1 House 100 Years

Preparing For The Centennial Of A Place That Matters

Category: Flower Garden

Japanese Iris On A Sunday Morning


If I could only grow one flower, it would be the Japanese Iris. Each blossom is with me for only a day or two, and within a week, all are gone. They are like ballerinas dancing gracefully from the wings onto my garden stage and then swiftly off again.

Would Japanese Iris have been grown in my back yard almost one hundred years ago when my house was built? Perhaps not. After all, this was a working man’s simple cottage built on a lot beside the railroad tracks. Still, there must have been something beautiful grown to nourish the soul.

This photograph was taken June 2015. Plants in the background are tomatoes with blossoms to develop fruit to nourish the body later this summer!


Cedar Raised Bed Garden “How-To”


This raised bed design was my spring gardening project. I selected cedar rather than pine or pressure treated lumber for appearance and chemical-free characteristics. These cedar boards came with a rough side and a smooth side, and so all pieces are constructed with my preferred rough side facing outward.

White picket and wire fencing sections cut from a large roll fill the spaces between the upright posts to keep feral cats and other wildlife out of my planted beds, but these may not be necessary for you. These can be remove to tend and harvest herbs and vegetables.

The posts are considerably taller than the white picket fencing. Birds enjoy these higher observation perches. They also make great places for bird feeders or houses when I want birds to visit or support for netting when I don’t (such as when I have strawberries planted or freshly sprouting seedlings).

You can use shorter posts or even cut them so that they are no higher than the side boards. You can omit the white picket fence sections. You can also adjust the side dimensions. The plan is flexible and may just be a starting point for your own special design.


If you want to make similar garden beds, for each you will need three 1″ x 8″ cedar boards that are 8′ long. One of these should be cut into two 3′ long pieces. (You will have a 2′ long leftover section that can be used for other outdoor projects.)

You will also need six 1″ x 2″ cedar boards that are 8′ long. These should be cut into twelve 4′ long pieces. One end of each of these should be trimmed at a 45° angle to form a pointed spike-like end to better go into the garden soil.


Use a combination square set to the thickness of one of the twelve upright posts to mark a line at each end of the two 8′ long and the two 3′ long boards. These will guide your placement of the upright posts.

Use a tape measure to mark 3′ from the top (flat end) of each of the twelve posts. Use the combination square to extend this around three sides of each post. This marks the position of the bottom edge for each side. With a 1/8″ drill bit, make pilot holes at 2″ and 5″ above each mark.


Now you are ready to glue and screw the posts to each main boards. I used water resistant wood glue and 1 and 1/4″ outdoor wood screws. Although the glue is not necessary for the long term, it is helpful for the short term by providing a stable bond while positioning each section and particularly if it’s necessary to pound in the posts.


Both end board get two posts each. The longer side boards get four posts each. For even spacing, I measured 29 and 1/2″ from each end post to mark where the additional posts should be positioned. Your measurements may vary somewhat, so you may want to calculate for yourself.


You can then lay out each of your four garden bed sides to determine best placement and to then dig out our bed with eight holes about 12″ deep for each of the posts. These are positioned together as shown and fastened together with more outdoor wood screws. Bricks or other edging make a nice “frame” for the raised beds and also help to keep grass trimming to a minimum.

These photographs were taken May 2015.

Chinese Snowball Viburnum…Now This Is What Buying A Brand New Shovel Is For!


Although it resembles a hydrangea in many ways and particularly with its flowers, this incredible plant is actually a Chinese Snowball Viburnum. Planting a great specimen like this one is the main reason that I bought a new shovel, not to dig out and replace my old waste drain line!

To me, this is a “classic” Southern plant, and it does like a warmer climate. It should remain evergreen here in my Tidewater Virginia yard, though in more northernly regions it will be deciduous. The biggest challenge was finding the perfect spot for viewing from my sunroom throughout the year.

Evergreen Shrub…height 10 feet, width 10 feet, 6-8 inch clusters of white flowers from May to June. (Mine was blooming in the latter part of the summer when I bought it, though this is most likely because it originally came from a nursery in a more southern state.)

Light…full sun to partial shade, protect from strong afternoon sun.

Water…provide medium moisture.

Site and Soil…USDA zones 6-9, well-drained slightly acid soil but can tolerate alkaline conditions, provide shelter from cold, drying winds.

Pruning and Special Care…prune shortly after flowering to remove dead wood and shape, fertilize after planting and again after flowering.

This photograph was taken September 2014, just before my waste drain line caused a major excavation and repair job. I wish that my brand new shovel had been used first to plant this incredible specimen, but that did not happen until much later!