If You Want To Go To Heaven, Go Here

There is a place we often pass, on our way from "here to there." It is called the Walnut Cottage.

It has beautiful trees...

A koi pond...

Quaint window boxes...

And authentic multi-pane windows.

I've always wanted to do a photo shoot of this celestial spot, so today I walked up to their front door and asked if I could.

I was not surprised to find that the owners of such a wonderful place were just as fantastic as their house. Not only did he give us permission for the photo shoot, but...

He had Lily help him feed the fish.

The fish ate right out of her fingertips.

Let me tell you about the Walnut Cottage.

John, the owner, is a true gardener. I know this because he left his tool in the garden. Authentic gardeners are in the garden so much that they always do this. Let me show you his gardens. This is more proof.

They even have their own compost bin.

He also has many flowers in his garden.

John and his wife are very "earthy." They raise bees, harvest pears, apples, grapes, tomatoes, lettuce and, you guessed it, walnuts .

I've heard it said that "success is in the details." Well, they have details here in spades - starting with this split cedar fence that borders their property. It gives it a very rustic look.

No plain or ordinary garden hose rack here.

Same goes with their hose guards too ...

Check this out. A wood peg and wood pin used to hold together a board. If that isn't detail, I don't know what is.

Everything is functional. These shutters actually (are you ready for this?) shut. They have both form AND function.

The following photos show more details I like about their place.

Even the garage has a bungalow feel to it.

Now, more than ever, I will look forward to driving or walking by.


I Live In the Tree Streets

Nestled below the "Y" on the mountain, is a quiet little neighborhood called the Tree Streets. This is where I live.

It's called the Tree Streets, because the streets are all named after trees.

I guess that's kind of obvious, huh?

Here is my street. Cherry Lane.

One of the many great things about the Tree Streets are the glorious gardens. Let me give you a tour.

Behind those splendid gardens are charming homes. I call this first one, "The Rose Bush Cottage."

Here is one thing I like about the charming houses on the tree streets: the doors. I know you might think I am crazy, but I think a charming house with a boring door is a sin. This first door is mine.

The more I walk around the Tree Streets, the more I notice the details, like this bunny swinging under a tree, at my neighbor's house.

Like the patriotic star, on a neighbor's fence that is also...

in the planter of your other neighbor.

I also notice little details, like this tin rooster...

This stained glass house number.

This interesting architectural stone carving...

This fun crane...

The colorful "S" next to a neighbor's door (their last name begins with "s").

And like this oriental symbol, on another neighbor's house.

Patriotism runs strong here.

On any patriotic holiday, you can see boy scouts running around putting up flags...

And their mothers following right behind them.

You may think I am weird, but there are a lot of cool fences and walls in the Tree Streets. Here are a few of them.

Children are a big part of the Tree Streets.

There are signs of them everywhere.

Have you ever noticed how many fire hydrants are around? There are a lot of them. Never notice them until I am slowing down, walking around.

One last thing I want to say about the the Tree Streets is this: there is always improvement going on. I like this.

There is always someone making their home better. Like this unfinished fence in the foreground that is waiting to be painted grey like its sister fence in the background.

I can always walk around the neighborhood and see someone making their house look brighter, or...

their yards look delightful. I'm so glad to live here.

I Let My Kids Play Video Games and Watch TV All Day, So I Could Feed My Gardening Addiction.

WARNING: I am publishing this post with out ANY editing or review (mind you, my normal editing is not that great either). Read at your own risk. I am way to tired to care about grammar tonight.

Today, ALL day, I let my kids play on the computer...

Play on the iPad...

And watch TV. Why did I do this?

I wanted to prepare our back yard for the annual block party we throw every year for our neighbors on Cherry Lane. If I let the kids have a whole day of electronic fun, they will leave me alone to accomplish something.

So after I got the kids settled into their electronic fun, I got all my tools together and started full charge on the our gardens and lawn in the back yard.

I mowed the lawn, pulled weeds, trimmed trees, painted our park bench (mint green), started a new flower bed, stacked fire wood, and swept our patio and sidewalk.

I took Emma out with me, so she could play in the yard.

I went in to check on the kids several times. They were eating their homemade popsicles, and...

Microwaving strawberries (which stinks, by the way).

At one point I was forced to feed them a quick lunch, and then I headed back out the door to work on my yard again. (Not healthy, but they loved it, and it was quick).

When I was all done with the yard, there was a BIG problem. It was time to go pick up Fauneil from the hospital, but I had totally ignored the inside of the house.

I hate having my wife come home to a messy house, so I had to quickly think of a way to make this up to her. The pristine back yard was a start, but I also..

packed up some food and we went up into the mountains for a picnic (straight from picking her up from work)

She had a blast, so the plan worked.

When we finally got back to our front door, I just had to show Fauneil the beautiful back yard before she saw the big mess inside.

Don't look at the stuff, but the bench under the stuff. This is the before picture. Ugly with brown peeling paint.

This is the after pic. I painted it a mint green.

Unanswered Proposal

Friday October 15, 2010 12:23 P.M.

After dropping Brandon off in Sandy, I popped by Lynn and Kristine McGhie’s house to offer them a proposal. Before I get into what I wanted to propose, I should let you know who they are.

Both Lynn and Kristine are world-renowned in their respective fields. Lynn in interior design, and Kristine in exterior design. Lynn has decorated homes from London to San Francisco, including the homes of celebrities such as Steve Young and Robert  Redford. Kristine, for many years, was the head designer for the Temple Square gardens and had her own exterior design business before that.

Everything I have learned about interior design, I have learned from Lynn. And everything I have learned about gardening, I have learned from Kristine. They live the lifestyle Martha Stewart portrays much better than Martha does (at least in my opinion).

They are always looking for help with projects, many of which I have happily volunteered for almost two decades now.

I want to create specific blog posts related to interior design and gardening. This is why I went to them. To propose a relationship where I interview them and make posts to my blog. Also where I would help them in their gardens and other projects, and make a photographic record, which I would post.

Unfortunately, they were not home when I dropped by. But I did have my camera, and I took a few shots of Kristine’s beautiful garden.


A Dedicated Gardner Lives Within