Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter 2016 …

The pages of the calendar have been falling off, much like the last holdout leaves on the Beech trees around the ol’ homestead. With today’s day break we celebrate and early Easter and with it some of the first blooms of the season.

Blooming in traditional Easter colors of yellows, pinks and white are forsythias and peach trees.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring Woodland Preparations …

After several rainy weekends and numerous other setbacks, the annual spring mulching of the forest around the ol’ homestead finally got underway properly this weekend, as shown in the preceding picture below. In the foreground you can see the freshly mulch mowed area while the background and left side of the photo shows the forest leaf letter yet to be shredded. For some years I have tried to give at least a spring mulch mowing to the woods as a means of grooming the property. Most people have front yards; I on the other hand have front woods to which I lavish as much time on as other do their grassy lawns. Perhaps it is a deep seeded desire for said lawn that causes my obsession with keeping the forest floor in such condition.

Other, less then glamorous tasks, is the constant picking up of tree pieces. Living in the woods, one must expect twigs and braches to require picking up. However, since a devastating wind storm some years back, stressed tress that have finally given up the will shower me with gifts on a regular bases. As in the opening picture details, a maple that has slowly been dying a piece at a time bestow a fairly large limb into the head of the driveway installation the other week after heavy winds followed heavy rain. I have not as of yet removed the limb since I am enjoying the organic look it has added. In the next few weeks as my property clean-up work takes me into that vicinity I will remove it, but for the time being I am happy with the look.

My attention has been pulled to the natural growing rhododendron and hollies in a section of the upper front woods. As I continue to clean around in the area I am playing with the idea of creating an installation here and using the plants as the anchor. This will be more than a weekend project as the two picture below show the need of much clean-up and removal of downed limbs. But I feel it would be not so much a destination installation but more of a viewing feature. The first picture below shows the homestead in the background. And while not an often use spot I am sure it would offer a respite when out wondering about the acreage.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Vernal Equinox 2016

Earliest spring since 1896! The 2016 vernal or spring (or fall) equinox comes on March 20 at 4:30 UTC (March 19 at 11:30 p.m. CDT)

A most interesting read,

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Source Points Of Inspiration …

The Blue Ridge Mountains can be a treasure trove of source points to inspire garden/landscaping installations. Dotted through the region one can find abandoned home sites marked by a solitary sentinel of the past. Found deep in the woods this lone chimney attests to human presents, long gone the inhabitants and wood bracing but still standing strong against the elements the rock remain. Rock harvested from the very mountains upon which it sits. More times than not, such chimneys found have already succumbed to the forces of nature and are nothing more than piles of rubble. Rubble that the forest has or soon will reclaim with a covering of vine and leaf litter, and with rain and the softening of the ground beneath, the rocks will once again return from which they came.

Having long coveted a ruin garden of my own. Last summer I set about the installation of one. Not having ruins, I made my own and used the concept of the lone chimney as my point of inspiration. I dry stacked a base that would serve as a planting area and then placed rocks back through the preexisting plant to resemble a rubble field that would have appeared when collapse of the upper part of the structure would have occurred.

To the installation I added a “homage” to early homesteaders in the area with the addition of a tool totem of found implements. I want to fine tune this installation a more this year and add at least one more tool totem and more indigenous plants. However, progress has been slow this spring since the winds of March have now turned to rains of March.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Contemplation Of New Beginnings . . .

After 14 years and many failed attempts at gardening on these partially wooded acres I have come to the realization that I need, nay require a fresh design paradigm. For far too long I have thrown both time and money into the attempts at creating aesthetically pleasing landscapes, which become nothing less than dinner plates for the indigenous herbivores. A great salad bowl filled with the most exotic and expensive ingredients to tantalize the most discerning palate of members of the Cervdae and Leporidae families. Of which both have eaten most greedily. And who does one blame, one self of course. Having set a beautiful table I should expect the inevitable, but year after year I followed the trends of the day as well as traditional gardening design and I now trek out, forging my own path of garden/landscape design.

The course I have chosen will not be easy, all ready as spring begins to creep back into the woodlands I feel the urge to plant bulbs and organize boarders. Dare I admit to having already purchased two packs of Gladiolus bulbs, which pre chance is an oddity of the woodland. Deer and rabbit will eat the Gladiolus but as of yet have not touched the Iris bed. Curious indeed, this will require a little research.

Then there is the question of sustainability in an augmented natural setting. This will be a unique concept I feel, not that sustainability is new to gardening. But how I will approach the matter when compared to a design that is visually pleasing to look at from a human standpoint and being
un-appetizing to the herbivore population and still attractive to the pollinators.  There will be the need for research into the native plant species and list made as to those desirable for the new design and overall appeal for a more regional compatibility and cohesion.

Finally, there will need to be a review of current garden installations, what is working and thus to be kept. And what installations were epic failures and need to be erased from the landscape. A generalized new beginning all around will take place.

Shouldering spade I now muster onward…