Monday, June 12, 2017

What kind of gardener are you?


Recently in an attempt to find some other gardeners to chat with, I joined several gardening groups on facebook.  It all seemed so normal at first, plant identification request, questions on mulch, pictures of people’s gardens and flowers. It was all very nice.  Then gradually I started to see a common thread running rampant in these groups, there were so called gardeners who believed the answer to any question was to kill it!  It didn’t matter if it was a native plant, a harmless garter snake or what. Kill, kill, kill was promoted over and over.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, then came the poison it group and the number one promoted item for everything…moth balls. 

What kind of gardeners are these people?

I started gardening, as in I had my own flowers when I was little. Marigolds were (and still are!) my favorite annual. I gradually moved on from annuals to perennials and began carving out my own space in my mom’s yard.  What I learned at her side very early on was that chemicals and death were not the answer to the problems we faced.  If there were certain bugs eating plants, you companion planted to attract the things that would eat those bugs or repel them.  Moles tearing up the yard, my mom planted castor beans and used nematodes for grub control.  Aphids eating roses, bring on the lady bugs!   Poisoning the plant or the soil that was growing our flowers and food wasn’t an option. There was always a better way.

Today I garden the way my mom taught me, I respect the balance that nature has and I do my part to encourage that balance to work. I don’t use pesticides or herbicides in my gardening.  My property is certified by the National Wildlife Federation and by my state as protected habitat. I remove invasive species of plants by hand, I plant native species in an effort to out compete the non native ones and to provide food and shelter for the animals and insects that call my property home.  I nurture any seedling of most native plants (sans poison ivy, oak and sumac because they can grow wild in the untamed woods just on the other side of our fence!) and encourage their growth and spreading.  I also am constantly educating myself on how to garden with nature.  I recently learned that pokeweed berries are a preferred food of eastern blue birds. So now, pokeweed has a place in my garden.

A garden, be it many acres, a few feet or a deck full of planters is a living thing. It provides food and shelter to so many creatures in so many ways.  I can’t look out into my yard and not see nature at work.  I see birds eating seeds, berries and insects, I see all kinds of bees pollinating flowers, I see butterflies, hummingbirds and things I don’t even know the names of yet, flying around and doing whatever it is they do.  They have a purpose, a reason and they fit into this big chain of life.  I see that so clearly.

So me, I guess I’m a humane gardener.

What kind of gardener are you???

Saturday, June 3, 2017

22 days of rain, 2 days of sunshine…

This ‘spring’ has been a roller coaster ride of weather.  We’ve had everything from mid 90’s right to frost warnings.  In addition we were in a moderate drought but after 22 days of rain, that has lifted.

The last 2 days have been beautiful I’m talking crazy beautiful, blue sky, breeze, mid 70’s perfect for getting work done.

Day one found me planting my plethora of plants that I had purchased at the plant sale and nursery trips.  I had already spent a lot of time placing them and deciding where I wanted to plant them.  I actually made note of how large things got and didn’t just plunk stuff down.

Day two I spent mulching and pulling that blasted stilt grass!


This is the ‘new’ portion of the woodland bed.  I’ve made it all the way down to the pond path. 


This is section behind the pond that is newly planted in, I can hardly believe I had enough plants to get all the way down here!


This is the side behind the gazebo, it was mulched and planted in as well.  It looks so nice like this, weeded and mulched. I can’t wait to finish the mulching and start spreading all those woodchips on the paths! 

Then I can move on to the next project, the bird feeder area and my new garden bed.  Of course there is still weeding to do in the back corner, they say damp and rainy again next week, so weed when wet, dig when dry…ish…

Friday, June 2, 2017


I know that things have to change, that however doesn’t mean that I have to love it does it?

Given my choice in the matter I would live smack dab in the middle of say 30 acres with nothing but nature around.  I would not see my neighbors house or any other houses for that matter.  This I will say is just in my dna, I was born on a farm, I grew up living in the woods and it’s just in my makeup to want land all around me.

A few years ago our very nice neighbor cut down all her old pines which left her house very much visible.  We opted to plant some evergreens and hollies to try and compensate for that.

Tree Screen 2015

The problem we encountered was one of more mud less grass and my dear husband reached his breaking point and we had the tree company come out.  Me, I only wanted dead branches, or as I call them ‘widow makers’ taken out.  What I got…


The loss of two large beech trees, a lot of lower limbs and a clear view of the neighbors house.  Sigh…

I can’t really plant anything in this area as this is Cooper’s Corner.  He and Tucker love to play tag around the trees and watch the comings and goings on.  So what is a girl to do? 

On the bright side, all the stick piles are gone and we were left with this..


Two truck loads of woodchips!  These will be used to mulch Cooper’s Corner all the way to the shed.  Spread all along the deer fence on the inside, to cover all my paths in my woodland gardens and the rest will be spread out in front of and behind the woodland bed to rid us of all the weeds.  The best part, Antonio, the tree guy said he would keep me supplied with woodchips.  Yes I’m a simple girl…

Now I must research what I can plant that will grow outside the fence that the deer won’t eat so that we can mute the view of my very nice neighbors house. 

All I know is that grass better grow!!!

The Lost Season

The weather this gardening season has not been conducive to gardening.  We had cold weather up through May.  Then the rains came and contin...