Despite the unusually chilly spring (is it Eyjafjallajokull?), design work, installations, and general landscaping has reached its typical insane pitch here at greeneyedesign central. Several weeks ago I began container designs for a new client, Fresh Lunch Catering. The owners, Matt Bressan and his irrepressible, wildly creative wife Jenn, found a wonderful new location recently on the first floor of the historic Joshua Gunnell House in old town Fairfax:
The good news is that the space conveyed with a gorgeous old brick courtyard in the rear of the house. There’s little doubt that the construction was much later than the house’s build date (sometime around 1830), nevertheless it’s quite old and the patina is fantastic. The previous tenants have, over the years, made some unfortunate design choices (or lack thereof), the result being a hodgepodge of plants and shrubs that really don’t need to be memorialized in photos. Oh what the heck:
Interestingly, the high degree of calcium inflorescence you see in the center wall segment perfectly mirrors a small lined pool & fountain on the other side. Time for a new liner?
These lovely trees need to be limbed up and thinned, and deadwood pruned out.
The rear entrance– really charming, but all these plants have to go (except the large Saucer Magnolia, all it needs is a good Christmas light de-wiring)
Eventually the owner would like to have a professional outdoor kitchen from which to serve lunch. Here perhaps? These poor Rose of Sharon have to go. An espaliered fruit tree will go in at the base of the wall on the left. Uplit at night, it will look fantastic.
The courtyard is a lovely 3 levels of interest, with almost limitless possibilities in terms of staging and design. I knew early on that I would like to contrast the old brick walls and floor with eye catching container arrangements with an emphasis on ‘edible compositions’. The space conveyed with a variety of disused terracotta pots and urns, all of which sported old soil of dubious quality and about 10 billion cigarette butts– EW! With a launch date of June 1, the pots, troughs, and urns are all potted up with a lovely variety of annuals, herbs, and veggies like Dinosaur Kale– also known as Lacinato Kale or Italian Heirloom (cavalo nero, ie black cabbage):
Dinosaur Kale, (Brassica oleracea ‘Nero Toscana’), Sage
Million Bells™ Calibrachoa, Lavender Hidcote, Arp Rosemary, Mint
Variegated Lemon Sage, Fiberoptic Grass, Limelight Licorice Plant, Sweet Allysum
Scotch Moss, Columnar Variegated Basil, Million Bells (white bloom)
I am looking forward to photographing these arrangements in place one they have rooted and filled in– they will look spectacular. Just before staging them, I will lay down fir bark nuggets to topdress the soil and eliminate soil splashing up onto the leaves in hard rain or when watering. I’m leaving it off for now to keep the soil as warm as possible to encourage root growth.
Terracotta jumbo box, Creeping Thyme, Lavender ‘Munkstead’, Sweet Allysum, Lavender ‘Jean Davis’
Grow, grow my little ones!
‘Limelight’ Licorice Plant, ‘Nonstop Yellow’ Tuberous begonia, orange blooming Profusion Zinnias, Basil ‘Purple Ruffles’ , Calibrachoa ‘Superbells® Dreamsicle’