John and I are passionate gardeners, and we love nothing more than plodding about in the dirt and bringing our landscape vision to life. When we purchased the Madcap Cottage HQ in Thomasville, North Carolina almost two years ago, we knew that we would want to create a front-yard cutting garden and, eventually, a left-side patio with a seating area. The building was a former radio station that saw heaps of country-western stars pass through its doors, and we wanted to take the space back to its former glory with plenty of “surprise and delight” moments.
Here’s a taste of how the front cutting garden has come together over the past year since we moved into the building in October 2018. There’s still a long, long ways to go, but I am so happy with the pops of color that have sprung up and brought so much joy to what was once a drab, unloved front yard.
Curb appeal is everything! And please note that the front door will be replaced with a lacquered-green wood door down the road, and we will install striped awnings over the windows. So much to do, so little cash!
Here’s the front of the Madcap Cottage HQ when John and I purchased the building. Not much glamour here at the time, but fantastic bones–including casement windows that we would soon renovate and lots and lots of green space for the dogs. I wonder who decided to paint the window trim and awning maroon back in the day? Our property line extends to the far, far back on the left-hand side well past the old electricity pole.
A side view of the Madcap HQ at the time of purchase. We would soon renovate the interior of the former radio station and then turn our attention to a “light” overhaul of the exterior. John and I were (and are!) mad for the rustic white-brick exterior so we wanted to keep that intact.
The front yard of the Madcap HQ during renovation. There was lots of interior work to be done, including new plumbing and wiring, framing, finishing, and the installation of AC ducts and AC unit. Note that we ripped out the vents on the exterior walls–and had them bricked over–as we would keep the interior ceiling open to the actual roofline. More on that later!
I hired a friend to come over and till the dirt on either side of the Madcap Cottage front door and remove any grass from the mix. I layered-in some new dirt, but, in hindsight, I would have added even more soil as the dirt in Thomasville is very high in clay content. This upcoming fall I will add more dirt and mulch to elevate the soil quality.
Adding soil to the mix in preparation for planting. The Carolina jasmine vines that are already planted were transplanted from the former Madcap office in downtown High Point. The two Versailles-style black planters are from our friends at Frontgate. Note the black fig on the far right that had already gone dormant and lost its leaves by the time it was planted. The new lanterns on either side of the front door are from Lamps Plus and the house number is from Wayfair. We had the casement windows restored and all trim–including the windows and awning–painted a rich Sherwin-Williams black. The hand-painted Madcap Cottage sign was also culled from our former High Point office.
One day of planting mostly greenery that I pulled from the House of Bedlam backyard, including iris, lilies, jasmine. A good foundation to the two beds that flank the HQ front door.
As we moved from fall and winter into very early spring, lilies and daffodils started to spring to life in the left-hand garden bed. Note the Carolina jasmine hunkered down between the two windows. I tried edging the bed in brick that we had at the House of Bedlam, but I didn’t like the look.
The right-hand garden bed gets edged in the wonderful Everedge metal from our friends at Grandin Road. I love a crisp garden-bed edge. Note the lilies, jasmine, roses, and banana tree (a gift from a High Point neighbor!) starting to come to life. Originally, I was so amazed to see that bananas thrive in North Carolina… Who knew?
Pound-rescue pugs Weenie, Cecil, and Amy Petunia explore the maturing garden bed in early summer. We had wire run up the front facade walls to allow the Carolina jasmine and honeysuckle to climb up the building. The two topiaries in the Versailles-style Frontgate planters came from a big-box store in Florida, and we drove them up to North Carolina. The pups are mad for all of the green space at the HQ and love to explore.
The Madcap HQ’s left-hand garden bed at the height of its summertime glory. Hello, cosmos flowers! For being less than one year old, I am thrilled with how the garden has turned out. Scroll back up to review the “before” images to see just how far the front yard has come.
An overall photo of the Madcap Cottage front facade with the garden blooming with wild abandon in the middle of the summer. Pretty, no? What a wonderful, fun journey–and so much more to come!