Sunday, February 17, 2019

Architecture and Landscape Patrick Hauck - Master Gardener Class Presentation

Architecture and Landscape
Patrick Hauck - Master Gardener Class Presentation

I’m Patrick Hauck, and like all gardeners, I like to dig in and get my hands dirty.  I’ve spent nearly forty years working in the world of historic preservation, promoting the revitalization of historic buildings and landscapes, so I’m really in my zone when these two passions intersect.

This is a brief overview about our home and garden on Rural Lane in West Mt. Airy, an ongoing effort for the last 14 plus years.  The house is one of four identical Victorian cottages built in the late 1880s along the Chestnut Hill West rail line.

This is an image of the Allen Lane station showing the four newly built houses in the distance on the far left. 

Here is another image of the rear of the houses, circa 1920, as seen from a neighboring farm.  Our house is the second from the right on the ridge.

Here is the front of the property when we purchased it in 2004. As you can see the house is more than a little tired and the landscape features one dying tree and one planted way too close to house. A project after my own heart.

Fast forward to a few years ago and you can see what a nearly a decade of sweat equity, a good paint job and the introduction of a mix of plant materials including trees, perennials and annuals has done to breathe life into the situation.

Here’s another view of the front of the property at the start of the project, including a peek down to the back yard, showing a little more of the side of the house and the lack of plant materials.

And here we see that same view with the now more established perennial bed coming unto its own, helping to anchor the architecture to the land through the introduction of color and texture. 

And you thought the front was tired, check out the back.  It was time to roll up my sleeves (and get out the checkbook) in order to restore this crumbling porch and establish a new garden.

Sleuthing out the clues as to what the original porch looked like and creating a really close match was a long process, but the results still blow me away. In this image the establishment of the perennial garden beds at the base of the porch area is beginning.

Here is a view of the same perennial bed in the spring a few years later when it has become more established and serves as a stronger visual anchor to the house.

This is the rear viewshed in the backyard before any work began. Even in its ragged condition, it offered a gentle slope with southern exposure--a blank slate and a gardener’s dream.

Here is the same view in early summer a few years back with established perennial beds. Although the entire property is less than a quarter acre, the borrowed view of the woods of the Cresheim Valley provides the illusion of a much larger space.

Looking toward the lower part of the garden is another great borrowed view – this time of the neighbors’ beautiful copper beech tree.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This little metal 1920’s garage was rough, but full of potential and function.

Here is it, all buttoned up and painted. It serves as both a storage shed and garden folly and is anchored into the landscape with bushes, perennials, flower boxes and a raised bed.

Porch/Patio/Dining Room:

I love to create rooms in a garden--separate areas each offering a different feel, such as the back porch area pictured here The views from that room include the amazing mimosa tree in July and surrounding plantings.  It is a great gathering place.

Water Garden:
Tucked away in the side yard is another room- the water garden - featuring a koi pond on one side, and on the other side, my favorite luxury, an outdoor shower.

 Lower Garden/Outdoor Library: The lower garden holds what I call the library. It is wonder shady retreat for reading on a hot summer day. A gated opening provides a view of the woods behind the house, and the room provides a vantage point to see the entire garden and rear of the house.

Putting this overview together, I mused on what gardening has taught me both through failure and success. No matter how much experience we have under our belts, we are always learning. And our gardens reward us for our hard work with a bounty of beauty and color. 

I’m primarily pollinator gardener and keep expanding each year, doing the botanical math of addition, division multiplication and subtraction of plants. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it is to just keep plugging away. If you build it, they will come.

Thanks for letting me share this brief overview of my project with you, and happy gardening!