Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My 'Would-be' Woods

This is what I spent most of my evening doing. Luckily, I am off from work and have time. I've noticed that winter really gives me a chance to see 'the bones' of what I have without much distraction. It also allows me access to an area I can't access much in the height of summer--although I kept my path more open my second summer here than the first.

I look forward to seeing the transformation as I add more trees, understory shrubs, and forbs (wildflowers, ferns, and such). I know it will take a while, but this can be one of the 'before' pics.

Although not labeled yet, I have added a witch hazel above the boulder pictured above, three shagbark hickory seedlings, a six-foot ash tree that I've had in a pot for about 15 years, a spicebush tree/shrub, a transplanted wild cherry, box-elder, and another ash that I found growing too close to the house. I'd like to add two sycamore seedlings I found growing in the flower bed. I'm considering a tulip tree and another white oak (I planted a 3 ft one on the far edge of the woods (the beginning of my meadow (or possible savannah). I'll have to create a list of other trees and understory shrubs that I want to include.

The ash tree was kept in a pot but the roots and some upper branches were trimmed at times to keep it health and manageable. Unfortunately, once it was planted and just when I thought it was growing out of the reach of the deer, a deer bent and broke the main stem. I'm hoping it will recover this spring.

I look forward to seeing this progression! I have to stop calling it 'the would-be woods' --"the will-be woods' doesn't have the same ring to it, so maybe I'll end up calling it 'the woods'.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Rocks, Rocks, and More Rocks

The first rock (with the shovel to show scale) was moved to this temporary location late this fall. I flipped it end over end and plan to use it as part of my planned streambed. I'm hoping to create a few waterfalls and perhaps a small pond or wider, slower section to the stream. This rock is the largest of the three shown, although there is a huge boulder in the background (the picture doesn't do it justice).
The other picture show the three rocks I collected today and a few of the others I've gathered so far. There are many more for me to choose from and most of the time, when I'm digging a hole for a tree, I find a few more. Many of them are rounded from glacial scraping I think. Whatever the reason, they are the right shape for the streambed I have pictured in my head.
In addition to the rocks for the streambed, I moved several stacked stone for the rock wall or patio, and I took cut back another small multifloral rose. I guess, it doesn't seem like much, but I got something done outside today. Not bad for a winter's day.

What Will be the Woodland

I love having breaks in the winter that allow me to get something done in the yard. The first two winters we were here, I was able to cut out several of the huge, invasive multifloral rose bushes.
There are four wild cherry trees in the same area; three of them are mature. There is a fifth mature wild cherry near by. This section that was mostly over run by the multifloral rose will become the woodland. There are also an elm tree, three apples, a hawthorn, two young (I suspect) nut trees of some kind, and a large service berry tree on the far end. In addition to the trees there are the remains of some sumac trees and two elderberry bushes that are taller than me.

Here's looking forward to more winter reprieves for me to get something else done. That'll get me through to spring.

A Sunny Winter Day's Work

It was sunny today. What snow we had has been gone for a bit and the top inch or so of soil is thawing. So, I had to go out and do something in the yard. I chose to move some rocks for a recirculating stream bed with waterfalls that I plan to install later.
The picture above shows the (soon-to-be meadow) in the side yard second acre. The greener areas shows one of the mowed paths that I've come up with so far. One of the three bluebird boxes is shown. Before I went out in the yard, I saw a bird or two checking out the house. It was too far away for me to tell if they were bluebirds. By the time I got the binoculars they were gone.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What I Found There

Above is a partially labeled list of what was already on the property before we purchased it. The red astric (*) indicates a non-native. In the past two years, I have added quite a few native trees, shrubs, seedlings, forbs, and grasses. Many are lost in the expanse--but I know where they are and 'visit' them on my walks through the yard. As they grow & spread and I add to each area, they will become more pronounced and noticable.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Better Late Than Never

Although it is a month or two after I intended to do it, I finally cut some fence and made some circular enclosures to put around the hemlock seedlings I put in this spring--and the 4 foot tall one from last year. They are 2-3 year old seedlings and the deer already 'trimmed' two of them for me--and stripped two others.

I also put some up to protect the Pinxterbloom azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides synonymous with R. nudiflorum) and the witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) that I planted nearer the house. I think they are a bit safer, but I've seen the results of deer eating things close to the house before, so I feel safer having them protected until they are bigger and can handle more munching.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Our Two Acres

Hey, so far the blog has lit a fire under me. I have wanted to create several aerial view plans of our property. Today I actually created the first one. Considering that I wasn't able to use the program I intended to, it turned out better than I expected--but not as good as I'd envisioned.

This is what I started with two years ago. I have made some small changes and hope to update the plan to reflect the changes. Then as I make more I will continue to update. I'd also considered creating a 'future plans' design.

The structures shown from left to right, the garage, a greenhouse, and the house with deck.

There are several trees on the property, and I intend to add more. So far, I've added quite a few seedlings. I will elaborate on this in a future post. Also, I will try to list the trees that are currently growing on the property.

Until next time,


Monday, December 14, 2009

Thinking Spring Already

Winter has not even officially started yet, but I'm already thinking spring. I've decided I'd attempt a blog and post pictures to record the progress. So far, I mostly have just "before" pictures. I'm not sure I'll ever really have "after" pictures as this will always be a work in progress.

It has been two years since my partner and I bought our house with two acres of land. Recreating a native habit has been a dream of mine since I was about 18. My parents had a love of nature, and they passed it along to me and my siblings. Each of us always dreamed of buying five acres or more of land. With the reality of the expense, we've all cut back on our dreams. It only took me 20 years, but I finally have two acres of land in the country with which to work (and play).

Although I'm a procrastinator, I hope to keep this blog updated. Maybe this will inspire me to do an aerial view of what we have on the property now, and then, follow up with changes that were made and future plans. They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. This post is my first (documented) step. ~smile~