We have started a boxwood hedge around our herb garden, and hemlock hedge around the tulsi garden. Hedges take a long time to form so we wanted to get them started as soon as possible. The boxwood hedge will grow to about 4 feet tall and the hemlock trees we will trim to about 8 feet. Things seem to be progressing quickly here now.
Lining the driveway with nut tree saplings. Almonds, walnuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, butternuts, and hickory nuts to fill in space between the existing pecans and black walnuts. When these trees are producing, we can offer the nuts in puja ceremonies.
We have selected 108 plants with healing properties for our herb garden. We intend to photograph the plants and post information about their uses on the website. This garden is intended more as a display garden, but we will use certain herbs planted in the garden in the production of herbal teas. Herbs we need larger quantities of will be planted in rows separately in our vegetable garden. We have selected several types of plants for this space. 1) Western medicinal herbs 2) Indian Ayurvedic herbs 3) Native Virginian herbs 4) herbs popular in colonial times. We had thoughts of planting separate beds for different types of herbs but have settled on organizing herbs by flower color instead. Many tropical Ayurvedic herbs can only be grown here as annuals and so that bed would have become completely empty in the winter season. Grouping the herbs according to color allows us to group annuals, herbaceous perennials, and evergreen herbs together so that there is often something blooming and always something growing in each bed. The diagram below shows the layout. There are 7 beds in total. Two containing pink flowering herbs, one for white flowers, one for red, one for blue and one for purple. The photo may be enlarged by clicking to see in greater detail.
Each of the seven beds will be surrounded by a hedge of herbs. The entire garden will be surrounded by a hedge of boxwoods. Special Ayurvedic herbs will include ashwagandha and bala which can both be grown as annuals and which both have roots which strengthen all tissues in the body. Native herbs include cancer weed (lyre-leaf sage) and cranesbill geranium both of which we dug up from the lawn and have diuretic properties. European herbs include sage and rosemary which are both good for the mind, in the mint family and also used in cooking. Special colonial period herbs include Clary Sage and Rose campion, both of which have been used to treat bites from scorpions and spiders. With 108 varieties of herb and several hundred individual plants, this garden is a massive undertaking to plan and plant. We are starting most of our herbs from seed as seeds are very cheap and pants are very expensive. Seeking sources for the many rare herbs has been a challenge, but we have secured sources for most.
Business carried us to the West End yesterday, where we took a break to visit the Tuckahoe plantation. The grounds are open to visitors for a nominal cost. The old house and many historic out buildings are well maintained. The grounds include many formal and informal gardens landscaped with plants that would have been grown in the 18th century. Our efforts to restore our old colonial house keep leading us to beautiful and interesting places. It is always insightful and inspiring for us in our work now to visit historic sites like this.
Many thanks to the nice guys at Wow Antiques in Richmond for the new chandelier for our puja room. The glass chandelier which came with the house, below left, was not fitting for the house's Colonial Georgian style. Wanting to help us in our efforts to restore the house, the guys from Wow traded us this very special period appropriate, silver chandelier, below right. They practically gave us this beautiful fixture from their Richmond store where they were asking $1750 for it. The chandelier is perhaps a little fancy for a farm house like this, but perfect for our prayer room, since we are decorating in the height of formal colonial style. My Guru always said that the puja room should be the most beautiful and ornate room in a house. By grace, our restoration project is moving along beautifully.
We have found active termites on the property. We had been waiting to get started with a professional termite treatment until we had completed certain renovations. Now we need to do something immediately. Please donate.
As we have set out to restore the historic buildings on the new property, many questions have arisen about the older building techniques used in the past. Historical buildings present many unique construction challenges and special building materials and techniques are required to repair damage to historic buildings. Whenever design or building questions have arisen, we have visited Williamsburg and asked questions to the historic interpreters there. For answers about building materials and techniques, and for inspiration for finishing touches, decorating, and landscaping, they have provided a wealth of knowledge. Many thanks to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and their efforts to spread information about historic living. Without their efforts, our work here would not have been possible. Here are some photos taken during our most recent trip to study historic trim and moldings.
The house where we are all living as we complete renovations to the main house is the old detached kitchen. In addition to the severe termite damage to the building, years of water damage have compromised the foundation. The brick foundation wall which lines the underground root cellar is bowing inward and will collapse in time if this is not repaired. We have already installed gutters to help prevent ongoing water damage, but the foundation wall must also be repaired. Though we are doing much of the work here ourselves, this is a case where is it best to hire professional brick masons. We have selected a a brick mason who specializes in historical renovation, to help preserve this historic building. Our goal is to raise $6,000 by June, 2016 to repair and re-point the foundation. Please help us preserve this historic structure. Please donate today.
As we are renovating the buildings on the new property, we are conducting daily recitation of the Shakambhari Devi Gayatri Mantra. We are praying for the Goddesses blessings to help us get the puja room ready to do a daily puja. Though we cannot invite the public to attend pujas until we get the needed approvals of the county and community, we intend to broadcast our daily puja live online so that people can participate distantly. Here is an audio clip from our daily chanting on 5-3-16. Please chant with us for successful completion of our puja room.
We have recently finished the hardscaping for the first of several formal gardens planed for the property. Formal gardens will help beauty the property for visitors and provide a place to grow and teach about herbs. We plan to plant 108 healing herbs in the garden and to create hedges around and inside the garden. We have planted many herbs seeds and will post updates as to our progress. Please donate to help us buy plants for hedges.