A dear reader left a lovely comment on last week’s post asking about “the charming cylindrical shaped structure with the conical roof at the corner of the hedge.” She could only have been referring to the “dovecote” (which sounds much more romantic than toolshed). This reminded me that I have neglected introducing this charming structure to my subscribers while showering my attention on the Orangerie, the centerpiece of the gardens.
Funny enough, the “dovecote” was not originally on our new house plans back in 1997…and at this point I’ll lovingly make the note “if you aren’t expecting another structure on your property, don’t show your garden plans to your architect”. Now, having said that, I’ll go on to sing his praises (Fred Bissinger, from Main Line Philadelphia).
This small, round building (where no doves live, but lots of tools and fountain mechanisms reside) is both literally and figuratively the cornerstone of the main garden, the Fountain Garden. I cannot imagine not having it here!
Its stucco facade mimics the house and the Orangerie, complementing the gardens to the south of the property. The “dovecote” also shares the ten foot high euonymous hedge with a 2007 addition to the gardens, the Parterre Bench.
As seen from the front lawn, it truly anchors this corner, dividing the Fountain Garden from the Woodland Garden (to the right) facing Rosecliff.
The very solid wooden door is curved to fit into the circular design (not a small feat); hinges, straps, latch, and lightning rod on the tip top were all made by a Rhode Island blacksmith…a form of sculpture in their own right!
Frosting on the cake? The roof uses the same, large (and thick!) slates sourced from an old building on the University of Ohio’s campus. And, speaking of frosting…the beloved “dovecote” takes on such a magical appearance when winter snows coat that roof.
The “dovecote” is also just 10 yards from the front lawn nesting spot for our Great Horned Owl, and her 2 offspring, a topic I mentioned in my Easter blog. Given the height of the nest (60 feet), in a 150 year old Gingko tree, it has proven a challenge to obtain a selection of images…but I do have this one (thank you Kate Lucey!). While not yet a great beauty, this owlet will have a 4 1/2′ wingspan upon maturity. Fingers crossed that momma will choose to nest here again next year!
And so, spring with its new life, and new beginnings, continues to offer more reasons to be hopeful…and what we can look forward to even in a time of dire challenges. Wishing good health to each of you.