My gardening is about as haphazard as my housekeeping. Plants and trees just sort of fend for themselves, and left to their own devices they never cease to amaze me. Years ago, when I first built this house, planted assorted trees and other plants….not counting the volunteers in my notorious “tree garden.” One of the prettiest of my flowering varieties, with marvelous pink flowers, kept pace with another ornamental tree nearby…until we had an especially cold winter about five years ago which froze out and killed quite a lot of specimen in this area. Although it has been apparent that this tree was indeed defunct, what with its growth covering of lichen. The branches literally disintegrated to the point where many were removed by the wind itself.
Ever the optimist, last year I determined that among the miscellaneous plant life growing in the vicinity, several shoots were thought to be trees, but their species was quite unknown to me, and could be one of numerous trees in the near neighborhood. So I let the people that wield weed-wappers and chainsaws, and such, in the area…that these weed-appearing growths are to be left alone. The tree itself kept developing lichen, and chunks of it kept falling off…I could push the whole thing over if so inclined.
This morning my daughter (who lives next door) and I went for a walk around the place and I pointed out the tree, and its new growth. The bark of the tree has reminded me of cherry tree bark, and the shoots were developing thickness enough to see that the bark was the same. As my eye traveled up the tree…there were three pink flowers…which I recognized as being related to the tree in question, and a closer look found two more blossoms further down the branches.
I of course ran in the house to grab my camera. My first shots were badly over exposed, with the sun high up behind the blossoms, so that the sky was bright and drowned out the delicate pink color. Each blossom is about an inch in diameter.
When I built my house in the middle of the cabbage patch about sixteen years ago (with my little hammer and nails) I decided to preserve a patch of former farm land to create a garden area. Envisioning trails and paths through tall stately trees, flowering shrubs and perennials, I set out to physically dig out certain areas to accommodate raised beds of Boxwood and Myrtle, Winterberry and Rhododendron.
The size of the Tree Garden is approximately 80 feet by maybe 40 feet. The patch was really an area behind my house and in front of the barn, where my late husband and his family had farmed for half a century before my time. The land had been part of about 12 acres on which all kinds of crops: cabbage, corn, tomatoes, cauliflower, apples, rhubarb, onions, garlic…and various other foods like herbs and lettuce.
The land was split up, with four acres or more going to the state of Ohio for a highway, selling of 13 acres to neighbors in the land-locked parcel on the other side, leaving 8 1/2 acres including our original house. When my husband died in 2000, my daughter and son-in-law bought much of the remainder … and I built a new house to the East. There is still about two acres in a vacant lot, and about an acre and a half where my house is.
So…to get back to the Tree Garden parcel. The piece was pretty much over-growing with saplings and assorted volunteer plants and shrubs. Over the years it was shaped through arbitrary pruning and removal of young trees to form sections which would be cleared and shaped into paths. I intend to include some photos with this post that more or less illustrate what I am trying to do.
For years only the youngest grandkids understood what I was trying to do back there. But as it took shape eventually my vision was better understood.
Now the basic shaping is pretty much workable, as the Maple, Oak, and various trees I am not sure of, became so tall and so big that they needed to be Pruned with a chain-saw. The paths have become clear and discernible, and garden aspects are clearer.
The tall Pampas Grass I planted back there took over, but has now died back, or rather probably the deer trampled it during winter. Originally when I set up the garden I planted some big shrubs like Hawthorne and Black Pussy Willow which flourished then died off probably because of too much shade as the trees grew.
This year (again) I plan (hope) to build an arch from maple-tree-culls cut from the paths. Also I’d like to plant some more perennials, shade ones this time, and paint some signs and plaques and stuff, paint the old bird cage hanging from a tree, resurrect the huge plaster Sun with its ray tips broken off. Hang up some of the wonderful treasures from garage sale junk boxes acquired. Use up some of the numerous plastic/silk flowers in the basement, line the paths with rocks (ha! that ain’t going to happen), and create a couple of seating places back there….which will involve mosquito control.
Big plans….more than likely I’ll spend more time on the blog talking about what I’d like to do. 🙂
Here are some photos taken in the last year or two, with examples of the assortment of critters that live in the Tree Garden and nearby, and some of the “decorations” natural and ornamental. I had to look closely to see the one cat in these photos, a white cat named “coon tail” because he has a striped tail. Peggy is one of my most photogenic outdoor cats, odd she isn’t in any of these pics, but I was choosing from thumbnails so some of the details didn’t show up.
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