Archive for May 16th, 2011

Some Of My Babies.

I know, I desperately need a 12-step program.  This time of year just does it to me.  The excitement builds with the first small green buds on the trees, continues with the pushing of small leaves through fresh plowed and planted soil, and seeing one plant I’ve hovered over become two, or more…well it’s like expanding a family.

While clearing a patch of lawn last year I ran across a beautiful flowering shrub hidden under a canapy of cottonwoods.  I had a hint of what it was, but did some research to be certain.  My suspicions confirmed, I was looking at a rough leaf dogwood.  This year I was more then overjoyed to see my one flowering shrub had grown into a little tree, and not only that, it had spread as the ground around it was littered with little plants.  I’ve dug a couple up and moved them into my main yard where they will fill out into dense shrubs with white flowery shows.  Now…just to figure out what complimentary plants to put around them.

There are others through the years I’ve found, transplanted, or left to grow where they are.

This is a farkleberry bush. It’s similar to a huckleberry.  I have several of these native bushes that have sprouted up under established trees in the yard through the last couple years. If you never had farkleberry jam you are really missing out.

The beautiful vine covering the back of what use to be the dog kennel before the oak tree took it out, is a wild trumpet vine that began growing a couple years ago.  Now it’s expanded to cover the entire back and side of the fencing and offers a beautiful display of the most amazing red trumpet flowers every year.  I can not go past it without seeing one or more hummingbirds flitting around between the flowers.

This is just a few of my “salvages”, I’ll post more as they come into bloom or fruit throughout the season.  As well as how many tears I shed as I have to sacrifice a few for the greater good of finding the back of my house again.

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When we bought this acreage of land I had fallen in love with it instantly.  Hearing the birds singing, the sight of the large hawk, owl and eagle that have made homes in the woods, watching the squirrels scampering, the morning sight of the doe with her spring fawn grazing at the woods line, a lush array of greens as if painted by artists brushes, what wasn’t to love?  The added element of a large woods that encloses the back, wrapping around the property as if giving it a hug just sealed the deal.  It was a lot of work from day one, a poorly planned road being installed which sealed water into my back property like a dam didn’t aid. There is still a lot of work to do, each hurricane we have had offering more as they down trees.  There are patches where nature is reclaiming the far back yard bit by bit each year around where hurricanes have toppled large trees in mist of the underbrush.  I like many of these areas and plan to leave them grow up natural, expanding the woods.  There is also my nightmare area right behind the house where a huge old oak ripped up and fell into a dog kennel when Rita hit, followed by a large willow that toppled atop it with Ike.  That is my goal this year to work through that area and after clearing replant it with some fruit trees and a second raised garden area.

With this clearing work, I’ve been uncovering many diamonds in the rough growing.  Native trees, shrubs and plants which attract the birds and bees and allow the yard to have that “rugged” feel I deeply enjoy, and the wildlife to feel comfortable in the surroundings.  I’ve been blessed in that some of them produce edible foods that I can harvest and use to supplement the food supply of the family.  Farkleberry bushes, wild plums, persimmons, quinces, blackberries, wild grapes and wild strawberries dot the wooded area and woods edge.  Others such as rough leaf dogwood, beautybush, and wild holly make wonderful colorful shrub to weave flower and herb beds around.  Vines such as honeysuckle, wild wisteria, trumpet vines and jasmine climb wild through bramble at the woods edges, some have been harvested, propagated or dug up and moved to cover arbors, fence lines, or make “gateways” to secret gardens.  Even the wild flowers have not been spared from my hunting and harvesting.  Keeping faithful watch on what grows in the yard, forest or ditch bank that year, I have and will harvest their seeds or dig up their roots after they finished their flower show to move into my own flower beds.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I still fill my garden beds with old faithful flowers, but I have learned to use them as accents to the natural elements that nature provides for free.  So next time you look to do some landscaping, rather then visit your local nursery, take a moment to look around your own yard, a woods or field, and see what nature has provided in your area to enjoy.

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