High above Darlington
Later that morning, Rich and Junior arrived to finish repairing the winter damage to our gravel drives. Although gravel drives are beautiful to look at and delightful to drive on (the crunch of a well-tended gravel drive under tires is a very satisfying sound indeed), they require a considerable amount of maintenance, at least here in the American northeast. A yearly ritual once the snows have subsided is to return the gravel that has been deposited on the surrounding lawns during plowing back on to the drive and then rake out the surface to reestablish a pleasing uniformity of appearance.
Rich is returning the gravel to the drive while Junior redistributes it
(note tasteful snow markers in first photo)
Rich raking out the drive
A job well done. The same view, before and after
(again, note tasteful snow markers)
Another spring ritual at Darlington is pruning the Hydrangea paniculata 'Kyushu' of last season's canes. We leave the growth in place for winter interest, but it is necessary to prune back quite hard before the shrubs begin to push out new buds. When pruned, they look almost Japanese in their severity. Boy is the master pruner at Darlington--I have been forbidden from engaging in any pruning due to my less than perfect attempts at it in the past. Boy spent the better part of both Saturday and Sunday mornings pruning the shrubs. I love the way they look shorn of their canes, ready for a new season of growth.
Boy beginning the pruning of our Hydrangea -- the "before" shot
Two down, and nine to go
A pile of canes from one of the shrubs
The fully pruned Hydrangea -- the "after" shot
Rest assured, these Hydrangea are hearty growers and will send out an abundance of growth. By mid summer they will be enormous, luxuriant beauties, and covered with fragrant, frothy white flowers well into autumn.
All photos by Reggie Darling
Oh the crunch of a gravel driveway. So many memories. On the Cape, in Mendham, New Jersey, but never here in California. Sadly. Maybe it's our clay ground. Maybe it's just a sign of the family fortune fading:).ReplyDelete
My, what tasteful snow markers!ReplyDelete
Busy at Darlington, yes the gravel is a mess here too. I can not wait to see these 9 hydrangea in full sail this summer.pgtReplyDelete
Those hydrangeas are huge. They must be amazing when they bloom.ReplyDelete
My folks have a gravel driveway - I adore it - and luckily they have a Rich and a Junior to tend it for them. I would love to have one (or crushed shell) but our driveway slopes too much and we only have a cranky husband.ReplyDelete
Reggie - ask Boy if he wold mind sharing his pruning philosophy? I'm never sure how much to take off.ReplyDelete
He could email me - much appreciated.
Ah yes. The annual raking out of the driveway. My 3' grading rake sits, waiting...Still brown season here in eastern Maine, and this year, have to wait for the DEP to finish THEIR cleanup, and for the temporary oil tank and concrete highway barricades in the middle of the driveway to be removed (yup, there's a story there, I feel a post coming on) before the gravel can leave the lawn and go back to the blocked drive. My exterior life is particularly un-Martha this springReplyDelete
Balloons overhead are always such a treat. Gravel drives are also, as long as they belong to someone else.ReplyDelete
Did you know that gravel driveways deter burglars? Just an extra bonus! We never turn our alarm on. The gravel sets our two corgi mix rescues sounding like two rottweilers! Barking that would scare off a hard-core criminal with guns.ReplyDelete
Gravel is not only beautiful; we love the sound of the crunch; even our insurance company gave us a discount for a gravel driveway!
PS to Patsy....if you run a row of natural stones.....every ten or so feet (not set in concrete...just laid down in a row....stones around 4" round or so....in a line across the driveway on the sloped part. Solved!
I can send you pics! So easy! solves all gravel travel problems.....same you can do on the sides.........want pics? let me know!
Honestly; the five balloon rides I have been on......(Napa Valley, the Serengeti Plain in Africa, Rancho Santa Fe, California......) have been true "peak experiences" in my life! I do not understand objections to the noise. They do not pollute one ounce....they are the "safest form of air travel" and they are completely thrilling in every way!!!