Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tom Karwin: Restoring Tor House gardens

In 1919, American poet Robinson Jeffers and the wife, Una, built Tor House on Carmel's windswept coast, calling it their "inevitable place." Both he and Una valued their natural surroundings, specially the wildflowers.

Through his poetry, Jeffers grew to become referred to as an environmentalist. A forester by education, he grown literally 1000's of trees on their own property and in the region.

Una was more associated with social activities and letter writing, but she grown roses, aromatic herbal treatments, geraniums along with other flowering plants. Her listing of "Tor House Plants" (1934) can be obtained today in the Tor House. Una also appreciated the native wildflowers that increased abundantly around their house, calling the spectacle her "mille fleur tapestry."

In 1946, their boy, Donnan, introduced his new wife, Lee, to Tor House, plus they soon put into your garden. After 1950, following Una's dying, Lee designed an British-style cottage garden and grown numerous roses and heirloom plants with aromatic blooms. Her garden was frequently appreciated in magazine articles within the eighties and the nineteen nineties.

Lee ongoing to tend your garden despite the founding from the Tor House Foundation in 1978. In early the nineteen nineties, the foundation's garden enthusiast, Margot Grych, designed a drawing from the garden's layout and listed its many roses along with other plants. Volunteer Pauline Allen prepared an outdoor manual having a complete record from the plants by Lee's dying in 1999.

Since that time, the building blocks has maintained your garden without

a restoration plan. Present day volunteers, including Master Garden enthusiast Kathleen Sonntag, are staring at the records from the Tor House gardens, and beginning an organized restoration process.

The goals of the work start with re-allowing the rose beds by creating the initial plants which are still within the garden - or beginning clippings from their store - and looking out for individuals from the heirloom roses that increased once within the garden.

Also, the work is adding vibrant yellow and orange flowers and aromatic herbal treatments that Una loved a lot, in addition to blue iris, lavender, wallflower, sweet alyssum, lion's tail along with other plants the records list. One challenge would be to replant asphodels, which Una pointed out inside a letter. This is the Whitened Asphodel (Asphodelus aestivus) in the Mediterranean basin.

Another goal would be to restore wildflower visible on the slope in the house lower to Scenic Road, to represent Una's "mille fleur tapestry." Simply withholding irrigation allows eventual domination by California native flowering bushes and flowering mounds of plants.

This project has all of the principal motivations for garden restoration: revealing the historic cultural from the original garden, rebuilding a fantastic landscape, and enriching the biography from the prominent proprietors.

Visit Tor House (world wide web.torhouse.org/) from time to time to follow along with the progress of the historic garden restoration.

Tom Karwin is really a Santa Cruz resident, a UC Master Garden enthusiast, part of several garden groups, and v . p . from the UCSC Arboretum Affiliates. Contact him at gardening@karwin.com.

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