Tackling the basics

We tackled some big projects in the first six months, but only begun to get to the garden as the year came to a close.  There is more than enough for the year ahead, a lifetime, and probably beyond!

Here’s the garden part of the story, bit by bit.

We’ll fast forward to the spoiler.  We worked with a design-forward firm to help envision and plant the front foundation bed.  The design process was a good discussion and offered some new information for me on the use of natives.

Through a series of issues, some on their side and another on ours (the 100+ year-old water main to the main road had corroded to the point of leaking and needed to be replaced in November — a big, ugly scar up the middle of the yard that will remain until we can replant in the Spring), this part of the garden went in on the cusp of winter.  We’ll have to see how that fares when spring comes around given the extremely cold winter we’ve had this year. More on the front bed in a future post.

The other gardening endeavor was tackling the seemingly endless litany of invasive plants and stuff gone amuck in the bordering areas.  Truly astounding how much there is around the wooded areas. We’re working to restore those areas so the woodlands can thrive.

Japanese stilt grass. Beggar’s lice (hackelia virginiana), elbowing out other plants in the area, with seeds that stick to everything you’re wearing and are nearly impossible to get out.  Small, very thorny black locust suckers from an ancient stump. Garlic mustard. These are just a few of the gifts that awaited us.  Lots of hand pulling and lots of cutting involved.  They will most certainly come back again given that seeds live on for years in the soil.  M spent some time forging a small path through the back forest, which is over-run with berberis, a landscape shrub that can be very invasive if it gets into the woodland ecosystem.

Below all of this, when the time comes to plant, are rocks, rocks and more rocks in a clay soil base.  It’s all in a day’s work and I’m up for the challenge.

I’ve been ordering native shade perennials that do well under black walnuts in quantities that go well beyond the tiny garden in our old suburban house.  “Scale” is the key to planning when it comes to our new home.

I could literally garden every weekend of Spring, Summer and Fall and there will be much left. But I look forward to it, as only a gardener could.  The progress so far has been satisfying ,anyway!