Making a holiday sign for the front gate at Gaiety Hollow has put me in the holiday spirit! If you haven’t seen it yet, we hope that our sign brings you some joy this holiday season.

The idea originated when Pam said she wished we had a front sign, so people knew where Gaiety Hollow was located. That wish, together with a piece of luan plywood from my home shop and several rainy weekends, resulted in a lighted holiday sign! I have always been enamored by old world craftmanship but sadly, the days of hand painted signs are long gone in this age of vinyl, plastic, and 3D printers. There is much exquisite craftmanship in the fence work and brick work at Gaiety Hollow… a vinyl banner simply wouldn’t do!

The sign has received many compliments and it seems to fit in well with the house and garden.

Just a quick bit about the construction. I had some thin scrap plywood laying around my home shop that I thought would fit the gate perfectly. Chet Zenone helped me cut dado joints from some scrap cedar left over from the Reserve Garden fence project. We used that to frame and reinforce the sign, and also protect the end grain. The hand lettering was the tricky part, but also proved to be a welcome chore to distract an often- overthinking mind on a rainy socially distanced weekend. I had clearly forgotten how therapeutic painting can be when it’s more than just rolling Strand Green on 5oo pieces of lathe!

Drilling out the 400 plus holes for the lights was a bit of a chore, but the design allows the sign to look good both day and night. KC Meaders provided some custom metal brackets from his blacksmith shop so the sign can be easily mounted on the existing gate and taken down without any tools.

Like so many Conservancy projects this was a labor of love, made totally of donated goods and with help from volunteers. In this time of giving and as we wrap up the year, it is important to recognize how much love and energy has poured into this garden for the past 90 years. I think back on how much work it must have been for those carpenters who built the original fences, pergolas, and gates for Elizabeth and Edith. When I think of them nailing together all that lathe with a hammer and tacks, I thank the heavens I was born into the age of air compressors and nail guns! But I will always appreciate the look of something handcrafted.

I hope you appreciate our handcrafted sign as it hangs from the gate for the holiday season. We at the Lord & Schryver Conservancy wish you joy and cheer and a soon to be Happy New Year!