Two Gates is our family's private property in the Lebanon Valley of South-Central Pennsylvania. The house, built in 1929, is a brick double-walled, slate-roofed traditional foursquare design (popular during the mid-1890s to the late-1930s). Influenced by Prairie School and Craftsman styles of the time, our two-story home was constructed using local materials and features built-ins and other historic amenities.
We are responsible for considerable changes to the 6,686 square foot property since we purchased it in 2003. The home now appears to spring from the flower beds surrounding it, seamlessly blending house and garden. Consisting of layered-beds filled with North American native species and cottage-style plants and flowers, the present-day design pays homage to the time period during which the home was constructed.
Our property has been carefully designed in sympathy with its setting: a highly traveled, commercially developed spur route. Surrounded by a mix of private residences and commercial businesses, we have taken care to create privacy. Planting shrubs and trees to create the "walls," we have separated our garden into "rooms" connected by grass paths. Trellises supporting scrambling vines reduce the ambient light created by lampposts plus, fencing and gates affirm permanent boundaries.
Recognized as a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat as well as a Penn State Extension Master Gardener Certified Pollinator Friendly Garden, and a Manada Conservancy-certified Habitat for All, our garden is home to a variety of plant and animal species.
When photographing our property I pay special attention to the relationships between plants and animals, animals and the environment and, our responsibility as humans who share their habitat.