The driveway is officially finished. When Matt asked whether it had turned out the way we anticipated, both Mark and I told him it was so much more dramatic and beautiful than we had imagined. Here are some photos from the last bits of construction. I'm planning one last post to show some of the details because the way the pavers and boulders all fit together to create a seamless whole is striking.
You can see that there is just the last bit of driveway to be compacted and fitted with pavers. But they ran out of bricks, so Matt picked up another palette in his truck. That meant that they had to figure out a way to get them out of the truck and at the spot they needed them. So the guys came up with this "slide" process.
Down to the last row of pavers which all need to be cut and fitted at the curb.
Mark sets the last full size paver in the driveway at 12:48 p.m. on Wednesday, July 30.
Next the long sides of the driveway were finished. Here Matt is cutting a long curve with the diamond saw.
Leftover brick bits from all the cuts that Matt made fitting bricks up to rocks and along the edges of both sides.
This side has a straight edge except where it curves toward the street. You can see the edging put in along the side with big spikes to keep everything in place.
Among the last tasks was setting two stones in the quirky space next to the big rock adjacent to the house.
It involved more cutting and fitting than Matt had hoped.
These photos make it look like he could just push it in place with one hand but this was a very heavy stone and took a lot of effort to move.
Getting it perfectly positioned.
The last step was to brush sand into the spaces between the pavers and then compact it. This took an entire day.
I helped with this just enough to know that it was more tiring and difficult than it looks.
We had a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the official end of the project at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4th.
Matt and Mark survey their work. If you look at the pavers you can just see that the very last step in this project was to hose down the driveway to make sure the water ran downhill properly and also to be sure that the sand was correctly compacted and did not wash out. It passed both tests with no problems.
One last post to come: The Details.
If you want to see this how this complex driveway project unfolded from start to finish CLICK HERE. Remember that the most recent post is always at the top. If you want to start from the beginning and follow along in the correct chronological order, you must scroll down to the "last" post in this entire group — which is actually the first segment I put on line. It is well worth looking at these pictures so you understand the stages of a job like this and also see the care with which Matt Wieneke does his work.
These shots are from last week as pavers were being laid and the complex job of fitting all the pieces together was happening every day. Here Matt is cutting the pavers into the odd size pieces needed to fill all the corners of the herringbone pattern.
Tools of the trade. Note the pencil marks where the pavers need to be cut.
Fitting the cut pavers around the front stoop.
Matt checking his work.
Every day there is another section of this job completed that leaves me filled with admiration for the hard work and craftsmanship Matt puts into his work.
Figuring out the necessary cuts to make the pavers fit around the irregular stone step and all the boulders lining the driveway.
Mark did the grunt work of bringing the pavers to the area where Matt was working. Each carrier holds 40 pounds of bricks.
The board lets you walk over the area that has been compacted and smoothed.
Mark put the pavers into groups that he presorted so Matt would have the full array of colors within reach. The dark cloth is the last layer that goes down before the bricks are placed.
Mark took the pavers off the big delivery palettes and set them on their sides where the colors are more obvious. It's important to scatter the dark and light tones evenly throughout the drive.
I walk out to see how far they got and how it all looks. By the end of the day Monday (7/27) they were getting down to the last section or two to be laid. Then there will be a lot of cutting to finish the job around all those boulders. I expect it is going to be a rather dusty week!
To follow the progress on this job, click on Driveway Project in the categories list.
For Foliage Follow-Up on May 16, I concentrated on individual plants with attractive foliage. But in terms of overall garden design it's all about plant combinations: Groupings of plants that contrast — or share —patterns, shapes, textures and color. These are a few of my current favorites.
Two early spring ground covers duke it out at the foot of a Honey Locust tree: Galium ordoratum (Sweet Woodruff) and Polygonatum humile (Dwarf Solomon's Seal).
Trillium sessile with Geranium phaeum 'Springtime'.
Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace' with Trillium sessile
Arum italicum 'Ghost' with Athyrium niponicum var. pictum
A threesome: More Japanese Painted Fern (as above) with Hosta 'Krossa Regal' and Carex siderostat 'Banana Boat'
Can you tell I love Painted Ferns? Here combined with Trillium sessile, Arum italicum, and the glorious Hosta 'Spritzer'
A river of Painted Ferns flow toward an ocean of Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo' under a Cercidiphyllum japonica 'Pendula' (Weeping Katsura tree). Off to the right are a Boxwood ball and Epimedium rubrum.
Rhus typhina 'Tiger Eyes' with Caulophyllum thalictroides (Blue Cohosh) which has tiny yellow flowers.
Though I am enjoying the abundance of spring blooms in the garden, my heart belongs to foliage. So I always look forward to this monthly meme hosted by Pam Penick at Digging.
This Thalictrum dioicum (early meadow rue, below) arrived from my neighbor's garden. I let it seed everywhere because the lacy foliage is a welcome addition on its own or in combination with other plants.
I grow dozens of ferns but none is more lovely than Adiantum pedatum (Maidenhair fern).
Tricyrtis hirta 'Golden Gleam' with Lilium martagon behind
Tricyrtis hirta 'Variegata'
The elegant Kirengeshoma koreana
Epimedium grandiflorum 'Dark Beauty' gets a second flush of dark leaves after flowering.
C. 'Beatlemania' as a groundcover in the corner of a stone wall in my front garden. Absolutely love this little charmer. Double click on any picture to enlarge it so you can see the details.
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Last week Jeff Epping, director of Horticulture at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, and Roy Diblik of Northwind Perennial Farm (Northwind not only has a FB page, they are on Pinterest with 20 boards of inspiration) sang the praises of Carex at the monthly meeting of the Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society. I'm here to add my own as I am currently growing just over a dozen kinds of Carex. They are my go-to plant for easy care ground covers, particularly in dry shade.
The ones that have worked well for me as ground covers are:
C. rosea: Very fine textured and delicate looking but it's been growing under a Silver Maple tree for ten years with no problems.
C. plantaginea: Pleated leaves give this one its name of seersucker sedge. Thick clumps suppress weeds. Delicately self-seeds with tiny plants that can easily be put where you want them.
C. rosea behind the Hosta and C. plantaginea in the foreground; all growing under a Silver maple tree.
C. siderosticha variegata: Been growing this since 1997 on a fairly sunny clay bank. I rake out the dead bits in the spring and that's all the work it needs.
C. caryophylla 'Beatlemania/Mophead': Another one with fine leaves but these are edged in gold. Lovely if you can find a raised location in order to enjoy its sweet charm.
Carex can also be used as accent plants.
C. siderosta 'Banana Boat' and 'Lemon Zest' are so colorful they will claim all the attention if you try to use them as a wide swath. 'Lemon zest' can take more sun than 'Banana Boat' in my experience.
C. 'Lemon Zest' as a ground cover (above with Epimedium rubrum) in my garden and where I've been slowly trying to get it to fill in and brighten this shady spot.
C. elata 'Bowles Golden' can get up to 18" wide and 24" tall, making a dramatic focal point, but its leaves are narrow and arching so it never overwhelms its neighbors, visually or actually.
C. platyphylla has slightly pleated long leaves that are a glaucous blue. I've always used this as a single accent but last fall planted a group as a ground cover under a 'Tiger Eyes' Sumac. We'll see what happends when the snow melts.
C. greyii is the one everyone always asks me about because the seedheads look like little Sputnik space ships. A real standout in the winter garden.
The spacey seed heads of C. greyii in summer and winter (above).
Troublesome Carexes? I've had problems with C. flacca/glauca "running" in my garden. I wanted it to stay in a woodland spot but it wanted to fill up the paths and keep going. Everyone seems to like this one but I pulled mine all out.
C. muskingumensis likes moisture and loves the bog where I planted it. The problem is that you can't use a shovel or any sharp tool to dig out a plant that is taking over when you have an artificial pond with a rubber liner. So trying to keep this under control is always an issue for me.
The pleated leaves of C. siderosticha variegata (top photo) are similar to C. plantginea with the addition of the striping. The clump in the middle photo is growing in good soil in full sun. In the third picture, it's been growing on this packed down clay soil for years with few problems. C. muskingumensis is growing directly behind it, with water Iris in the rear.
C. sylvatica or European wood sedge makes a large clump about 18' high and similar width. I use this one as an accent plant. Its seed heads love the gravel path it grows next to, so I often pull them out as they're coming into bloom rather than pull seedlings out of the path.
Last Sunday Mark and I went to the opening celebration of the spectacular new exhibit at the Ruth Davis Design Gallery in Nancy Nicholas Hall at SOHE. I'm already planning my next visit to "Woven Gardens of Hope" because this is a show you will want to see more than once. It is so visually rich that it's almost impossible to absorb it all in one trip.
The opening events last Sunday included an inspiring talk by Connie Duckworth (below), the founder of Arzu Studio Hope whose company works with women in Afghanistan to produce high end carpets for sale around the world. Many Arzu carpets are in the exhibit. So many people turned out for her presentation they had to bring more chairs into a very large lecture room that had already been set up for a big crowd!
Many of the carpets on display came from the Minasian brothers who have a store in Evanston and are also collectors. The opening included traditional music with food by Kabul Restaurant. It was a vibrant celebration with a huge crowd filling the gallery and every level of "The Link," the atrium surrounding it. The Miniasian Rug Company and Sergenian's Floor Covering funded the opening.
Though you may have missed this special opening, there are other events on the schedule (see link below). But it's the rugs that are the real draw. The exhibit includes new and antique carpets of every size and style on the walls, the floor and hanging from the ceiling. There are rugs running like waterfalls down the wall and puddling in ripples on the floor.
These rugs have to be seen to be believed: the scale of many of the carpets is mind-boggling and the workmanship is supberb. And unlike many fiber exhibits, we are allowed to touch the carpets and even to walk on them! Items from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection that are on display, however, can only be enjoyed visually.
The gallery is filled with an explosion of color, pattern and texture. Walking through it is like rambling through a souk or bazaar, with a surprise around every turn.
There is enough information to provide context for what you're looking at but not so much as to be either annoying or overwhelming.
In addition to the wealth of carpets, there are also many articles of clothing ranging from robes to hats to shawls like this semi-sheer example covered with embroidery.
All of us got up close and personal in order to fully appreciate the rich detail on so many garments.
Many of the articles of clothing are not only covered with embroidery but they glitter with mirrors and beading, like the items hanging behind Liese Pfeifer, Academic Curator for Ruth Davis Design Gallery at School of Human Ecology, UW Madison.
One of the more impressive groups of textiles are these tent bands draped overhead and trailing down to the floor like giant ribbons.
Woven Gardens of Hope: Afghan Women's Carpets runs through March 1. You can find information about gallery days and hours here.
Here are details on all the events related to the Woven Gardens of Hope exhibit.