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Archive for Thursday, May 8, 2008

Closer to the earth

Lawrence family’s home blends into landscape

Chris (pictured above) and Steve Edmonds live on the northwest side of Clinton Lake. Their property blends into the landscape with its unique design and use of native limestone pulled from the construction site. The limestone was also used to create flowerbeds, steps and numerous retaining walls on the south side of the home.

Chris (pictured above) and Steve Edmonds live on the northwest side of Clinton Lake. Their property blends into the landscape with its unique design and use of native limestone pulled from the construction site. The limestone was also used to create flowerbeds, steps and numerous retaining walls on the south side of the home.

May 8, 2008

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A background of redbud trees frames a metal windsock at the home of Chris and Steve Edmonds.

A background of redbud trees frames a metal windsock at the home of Chris and Steve Edmonds.

Chris Edmonds greets some of her family's horses in the pasture below their home, located northwest of Clinton Lake.

Chris Edmonds greets some of her family's horses in the pasture below their home, located northwest of Clinton Lake.

What a magnificent day it was the morning I was driving out to view Chris and Steve Edmonds' garden.

As I walked up to meet Chris Edmonds, we both took a moment to absorb the panoramic view, with white caps on Clinton Lake in the distance.

The Edmondses would be hard-pressed to create a more spectacular setting than that which Mother Nature has so aptly provided. We look out to 80 acres of land, a crystal clear view of the lake, a handful of horses grazing in the pasture below, and it is truly bliss.

"We are surrounded by Corps of Engineers land, so our view will never be obscured," Chris Edmonds says. "My favorite part about living out here is feeling closer to the earth. We've planted some perennials but we've tried to keep it looking more natural. The beauty that nature just gives us almost can't get better."

It is clear that when the Edmondses constructed their dream home, the house was just another facet of nature, meant to blend and mold into the land as if the two developed out of the dirt together.

"The entire idea was to have a great flow bringing nature and the home together as one, having the home look like it just comes out of the landscape," Edmonds says. "All the trees were here. We really didn't have to knock down many of them. However, when we were developing the site we excavated all the rock you see. We had three huge mountains of gigantic rock."

And they have put those rock mounds to terrific use, as the man-made landscape is tiered with limestone walls, walkways, fence posts and a dry river bed.

"It is nice to get out and get my hands in the dirt," Edmonds says. "I enjoy the structuring of the garden as well, particularly with the rock work."

This is a superb setting for anyone, but if you are an artist who finds her inspiration in nature, it just doesn't get any better.

"I've been an artist all my life, looking back," Edmonds says. "My dad was a woodworker; my grandmother was a poet. I was just raised with a general appreciation of art. Nature, however, is my direct inspiration for art. I'll work from a photo or the colors of nature will be my palette."

The artist in me notices the ochers and oranges in the landscape as we peer out over the vista.

A turkey vulture dances in the air above.

"The pelicans are elegant fliers as well," Edmonds says. "They come through in the spring and fall as they migrate."

She points out a large bald eagle's nest that is visible with the naked eye, but when we peer through her telescope, it is a sight few humans can claim to have experienced.

There, the mama bald eagle sits her majestic white head above the branches that she has used to fashion this enormous nest. Chris and I agree the nest must be at least 10 feet wide. Her babies nestle in, protected and enclosed in the spacious living quarters.

Chris and Steve adore living in the country for their love of nature, the space and solitude.

"We do a lot of hiking, walking, horseback riding and maintenance," Edmonds says. "We actually enjoy having the upkeep. We try to keep it simple, originally, I only wanted one perennial garden to weed but Steve kept adding more beds.

"But seriously, gardening is great because it gets me outside. I love having a wild bouquet in the house all the time."

- Jennifer Oldridge, a Kansas University graduate, is an avid gardener who previously operated a landscaping business.

Comments

TheEleventhStephanie 6 years, 6 months ago

By the time you even notice dandelions in the spring, they are usually too old and bitter to be any good.Unless you like old and bitter.

KEITHMILES05 6 years, 6 months ago

Oh, the beauty of those who are green. Just makes me tickle all over!

tunahelper 6 years, 6 months ago

however, gardening is more fun with 2,4-D and Diazinon!I Love the smell of pesticides in the morning.

Linda Hanney 6 years, 6 months ago

The Wildlife and Parks area above Clinton Lake is a beautiful, diverse area. The Edmonds' love of their natural setting is understandable. The city of Lawrence is fortunate to have public access available to the Wakarusa Valley closeby.

igby 6 years, 6 months ago

There's a wolf in my garden. Two nights ago I heard this cat scream. She's been hanging around for about a year or so. I put out food for her every day. This morning I found her remains craped out on my front door step. How strange, this predator must have a sense of sick humor and discontent for ones pet, that he takes a crap on your door step to let you know what happened to your pet. Oread district!I'm going to be watching for him next time.

Robert Rauktis 6 years, 6 months ago

She looks kind of light to have moved all that stone in the picture. There is nothing more natural than a bulldozer and a full pocketbook.

verity 6 years, 6 months ago

Are they going to be on the garden tour?When is the garden tour---I can't find anything about it?

TheEleventhStephanie 6 years, 6 months ago

Gosh, I didn't read anywhere that she claimed to move those rocks with her bare hands. Jealousy sure gets up early in the morning.

scott3460 6 years, 6 months ago

"The Wildlife and Parks area above Clinton Lake is a beautiful, diverse area. The Edmonds' love of their natural setting is understandable. The city of Lawrence is fortunate to have public access available to the Wakarusa Valley closeby."And how great it is to have such good stewards of the natural resources!

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