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

Sunday, January 24, 2016

At it Again

For years now, I've collected seeds of native plants from my yard...and the roadside.  I propagate them...and as the years go by, I seem to collect more and more--I do have 2 acres to fill. ~smile~

Early this fall, I was out collecting things and waiting for more to ripen.  After a while I slowed down...I think I collected a bit more last year than this.  Today, while walking the yard, I spotted some seedheads of one of my favorite goldenrods--early goldenrod (Solidago juncea--I had to look that up).  Up until now, I've not included the seeds of Solidago species in my seed mixes--they have occurred naturally on their own, and through natural succession, the goldenrods do eventually seem to take over.  I want to include them--for their beauty and their high wildlife value.  I just don't want to speed up the succession process.  I'm making an exception with S. juncea...it doesn't appear to be one of the goldenrod species that tends to make huge stands.

I collected the seeds of the 2 or 3 individuals that showed up a couple of year ago--they've not spread on their own...and, being a favorite, I want many more of them.

Before my walk was over, I'd collected a handful of the goldenrod seeds along with some frost aster, and a few other aster species.

I'll add this bouquet to my seed collection.  February is fast approaching--that has become my traditional winter sowing month. 

Winter Dreaming


potential bench:  a before picture


Despite how quiet I've been, I have been making steady progress--even some large strides in some areas.  I've even had some "post-worthy" wildlife encounters.  My best bet for sharing those are to go through the past year or so's pictures and share them (and the stories that go with them) as I rediscover them.  It is hard to believe that I've basically lost a year of so of documenting my progress.

Yesterday, I was out walking the yard, waiting to see if we'd even get an inch of snow from the huge storm (Jonas, I think) that was walloping areas south of here.  We got nothin'

Surprisingly, I was a little disappointed, (considering how THRILLED I've been with the unseasonably warm weather we had in November and December--I worked outside every chance I had).  Part of me wanted about 2 or 3 inches, just enough to blanket the ground to simplify and beautify the yard.

While walking, my mind toyed with various ideas I've had lately about making a natural-looking bench that would blend in with the natural landscape I envision for our habitat garden.  As I walked past a 5-foot tall locust tree growing at the edge of a path alongside my future native meadow, instead of my usual thought of cutting it down (it is invading the meadow which I want to keep in an earlier stage of succession)...I looked to the lower branches and decided to cut the tree right above its three lowest branches--my thoughts, far-fetched perhaps, are to encourage it (and manipulate it) to grow some low, thick, horizontal branch (a horizontal trunk really), that I will eventually be able to turn into a natural seating area.  Eventually, I plan to kill the tree...but its wood resists decay, so I'm hoping I'll have it for many years to come--assuming the idea comes to fruition.

The placement, right by the path and in the middle of the meadow, seems ideal for a "bench.

Cut to the lowest branches...bench height.

This will be trained to grow horizontally...or even arch to the ground.

Here is another potential (and more realistic) natural seating area.  This  was my first idea--using a chainsaw to carve out a bench that would (hopefully) appear natural.  This wood, though, is already showing signs of decay, so its life span would be fairly short.