Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Creating a new space and garden

Consolidating to a smaller house is an "interesting" process. 

We're going to good space.

We've enjoyed it as a weekend and summer home, so we've gradually been changing things to suit it better to be our new space as home.  (It was built by an architect as his own eco-friendly house, so it was full of somewhat unusual personal choices). 

We've changed some things to suit us better over the years, but the blending with the move will bring a more dramatic change, definitely pushing it even more towards a more rustic feel, adding a few favorite old pieces we've had for many years, switching around artwork around, and deciding what suits us best.

We have a view into a ravine forest (a major selling point), now mostly freed of invasive plants.

I posted about that view 2 years ago.  It's a lovely and ongoing project.

My gardening companion has added understory natives and shrubs to the ravine forest, with woodland wildflowers on the list.  The plantings under the eaves of the house are flourishing, with Celandine Poppy and Aquilegia canadensis now in flower.

Golden ragwort:  image from Wikipedia
The Golden Ragwort patches are in full flower, in the front of the house (as well as transplanted patches to the sides and below) -- it's beautiful.  It's a "thug," spreading happily, and will definitely need more editing this spring.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Native plants used as "foundation" plantings

From left to right:
coral honeysuckle, fothergilla, Euonymus, mountain laurel, Leucothoe, Aquilegia, with Christmas ferns and bloodroot, and Carolina jessamine on the front porch rail

And lots of water oak catkins on the front path!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A flourishing woodland garden

It's been wonderful to see how the front woodland garden along the path is flourishing this spring, along with the "foundation" plantings in front of the house.

Even the assessor (from the bank of our buyer) on Tuesday (admittedly a plant enthusiast) admired the nice combination of mountain laurel, rhododendron, fothergilla, and coral honeysuckle in front of the house, as well as the native crested iris, green and gold, Christmas fern, and pussytoes.

He also noticed the wild ginger (he told me his grandmother showed him the small flowers - the "little brown jugs."  He thought they were insectivorous because he'd seen ants in them;  I mildly suggested it was the odor, and they probably weren't insectivorous, but didn't want to totally pop that idea!

Just getting back from the mountains today, I didn't have time to take a photo. It is looking lovely.

Nice to feel like we've made a difference as good stewards of our space here in the Piedmont.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A woodland garden

It was so nice to see the woodland border thriving, in spring guise, returning from the mountains to the Piedmont in the final stages of relocation.

This was a created woodland spot; it was shallow dry grass beneath a water oak when we bought this house.  And there was no pathway to the front of house, either. We put one in ourselves.

Crested Iris in flower
Now the space is full of Christmas ferns, crested iris, bloodroot, pussy-toes, and green and gold - it's a lovely small drought-tolerant woodland patch.

Lonicera sempervirens flowering on the fence nearby

The bloodroot is reseeding everywhere. Here's a "mama" plant with her babies -- remarkable, seen this afternoon.

A "mama" bloodroot and seedlings
Bloodroot seedlings
I'm delighted to see them flourishing.  They've been a favorite spring wildflower for many years.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Paring down books

I've been paring down my gardening and natural history books, with upcoming consolidation to a smaller living space.

It's an interesting process (not without angst).

I think about and weigh (based on my de-cluttering inspirations):  have I looked at this field guide lately?  Do I really want to know as much about dragonflies as this very nice guide provides?  Ditto about caterpillars?  Hmm.

My gardening companion and I don't need duplicates, either, so extras are being shed.

And doesn't the internet now provide access to virtual field guides of all sorts, I'm thinking?

This is at least the 4th time I've gone through the book shedding process, now with increasing intensity as moving looms near (three weeks from Friday), thinking about how much space I'll have for books, and what I really need to go forward in my work in the future, volunteer and otherwise.

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