I know you’re excited that spring is finally here – we all are – but you have to remember that with the winter thaw comes spring cleaning, and all those repairs to your home and garden. Well with Volume One’s annual At Home special section, we’ve made your
road ahead easier and far more fun. Check out some of the best homes and gardens around. Take a look at our tips to add color to your home, and rid your garden of pests. And read about a local couple’s incredible lawn restoration project. Chores never sounded so fun.
Editor/Writer: Trevor Kupfer & Kinzy Janssen // Photography: Andrea Paulseth Contributors: Renee Bettendorf, Robin Kinderman, Briana Krantz, & Frank Smoot // Design: Brian Moen
HOMES WE COVET, GARDENS WE DIG
some of Volume One’s favorite Eau Claire homes and gardens
1011 State St.
Lorentz Family Home
The Bradley Marcy House is better known as, simply, The Cobblestone House, being that it’s the only example of cobblestone architecture in the Chippewa Valley. Built in 1866 in the style of Gothic Revival, architect Bradley Marcy wheeled the stones from the confluence.
Compared to the other homes on this list, the residence at 1721 Nicholas Drive is an infant. Celebrating its second birthday in May, this home was designed and built by the Lorentz’s son, Chad, who works for an architectural firm in Seattle. This was the second home he ever built, and the basis was the most amount of room in the smallest area, which explains features like the indoor catwalk that separates the two halves.
Bradley Marcy House
corner of Nicholas Drive and Amanda Court
First Congregational Church Parsonage
Orlando Brice House 120 Marston Ave.
403 Third Ave.
If you could imagine yourself as a wealthy plantation owner in the South during the Civil War, this is the estate you wish you could come home to. This 1918 residence, owned by Wisconsin Refrigerator Company manager Orlando G. Brice, is a significant example of the Georgian Revival style.
This 1915 home was designed by Purcell and Elmslie, a prolific Minneapolis architectural firm working in the tradition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School. It looks like a whole bunch of triangles, to me.
Eau Claire’s South Side
1531 Canfield St
Eau Claire’s Third Ward Neighborhood
Eau Claire’s Third Ward Neighborhood
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Julie and Brad Henderson’s Garden Eau Claire’s East Hill Neighborhood
Eau Claire’s North Riverfront Neighborhood
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a local couple’s ambitious and extraordinary yard restoration project
In the stillness of mid-March, Gayle Kleppe and Beau Wold’s prairie was buzzing – albeit within a white wooden box, full of active bees. As I stepped away from the box and looked out over the dry, matted grasses, I could only imagine what the entire four-and-a-half acre prairie sounded – not to mention looked – like in summer. When Gayle and Beau planted their first prairie 20 years ago, they documented the occasion on film. “All you could hear on tape was the wind,” says Gayle, a retired elementary school principle. Three years later, they took another video for the purpose of comparison. Gayle was caught off guard not by the visual transformation, but by the intensity of noise: insects had taken root along with the plants. With a number of other unexpected visitors to their yard – including colorful dragonflies, turtles, coyotes, and bears – the pair knew they had restored a wildness that had been absent. Beau, an avid photographer as well as gardener, believes that leaving nature “untouched” is a misleading concept. Because of previous misuse, nurture is actually required to restore nature. Wisconsin was once covered in prairie grasses and forests spacious enough to “drive a wagon through,” according
to Beau. These have been replaced by farmland, dense forests, and concrete. Gayle, who now serves as co-president of the Master Gardeners, agrees. “We’ve been trying to get it back to what would naturally grow,” she says. The couple’s land, which totals 20 acres, is visual proof of that very gardening theory. Woodland flowers have been nurtured beneath tall oaks, prairie grasses are rooted in a sun-drenched field, and a rain garden thrives just beneath the downspout of their rain-collection system. The pair even restored a wetland area. Now, instead of brush, water-loving sedges grace the slope along their three-quarter-acre pond. “It’s an acquired taste,” says Beau of their varied gardens, especially the fourand-a-half acre prairie. “People might be used to a more solid, stagnant sweep of color, with perennials and whatnot. In a prairie, the color is definitely more spread out.” In fact, the face of the prairie changes rapidly in the summer months, with different species blooming every two to three weeks. Beau plans to fix a tripod in a single spot and snap a picture once a week for an entire year to document these extraordinary changes. continued on page 31
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PLANNING ON PLANTING
moves is a bad investment. Small mammals will eventually catch on – and return to munching paradise. Experts suggest a device with both visual and physical movement. For instance, a holographic object on springs would bring fear into the heart of any rodent. It doesn’t even have to resemble a predator – the flick of a reflective foil strip attached to a tree or a fence post will do the trick. The harsh rattle of the foil in the wind creates a double deterrent.
local garden gurus provide tips for mastering the art of gardening
PLOT YOUR PLOT
Your first tool should be a pencil. Sketch boundaries for you garden on paper, taking into account your family’s traffic patterns, as well as the kind of view you want to create. If you sense stepping stones, pathways, fences, decks, or gazebos in your future, sketch them in! (No matter how distant you think the project will be) Allow extra space near young shrubs and trees. They can take up a surprising amount of space in just a few years’ time. If you have children and/or pets, consider leaving some space open for play and exercise. Remember that this will be your workspace, so plan on ample room for comfortable gardening. Sunny locations are usually best.
CHOOSE YOUR PLANTS
How much effort do you want to invest in your garden? This is an important question to ask. For instance, annuals need to be replanted each spring, so they generally require more work. Whereas, perennials only need to be replaced or revitalized every three to five years. Their colorful presence in your yard, however, may be short-lived: perennials bloom for one to three weeks a year. Exotic species may be eye-catching, but tough, native plants will be more dependable and will require less work. If you’re thinking of a vegetable garden, carefully consider the number of plants you’re going to invest in, says local gardener Renee Bettendorf. “For example, how many zucchini can you, your family, your extended family, your network of friends and all your neighbors reasonably expect to eat in one summer?” Your garden’s conditions are another important thing to consider. Know your garden’s limitations, including light levels, moisture levels, and temperature. However, don’t necessarily rule out a particular plant if it doesn’t complement your garden’s unique traits. Look into different varieties of the same plant. It may adapt better. Who will be frequenting the garden, besides yourself? Some plant species can be harmful to pets and/or livestock. Do some research to make sure your
choices will be safe for animals that roam the yard. If you don’t want to have to deal with pests, choose the right veggies in the first place. For instance, even the sneakiest rabbit will balk at corn, cucumbers, and squash. For those who have kept up a garden for some time, keeping detailed records from previous years can be a huge help, Bettendorf says. Helpful things to record include: varieties of seeds/ plants, how much you planted, first harvest dates, how much harvested, failures or successes, and what to do differently. “A dirt-smeared hunk of cardboard with nearly illegible notes scrawled across it could be worth its weight in gold when the next planting season rolls around,” she said. We at her is a huge concern for any gardener, but unfortunately there’s not much you can do. Bettendorf’s insurance policy of sorts is to plant a wide range of plants. “I plant something like 40 varieties of veggies. That way no matter what, you’ll be destined to get something!”
PREPARE YOUR SOIL
If you envision a lush garden, you must first improve your soil. Shari Mueller of Circle M Nursery in Chippewa Falls says no vegetable or flower will really flourish in unaltered soil. Ponder the benefits of a raised bed: deeper soil (which fosters root growth)
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and a physical barrier from weeds. You don’t even need fancy trim or painstakingly laid bricks. You can make a simple, small knoll by mounding up 10 to 12 inches of soil. It is also important to understand the composition of your soil. For $20 per sample, the Eau Claire County UW Extension office will provide soil testing. Merely dig down six inches and retrieve two cups of soil, bag it up, and bring it to the office. (Make sure the soil isn’t muddy or frozen). The sample will then be sent to a lab for testing. UW Extension will provide results and advice for further steps. Consider spraying weed-killer and working in manure or peat moss to create a nice, loose-knit soil, Mueller also suggested.
KEEP OUT PESTS:
Sound Deterrents If you can find a device that automatically changes the frequency, duration, and pattern of its sound, those rascally rabbits won’t have a chance to adjust. A combination of ultrasonic and sonic is also recommended.
Spooky Visuals Simply put, a plastic owl that never
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Manufacture a “web” with netting material, complete with Velcro panels that allow you to access the plants. Place some spiky objects around the perimeter of the garden. Try a motion detector, perhaps one that sprays water upon sensing movement.
A ROOM OF A DIFFERENT COLOR local interior designers give tips to brightening up your home Frame wallpaper like art. Try long panel shapes, and use the frames to create patterns on the wall. Color blocking is a painting technique that allows you to mix and match and overlap bold colors. Tape off different sections and shapes on your wall (squares work well), and paint them randomly. This technique works well on the wall behind a plasma TV – it’ll take the focus off that big black shape on the wall. Band the bottom third of your drapery in a contrasting fabric. When applied to walls, chalkboard paint and dry erase paint allow kids to draw all over without ruining the erasable, washable sur-
face. It can have practical uses for adults, too! At Menards, the black board paint comes in green, black, and “tint-yourown” (12 color options). Dry erase paint is white. Paint a piece of furniture. Coordinate it with smaller portions of the same color elsewhere in the room, or stick it in your garden! Color your bathtub! I’m not talking bathtub crayons, either! Menards has DIY refinishing kits in three soft colors. Find bolder colors online. Turn your water blue with a faucet light, available online. Colored bottles and shelves were made for each other. Peruse antique stores, shop for something hand-blown, or use found objects. Consider appliances that come in a range of colors, and don’t hide them inside cupboards. Include them in your funky kitchen décor. Add an ottoman in a complementary color to freshen the look of your living room. Colorful plants can really brighten up a space. Think beyond green.
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Japanese screens make great visual boundaries for larger rooms. They’re also easy to set up, remove, and store. Install stained glass in your doors and windows, or simply prop larger pieces of colored glass against a high window that gets a lot of light. Your floors and walls will be dappled with color as the sun moves across them. Paint your porch ceiling blue. It will create a cooling, calming effect, which echoes the function of a porch. Flood light on a white wall with amber, blue, or yellow light bulbs. Round up a few of your kids’ oil pastel drawings and combine them into a multi-pictorial poster at zsquaredgraphics.com. Use wallpaper to accent a wall – preferably the largest wall, against which a bed or a sofa rests. Find a picture or
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a piece of your wardrobe to use for color-inspiration. It doesn’t necessarily have to be trendy. Pull colors from that source. Don’t forget about fabric! Add draperies and colorful throw pillows to living rooms and bedrooms – even kitchen nooks. Show off your art against a gray wall – the perfect backdrop. Tips provided by Susan Jakober of Interior Arts, Marnie Keilholz of House Blend, and Amy BurkeLepper or One of a Kind Interior Design.
NURTURING from page 28
PLANTING from page 29
Beau and Gayle will be the first to admit the process which led to this gardenhaven was long, starting when the couple first moved to their property (south of Eau Claire, on Dahl Road in rural Eleva) in 1988. It took an entire season just to prepare the seedbed for the prairie. Having read up on the subject, they dutifully “diluted” the seedbed of weeds and nonnative seeds by tilling and spraying. The couple also spent months collecting seeds in ditches and identifying them before the initial planting. Since then, they have become pros on a number of prairie topics, including burning. Fire, Beau says, is essential to a prairie’s health, as it promotes organic matter and discourages trees and shade – the real enemy – from appearing. Strategic early-spring burnings also help the soil warm up faster by blackening it. The gardeners are so dedicated that they even stage winter plantings, in which seeds are worked into the ground the natural way – by the cyclical freezing and expanding of the ground. For those thinking of restoring a prairie (or any native vegetation), Beau recommends allowing yourself a minimum of five years before you evaluate the progress. “You can’t just say, ‘I’m going to plant a prairie this year,’” says Beau. “It’s not about instant gratification.” While time is a crucial component, a large plot of land is not. Gayle mentions having seen very small “island prairies” in front yards of homes in the middle of Milwaukee, bordered by mowed grass. “It was a more ‘kept’ look,” says Gayle, who admits that to the untrained eye, a yard full of native vegetation can look “unkempt.” Besides the 120-or-so species of native plants and grasses, there is yet another impressive component to Gayle and Beau’s yard: their rainwater collection system, established just last year. Now, when rain runs off their shed roof, it collects into four 275-gallon totes. With just one inch of rain, two barrels fill up. Gravity then escorts the water downhill through hoses, which end in their vegetable garden. (Did I mention they also have a vegetable garden?) Gayle says that Eau Claire County and the Master Gardeners offer periodic rain barrel workshops, which focus on similar self-watering set-ups. There are also a slew of classes available for those who want to earn the title of Master Gardener. Gardener or not, if you want to see (and hear) the fruits of Beau and Gayle’s labor, the couple schedules occasional tours of their veritable buffet of native vegetation. Just e-mail Gayle (at prairie email@example.com) to set one up yourself. Wisconsin never looked so good.
Flavor Aversion Season your blooms with red pepper sprays or chili powder to dissuade deer, squirrels, and rabbits from midnight munching. This method requires reapplication after a rainfall. Also keep in mind that the spicy taste may linger when you harvest your vegetables! A letter we got from a local last year, in response to an opinion piece about pesky moles, suggested a combination of chocolate and Ex-Lax dropped into their
burrows, thus killing the rodents.
Oppositional Odors Predator urine is a popular method for keeping pests out of gardens. (Go with the powdered version, if available. It doesn’t evaporate, or leach into the ground as easily as the liquid). And, hey, it’s organic! Long-time
MORE MORE see Check out some of
Beau’s photos of their incredible gardens.
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Bettendorf lives by her “stinky solution” or making her garden “smell so horrible that no critter would dream of getting anywhere near my plants.” She uses a variety of containers filled with a mixture of “wickedly scented products” such as cologne, air freshener, and lotion strategically placed around the critters’ points of interest. One word of caution: make sure they’re covered or won’t tip over and contaminate your soil!
A Volume One special section | I know you’re excited that spring is finally here – we all are – but you have to remember that with the winte...