the pergola...those chairs! Oh, my...one day. That pergola....one day....
    Much love to you and your James (Tim enjoyed conversation and guided tour...many projects for the future, inspired by your prince)


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