Posts tagged house names

The Story Behind the Name

I love a good story. And when Monica from Garden Faerie Musings asked how we came up with our names, I was eager to comply. Some of you will already know my story, I hope you will bear with me when I tell it again.

 As I have mentioned before, we have a name for our garden.  It is Kilbourne Grove.  The Kilbourne Family built our house back in 1880 and they passed it on through the family until the 1940’s, when a doctor and his family bought it.   They lived there until 2005. The doctor died and his wife moved to a nursing home.  It sat vacant for a year, while the architect/property developer who bought it made some changes.  We bought it from her and moved in in May 2006.

When we lived in England, we lived in Notting Hill.  But even that is further divided into smaller sections, and we were in Westbourne Grove.  It was a very trendy and expensive street with a lot of high end antique and clothing shops, trendy bars and restaurants.

When we were thinking of a name, we wanted to pay tribute to the original family and give a nod to our years in London.

Having read too many books, both English historical and gardening, it seemed like everyone named their house/garden and not only that, parts in the garden as well.  Think of Rosemary Vereys “Laburnum Walk”, Sir Roy Strongs “Silver Jubilee Garden” and Sissinghursts “Lime Walk” and “The Rondel”. 

It was a way for us to pay tribute to the historic tradition of English gardens.

As Linda said, it is a great way of your better half finding you.  At the moment, our hedges are too small, and Ian usually can see me when I am out in the garden, but give it a few years.

So far, I have divided my garden into 6 sections at the back.  I have a Lime Walk.  I had to have one of those.  Everywhere we went in England, there was pleached trees and I love the look.  That whole formal straight line thing.

The Kitchen Garden  or Potager was the first thing that we put in, it gave us a place to heel in any plants that we were given or had purchased, while we were preparing a space for them.

Next, came the Flora Glade.  I stole this name from “The Laskett”,  my favourite garden in England (at least I think so now, not having seen them all, who ever could, talk about a life’s work).  This was an area behind our garage that had a few maple trees, and it is (so far) the only garden without straight lines.

We have just planted two yew hedges, running from the Flora Glade to the Lime Walk, giving us another 30 foot square garden (I am now calling it the Yew Garden, until I can decide what to do with it).

Our huge lawn on the south/east side goes by the name  “Croquet Lawn” as it is the only open spot when we want to play croquet or bocce.

I also have a Lilac Dell,  just a huge clump of very old lilacs by the street, with 2 paths running through them.  One day, I plan to limb up the lilacs and underplant them. 

But all plans change, and change frequently.  That is the beauty of life, and of gardening.

I was so unknowledgable about blogging that when I came up with the name ‘Green Theatre’ for the blog, I did not realize my user name would be the one most people would recognize me by. You can read about that here. But if you want to know how I came up with the name Green Theatre, you can read about that here.

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I am who?

I was surprised when I published this post by the number of comments.  A lot of readers felt that it would give you more information about me.  I did not think that I was that interesting, who would be interested in hearing more about me, but apparently, some of you would.

I picked my lion as my avatar, as at the time, I did not want my photo on the internet.

But, a lot of other bloggers do, so when Teza asked me for a photo for the Forum posts, a friend of mine took some of me at work, and that is the one you see here.

Now that you know what I look like, I will tell you my story.

I worked for a newspaper company when Ian and I met, (I asked him out, the first and obviously, last time that I have ever asked a man out) as the accountant at a small newspaper. Transferring to their head office in Toronto, I travelled around Canada, training the staff at newspapers on a computer system.  It was an amazing (and free) way to see Canada, I got to see almost all the provinces.   When the travelling got to be too much (and I would have had to be in British Columbia  for a month), I left the company, and went back to school to study floral design.  It was a year-long course, and you co-oped at a flower shop, one day a week.  When I graduated, the owner of this shop ‘East of Eliza’ offered me a full-time job.  It was a wonderful and very fun place to work.  We not only were a flower shop, but also had a small garden centre, and designed and maintained gardens.

 I had a very shady (and very, very small garden in the ‘Beaches’ section of Toronto. My first garden, it was where I learned and made a multitude of mistakes. Although the whole lot was only 20′ x 90′, (and had a house and garden shed on it), I divided the back yard into two rooms. 

I thought that it made the garden look larger, and certainly more interesting. My FIL (in the blue sweater)built the white are in the picture, here my in laws are inspecting our handiwork. We are building a brick path to the shed.

By now we had stained the shed green, hoping it wouldn’t be so noticeable (although how can you miss something that huge in such a tiny garden).

Sweet Autumn clematis was draped over the arch that Bill built, when it flowered the whole back smelt like vanilla.

After a few years, Ian was transferred to Kingston, Ontario, and I went to work for a friend and former colleague who had opened his own flower shop in this gorgeous city, TrugsBill is also a fabulous gardener, and while we did not have the space for a garden centre, fabulous plants (in small quantities) were for sale and we also did garden design and maintenance.

Starting on my second garden,  (twice the size of my Beaches garden, a whopping 35 x 152), I once again divided my back garden into ‘rooms’.  This time into thirds.

This was taken in October 1998 when we moved in. That fence was quickly replaced!

You can see there wasn’t much in the yard, except some very overgrown shrubs, honeysuckle,viburnum, mock orange,berberis, and a rose near the garage.

Looking towards the house. Just ignore the crazy lady on the deck. Wow, first no pictures of me, and now you get to see me in my robe, at least it is black velvet!

 The area closest to the house was the sunniest, this had a rectangular thyme lawn, surrounded by a flagstone coping, and flower beds on the other side path. 

You can see we just planted the thyme.

You walked under an arch, to the ‘black and white’ garden. There was a circular lawn, with a stone mowing strip, and a large urn in the centre of the lawn.  This was over 12 years ago, and black plants were a lot more difficult to find. I would like to try it again some time, it is still a favourite colour scheme of mine.  

The stone mowing strip in the black and white garden is complete. If I had known that one day I would be showing these pictures on the internet, I would have tied up a bit more before taking them.

 On the opposite side of the entrance arch was an exit, semi hidden by a large berberis.  Going through you entered the woodland garden.  You could at this point, go either left or right. This was the very back of my garden, and the most shady.  A circular walk took you through and you ended back at the Black and white garden.

This is looking from the laneway behind the house, through all the garden rooms.

Just as I started to get the garden to a point where I was (somewhat) happy with it, Ian got transferred again.  This time to London, England, (much as I hated to leave my garden, I wasn’t going to complain about that).   When we were looking for a place to live in we had a choice, live further out from the heart of the city and have a larger place, and probably a garden, or live in a tiny flat downtown and no garden.  It may have surprised you, but I chose the latter.  Although it was very hard not to have my own personal garden, I still felt like I had a garden. London is amazing that way, everyone has a lovely front garden, no matter how small, and the parks, they are amazing.  I would walk to work (Kenneth Turner at Harrods) every morning through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.  There was always something new to see and learn, from the pollarded london plane trees at the entrance, to the fritillaria meleagris naturalized in the long grass.  On Christmas day, we went for a walk through Holland Park and I counted 31 different types of flowers in bloom, at home it would have been zero.

When we got transferred back to Canada, we had a decision to make. What should we purchase?  I knew we could never afford as large a garden as we wanted in Toronto, and I did not want to wait to retirement to purchase our ‘forever’ home, hedges and trees take a long time to grow.  Although we had gone through a bit of ‘cabin fever’ moving from a 2,000 sq ft home in Canada, to a 424 sq ft flat in London, we had survived.  So we decided to buy a very small condo in downtown Toronto, where we could walk to work, while looking for a house.  After a year we found it, and named it Kilbourne Grove.

If you are interested in reading about how we came up with the house name you can here, or if you want to see what it looked like when we first purchased it, read about it here, here and here. If you want to read about a bit more personal stuff, my Honest Scrap post will fill you in.

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Green Architecture

What is green architecture? I am sure that it can be many different things depending on who you are talking to. For me, it is the design direction I want to take at Kilbourne Grove.

When I was searching for a name for my blog, I thought about what I wanted my blog to say about my garden.  I want my garden to be formal, but formal in a green way, not with bedding out plants like Versailles.  I had seen the words Green Theatre somewhere and I liked how it sounded.

Not my garden (I wish), but a lovely one I visited for Doors Open. This is the direction that I would like my garden to take, notice there are no flowers, (I do think that he beds out annuals at the bottom, but luckily I have never seen it.

After I had been publishing my blog for a month, I was bored at work one day and I decided to google the phrase “Green Theatre”.  It can up with this on page 17,  the Encyclopedia Britannica definition.  Green Theatre is “planting, usually of evergreens, designed to provide accommodation for outdoor theatrics.”

The same lovely garden at Doors Open. Love the clipped cedar buttresses. OK, there might be a few too many cement pieces, but I can edit that, no problem!

Good to know that there is a future for Kilbourne Grove, I can rent it out to the Owen Sound Little Theatre.

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What’s in a Name?

On August 19th, Linda from Each Little World had a post on Naming Gardens.  In it, she asked “Does your garden have a name and how did you chose it?” She got some very interesting answers.  Please go have a look at this post. While you are there have a look around. She and her husband have a very beautiful garden.

This made me think. As I have mentioned before, we have a name for our garden.  It is Kilbourne Grove.  The Kilbourne Family built our house back in 1880 and they passed it on through the family until the 1940’s, when a doctor and his family bought it.   They lived there until 2005. The doctor died and his wife moved to a nursing home.  It sat vacant for a year, while the architect/property developer who bought it made some changes.  We bought it from her and moved in in May 2006.

When we lived in England, we lived in Notting Hill.  But even that is further divided into smaller sections, and we were in Westbourne Grove.  It was a very trendy and expensive street with a lot of high end antique and clothing shops, trendy bars and restaurants.

When we were thinking of a name, we wanted to pay tribute to the original family and give a nod to our years in London.

Having read too many books, both English historical and gardening, it seemed like everyone named their house/garden and not only that, parts in the garden as well.  Think of Rosemary Vereys “Laburnum Walk”, Sir Roy Strongs “Silver Jubilee Garden” and Sissinghursts “Lime Walk” and “The Rondel”. 

It was a way for us to pay tribute to the historic tradition of English gardens.

As Linda said, it is a great way of your better half finding you.  At the moment, our hedges are too small, and Ian usually can see me when I am out in the garden, but give it a few years.

So far, I have divided my garden into 6 sections at the back.  I have a Lime Walk.  I had to have one of those.  Everywhere we went in England, there was pleached trees and I love the look.  That whole formal straight line thing.

The Kitchen Garden  or Potager was the first thing that we put in, it gave us a place to heel in any plants that we were given or had purchased, while we were preparing a space for them.

Next, came the Flora Glade.  I stole this name from “The Laskett”,  my favourite garden in England (at least I think so now, not having seen them all, who ever could, talk about a life’s work).  This was an area behind our garage that had a few maple trees, and it is (so far) the only garden without straight lines.

We have just planted two yew hedges, running from the Flora Glade to the Lime Walk, giving us another 30 foot square garden (I am now calling it the Yew Garden, until I can decide what to do with it).

Our huge lawn on the south/east side goes by the name  “Croquet Lawn” as it is the only open spot when we want to play croquet or bocce.

I also have a Lilac Dell,  just a huge clump of very old lilacs by the street, with 2 paths running through them.  One day, I plan to limb up the lilacs and underplant them. 

But all plans change, and change frequently.  That is the beauty of life, and of gardening.

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A rose by any other name

When I was setting up my blog the wordpress site asked me for a blog name and a user name. Our house in Owen Sound is called Kilbourne Grove after the Kilbourne family that built it and lived there for a number of years. The Grove is in homage to living in Westbourne Grove in London,  we thought that this would be a nice play on words.  I did not realize that kilbourne grove would be the address that everyone (thanks Janus) reading the blog would find it by. I thought that it would show up under Green Theatre, but now I am stuck with it.
Not that that’s bad, it is just different that what I thought.
When I was bored at work today, I googled “Green Theatre” to see if it would bring up my blog. It did, finally on page 17.  But it brought up Encyclopedia Britannica’s definition first, and I thought that it was an apt description of what I would like to achieve. It reads,
“Planting, usually of evergreens, designed to provide accommodation for outdoor theatrics.”
Not that I’m planning on producing Macbeth in my garden, But I am hoping to have more than a few parties in it. And I think that all the garden walls that I am putting up will make for a pretty good game of hide and go seek. How theatrical is that!

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