Tag Archive | Beltsville

Taming the Wild Kingdom

Our house sits on 1.2 acres. If you are a gardening-type of person, you might think a yard that size is amazing. I agree it is amazing, but I am completely overwhelmed.

The Wild Kingdom

The Wild Kingdom

How is it that we live 7 miles from Washington, D.C. and have a yard this big? I blame science.

More WIld Kingdom.

More Wild Kingdom.

In 1910, the USDA established the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center or BARC, and Beltsville became a hub of agricultural science and research. This area attracted botanists, plant researchers and scientists, and created a community of agriculture around the research center. There were competitions between neighbors for who had the earliest and best looking corn, and the area is full of strange plants. For example, the Thorn-less Blackberry is alive and well, right here in Beltsville.

This brings taming the Wild Kingdom to a whole new level. Which are the weeds? Which are the valuable & rare specimens belonging to Beltsville? I have been at it for a couple of weeks, with the help of an old friend, neighbors and my mother-in-law, working like field hands. I suppose you could call it a bonding experience and the yard is beginning to show some progress.

The weed-free walkway.

The weed-free walkway.

The climbing Hydrangea, or  Hydrangea anomala petiolaris, is a beautiful, low-maintenance, woody vine growing on the front of our house. This vine is safe for brick surfaces and I am happy to have inherited it.

Climbing Hydrangea

Climbing Hydrangea

You can achieve that English-ivy, hidden-castle look, guilt free, if you use a climbing Hydrangea instead of ivy. How many ivy plants have I ripped off, coupled with a dose of sad, because it is so pretty? This Hydrangea is a wonderful substitute. It likes full-sun to part-shade, and once established, requires little maintenance.

Climbing Hydrangea

Climbing Hydrangea

 Now that is my kind of plant.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio.

A Nighttime Stroll through Beltsville

Last night, I needed a walk with my dog to calm my nerves. What a summer it has been! Nevermind the upcoming move, the baby, trying to hold down the fort at work, and packing up the old house while renovating the new house. All I wanted was a chance to stretch out my legs and let some of the stress go. My sister had previously intervened, quietly reminding me that blogging is supposed to be the fun part, my creative outlet, and not meant to add to the mounting pressures.

When I feel this kind of stress, it acts as a dam for ideas. I find it hard to concentrate and I can’t focus. As I walked through my little town of Beltsville with my dog in the moonlight, I could feel the stress melting away. The ideas started coming again and my mind began to clear. I thought, “I can’t wait to write about all the projects for the new house!” And I began to notice some beautiful sights, just on the streets of Beltsville, in the damp air that follows a storm.

Lighted Glass Art Birdbath.

I thought birds were usually asleep at night, but just in case, here is a glamorous little spot for them to hang out.

Inviting Front Entrance.

Trying not to disturb any motion detectors as I photographed this front door.

Neighborhood Clock.

An outdoor clock, for the chronically late.

In the next few months, I plan to write about how to tile, making a table out of an old whiskey barrel, fresh wallpaper ideas, showing you befores and hopefully a few afters of the inside of my new house, turning a bird-cage into a light fixture, and some excellent new trash finds. I will probably still occasionally rant about my kids as I return to the baby-up-all-night phase of my life, but I am so excited. Excited to be a new mom again (believe me, Secondo is 9 already, so it will all be new again), excited to move (I blame too many years in the military for this one!), and excited to be blogging about it along the way. I am stressed, but I am truly blessed and things could not be better.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.