Sunday, November 10, 2013


This November 1st my husband Simon and I celebrated our golden anniversary and moved into our forever home here in Chapel Hill.  It is a small little cedar house of about 1400 square feet and set on a wooded lot.  There's at least 30 ' or more on each side between neighbors, so unlike Chicago where you could just holler out the window if you wanted to talk to them.  The house is set back almost 50 feet or so from the busy roadway and the many trees buffer the sounds of passing cars.

The house was built in 1980 and not much has been done to it since so our  " to do " list is very long.   One thing I do like is its tall ceilings and exposed beamed ceiling downstairs.    There's also a sunroom with floor to ceiling windows to look out into the backyard.

The first thing we did was demo the upstairs outdated bath and  nstall a new one.  I kept it simple -white walls, dark wood and nickel hardware. I dislike curtains so I chose to cover the bathroom window with decorative film that has  a leaf design as you can see in the last row below. It allows in light but provides privacy and I like its clean , crisp look.

There was no sign that a gardener had ever lived here as it was hard to see any kind of plant other than those of  Mother Nature.   Many dead longleaf  pines were throughout the 1/2 acre so we had them removed, along with some other weed trees, which added up to around 30 trees or more.

The  first thing I did outside was to have an 'Appalachian Spring ' dogwood planted that my girls bought me for the new house and our anniversary.

That's Mike from Trees to Go and the dogwood is behind my head.    He planted the tree that was sent as a gift, first time I've allowed anyone to plant anything in my garden but me .

There are many boulders and  stones on the property which I plan to utilize to build a retaining wall along the back property line to prevent water runoff from my neighbor up the hill.

I used to long for a larger garden when I lived in Chicago and now that I have one I find it can be overwhelming as to where to begin .  I just got out the shovel the other day and started removing grass from near the curb to plant some Spring bulbs and I stacked some of the stones around to form a little garden goddess  and rock wall.

I want to make my new garden a woodland sanctuary and fill it with plants that are either native or look like they're at home here. I have a very long list but I plan to tackle each project one at a time.

We are fortunate to live a few blocks away from our daughter and granddaughter.    Next year she will be going to first grade at the school across the street from us .

This is a total lifestyle change for us but I feel right at home in this community -a mixture of local Southerners and people from all over America.  It makes for a nice diversity .

I just met my neighbors up the hill and they tell me that there's a great garden club for the community and of course I was delighted to hear that.   I'm looking forward to setting down roots in this land that my first Scots-Irish ancestors chose when they came to America in the 1700's .


  1. Thank you for sharing your new home and garden, Carolyn. When you mentioned the rocks and boulders I was thinking about the summer we spent digging up the cement chunks from my garden by the garage! I have a feeling that's a small job compared with what you're about to do!

    1. Thanks for visiting Ceci. I do remember those chunks of cement we dug out so now its your turn to come on down to Carolina and start hauling rocks :-)

  2. Peace radiates from your words, Carolyn. You've chosen a beautiful place to begin the next chapter of your journey. I'm sure your ancestors are pleased with your choice.


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