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Constance McAlpin: A Garden Tour

 

© Constance McAlpin

by Constance McAlpin and Stephie McCarthy

Nearly twenty years ago, Constance McAlpin began planting
flowers … and then, more flowers.

Now, her garden is a floral wonderland accented with
lightning rods, arches, and scultpures, surrounded by masses
of beautiful beds. Scroll down to see a virtual tour.

This is the rock marker you will see as you pull into the drive:

© Constance McAlpin

We'll start at the front entrance, #1, and continue clock-wise
around the farmhouse …

© Constance McAlpin

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#1 Entrance

Boxwoods line the north side of this walkway which is shaded
by an old Maple tree and a Weeping Cherry that the McAlpins
planted over 20 years ago.

© Constance McAlpin

Two metal arbors add definition and allow for growing
Clematis and Cardinal Climber Vine.

© Constance McAlpin

Looking back through the two arches.

© Constance McAlpin

Here's a photo of the house built in 1895 for Farmer McAlpin's
great grandparents. The farmer made 3 of the gable fretwork
pieces as they were missing, using this photo as a guide.

© Constance McAlpin

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#2 The CourtYard Garden

As you round the corner toward the North side of the farmhouse,
this CourtYard faces the driveway, toward the NorthWest.

They laid over 250' of Jamestown Bluestone walkway in the
courtyard, west garden and front of the house.

© Constance McAlpin

There is quite a bit of folk art throughout Constance's gardens.

© Constance McAlpin

Including sprocket flowers made by Constance's husband.

© Constance McAlpin

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#3 Gazebo and Grinding Stone Pathway

As you turn the next corner of the house and face East,
you'll follow a path of fourteen grinding stones and two
stepped down bluestone landings. Constance's husband
made the gazebo legs taller and painted it copper and black.

© Constance McAlpin

From the gazebo there is a wonderful view of the house.

© Constance McAlpin

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#4 The East Garden

Constance realized she wanted shrubs, trees, and paths to accent
her large flower collection. Standing in the grassy area, you can
see that a pathway with cottage flowers leads you to
wonderful things in areas beyond.

© Constance McAlpin

Here's one of the six arches. The McAlpins bought four, and
when they were unable to find more, Farmer McAlpin welded
together two more which are perfect matches.

© Constance McAlpin

Halfway down the East side of the farmhouse you'll come
upon this wonderful garden room with lots of collectibles
to enjoy.

© Constance McAlpin

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#5 The Shade Garden

Constance would like more shade in her garden, but the
South East corner has a bit under an old cedar tree, and is
now home to a large collection of hostas.

© Constance McAlpin

They laid the path and steps with 111' of field stones.

© Constance McAlpin

Looking back toward that beautiful garden room …

© Constance McAlpin

Continuing around the SouthEast corner of the farmhouse …

© Constance McAlpin

It's amazing to realize that this beautiful farmhouse was
considered unlivable when the McAlpins moved in and for
several years while under restoration.

© Constance McAlpin

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#6 The Sun Garden

As you round the corner you enter The Sun Garden which
faces South, with this elaborate lightening rod, hydrangea,
and red windmill ornament.

© Constance McAlpin

Constance's flower cart is painted aqua blue, like a bit
of the sky.

© Constance McAlpin

Wildlife include bumblebees, toads, hummingbirds, wrens,
tree frogs, butterflies, and bunnies.

© Constance McAlpin

Plants include hostas, gladiolus, daylilies, asiatics and
oriental lilies, iris, crocosmia, butterflyweed, coneflowers,
larkspur, maltese cross, hydrangeas, and much more.

© Constance McAlpin

The center of the Sun Garden is this arch with a lion's head,
with green bottle trees on either side.

© Constance McAlpin

The colors change all season.

© Constance McAlpin

A profusion of blooms down one of the paths.

© Constance McAlpin

The 60 boxwoods rimming the perimeter of the sun garden
had gotten too big and old. In the Spring of 2018 the McAlpins
replaced the boxwood with 16 tiny Arborvitaes for easy
maintenance and someday, the feeling of a secret garden.

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#7 South Walkway

Take one last look back before …

© Constance McAlpin

… you come upon this beautiful south entrance.
There are 200' of brick walkways, landings and steps on the
south and east sides.

© Constance McAlpin

Constance's husband built the porch, matching the columns
by using the old photo of the farmhouse and turning the
mahogany and cedar porch posts on his lathe. He hand-made
the beadboard ceiling, lattice, and a pergola extension,
as well.

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#8 The Future Site of the Old Cupola

The McAlpins found this cupola in a neighboring town sitting
in the lot of a construction company. They had removed it
from an old building a few years earlier. The owner had
planned to turn it into a playhouse for his granddaughters
but never got around to it. The McAlpins convinced him to
sell it and the price was a fraction of what they expected.
Farmer McAlpin will work on restoring and or replacing rotted
boards during the winter of 2018/2019, and plans to have it
ready to place in the garden by the Spring of 2019.

© Constance McAlpin

Farmer McAlpin's work on this garden has been vital, and
includes three porches, one large and two smaller pergolas,
one wooden and several metal arbors, metal towers for
climbing vines, and the wonderful folk art flowers made
from welded metal.

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#9 Garden Storage

Constance says, "I store so much garden decor away for the
winter. It takes forever to get it out in the spring and then
forever to put it all away."

© Constance McAlpin

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#10 The West Garden

The Jamestown Bluestone walkways connect all areas of
the West Garden.

© Constance McAlpin

Constance's husband made the copper colored rebar arbor
at the entrance. The green plaque in the center reads
"My Garden."

© Constance McAlpin

© Constance McAlpin

© Constance McAlpin

© Constance McAlpin

We hope you enjoyed the tour!

Vintage Whimsy Home Shop

Here's more about the garden in Constance's own words:

"I began the gardens in the fall of 1990. There were no flowers,
only weeds, poison ivy and those orange roadside lilies. I began
to make little beds and added a few new ones each year. Finally
I began to connect the little beds together until now the gardens
completely surround the farmhouse and take in 1/3 acre. This
means there are no grassy areas within these boundaries.

I take care of all the garden maintenance myself. I do not have
a set routine. I just start walking and something always calls me
and then many times I get sidetracked from what I had originally
intended to work on.

It’s always so exciting to see something unexpected or to see a
new plant blooming for the first time. And it’s still amazing to
see the plants I’ve had forever emerging from their winter naps
and to experience their bloom cycles once again. Trees leafing
out in the Spring, bulbs popping up, green grass, all of it.

My mom is a gardener. She always grew so many wonderful flowers
and still does, just on a much smaller scale. I didn’t become
interested until after our daughter was born in 1976 and I have
loved it ever since.

There are two nice nurseries that we frequent. Others are visited
occasionally. Of course I do have many varieties of plants scattered
throughout that have been given to me over the years by some
very special gardening friends and relatives. I also love to reseed
plants in different places. My gardens are full of memories.

Other hobbies....the renovation of our farmhouse was a 20 year
project. Now that the house is finished, antique/vintage shopping
is my other hobby. I shop mostly for the garden now.

My gardens are always a work in progress and there is always
something I want to improve."

.© Constance McAlpin

Constance Ann McAlpin is on Facebook and Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/constancesgardens/

Facebook Constance McAlpinInstagram

Virtual Garden Tour Jeannie Rhodes

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