Secret Garden Overhaul Part II

Last summer I took on the challenge of the overgrown garden. Check out my Secret Garden Part I post if you missed the before/after. By the time I got to the back portion of the garden it was August. It was hot and humid, and I was over landscaping and yard work. As much as I was dreading it, I could not leave it alone. The overgrown mess was such an eyesore, and I suspected it was the cause of my cat problem. The pictures are from mid March. It was so overgrown in the summer that it was hard to see the space. So imagine this, but ten times worse in August. Ugh!








I decided to rip out the overgrowth, tidy up the area, and focus on planting shrubs the following year. Just removing the ground covering made a huge difference.



Next, I took on the task of digging out rocks and the rest of the bricks. Rocks. There were so many rocks in the garden! Oh, and let’s not forget the occasional seashell of course.


I dumped the rocks in my alley and posted a free notification online for my neighbors. Twenty minutes later, the rocks were gone. I did this FOUR times! Apparently, rocks are a hot commodity and I received several e-mails requesting more rocks. I’m happy they were put to good use, and more importantly that I didn’t have to haul them away!


I laid down weed barrier fabric, and mulched the flowerbeds. I planted hostas in-between the three camellia bushes. I also planted ferns I had found growing among the ground covering at the end of the flowerbed.



I put weed barrier fabric across the middle of the space and dumped over a ton of pebbles on top. This will help keep the ground covering from growing back. Yay, more rocks!






A fence was installed for more privacy, and the wrought iron entrance gate removed. I used the entrance gate for decor since it matched the rest of the fencing scattered throughout the garden.

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Now that the majority of the work is complete, this spring I plan to rip out the Japanese laurels and plant hydrangeas all the way across the back. I’ve also purchased some astilbe bulbs to plant in the empty spaces and between the trees.

I’m happy to report all of my fertilizing and pruning last year paid off. My neglected camellias have more buds then ever! I can’t wait to see how they look come spring!


Gunther Brewing Company Crate

Cleaning out the basement I found two wooden crates. I sold one, and kept the Gunther crate to restore. The George Gunther, Jr. Brewing Company was founded by George Gunther Sr. in 1900. It was the second largest brewing company in Baltimore.


A wire brush was used to scrape off the paint, and the bottom nailed together and reinforced. Linseed oil was rubbed over the entire crate to preserve the wood and enhance the Gunther logo print.



I repurposed my own little piece of Baltimore history, and use it to store my Architectural Digest magazines.

Francois Carre Sunburst Garden Chair Restoration

The house was full of amazing antique treasures, many of which were falling apart. It wasn’t discouraging, but inspiring. I didn’t see trash, I saw potential and projects!

My favorite find is the Francois Carre Sunburst Garden Chair, which I mentioned in my Picking for Smalls Part I post. I discovered this style chair was designed and manufactured by Francois Carre for parks in France in the 1860’s. In 1866, he filed a U.S. patent and they began manufacturing the garden sets and chairs in the United States. They became very popular in the 1920’s and continued to be manufactured through the 1940’s.



After my research, I noticed Sunburst garden sets and chairs on several historic house tours. Unlike Alfred duPont’s beautiful set, my chair was falling apart. Several seams on the seat were rusted and threatening to break. It also needed a fresh coat of paint.


A family friend welded and fixed the rusted seams on the seat. Next, it was sanded and painted black to match the rest of my outdoor décor.



I would like to have a few more Sunburst pieces to go with my chair, but haven’t had much luck finding any in my price range. Sets and chairs tend to sell for $1,000 – $3,000. I did spy two chairs on a porch in East Baltimore a few weeks ago. They were rough, but salvageable. I stood on the sidewalk for a few minutes thinking about knocking on the door and asking if they would consider selling them. I decided that a total stranger knocking on your door offering to buy your stuff would probably be unwanted and rude. I wrote down the address though…just in case.

Kitchen Backsplash

It’s been a while since my last post. I usually try to blog once or twice a month, but life has been hectic with the holidays, a new job, and starting grad school. I let my blogging fall by the wayside. Work on the house has been ongoing…LOL it never ends…so I have plenty of projects and updates to share with you!

The kitchen was renovated when I purchased the house. If you forgot what that horror show used to look like, check out my kitchen before/after post. At this point, I had sold my other house and had been couch surfing with relatives for three weeks. Tired of living out of a suitcase, my ultimate goal was to get the place livable so I could move in. Spending time and money installing a kitchen backsplash seems trivial when you need running water and a stove.


It was only recently that I had the spare time and money to install the kitchen backsplash. I liked the clean and simple look of the white walls, so I decided to install white subway tile with white grout.


It isn’t a huge difference, but it does give the kitchen a finished and polished look. Plus, I no longer cringe every time something splashes on the walls.



Thank you to all my followers who sent messages/posted sending well wishes and asking for updates! More posts and updates coming soon!