Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Garden of the mind
As the years have gone by, our garden has gone from a few patches of flowers to a fairly cohesive garden, but still there is both this real garden, and a second, ghostly garden of the imagination... a garden of dreams and schemes, of future plans, and half-baked ideas that never come to fruition. The picture above is exhibit A for this second garden, for this is my woodland brook, or would be if I'd ever actually started it. As it is, it is a ravine clogged with brush. It was to be the centerpiece of the garden; the ravine goes downhill to the four acre pond at the bottom of the hill, and I planned to pump water uphill, and let it cascade back down to the pond, passing under the two bridges that cross the ravine. Whenever we'd take people on a garden tour, I'd always pause dramatically, and describe in loving detail, this stream of the future, alluding to the lovely splashing that would echo through the shady glen. Unfortunately, as years went by, with no sign of water, some of our friends started getting a little pithy about my stream. Our friend Hampy, always inquires in a loud voice where the babbling brook is. From now on, I'll keep my garden plans to myself.
The trees and bushes in the woods are laden with fruit and berries, branches groaning halfway to the ground with an ocean of wildlife delights. As a result, the garden is just alive, with hundreds and hundreds of birds of all sorts, drawn here from all over, to gorge on this feast. I've told recently, how, with our ongoing drought, that when I go out to water with the hose, that birds start flying down for a shower... it's kind of like Hitchcock's "The Birds"; first one bird shows up, then another, and the next thing you know, there are birds everywhere. Today a whole flock of young red-eyed vireos flew down, and just bathed and fluttered to their heart's content in the cool spray. This got me to thinking about setting up a source of running water for the birds. We have cats, though, so it can't be on the ground, but I started thinking about setting up a tall, upright pipe, with running water at the top. I could run it out of the goldfish pond. Of course, I'd need a pretty good pump, and a filter... Ah, another addition to my imaginary garden.
Friday, August 26, 2005
A Walk In The Garden Today
We've just flat out had a TERRIBLE growing season here... our record-setting late freeze, causing unprecedented damage to the garden, then a summer long drought. All of this has put terrible stress on shrubs and trees, and I'm seeing spotty appearence of fall coloration and leaf drop... in this case a native dogwood. I have a feeling it's going to be a grim winter here.
A pathway not shown before, which curves off into the woods, and includes our life-size gargoyle, sitting back in a wooded spot by himself.
Another side pathway I hadn't shown on the grand garden tour; this one meandering through hostas and azaleas.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
The Wee Garden
There are those who probably describe me as being short; I prefer to think of myself as being powerfully compact... we have season tickets to the Iowa Hawkeye football games, and I can tell you that, while tailgating, more than once a young chickie has come up to me and asked me to open up her twist off top beer bottle, and if I'm able to get it open, they make quite a fuss over me! Still, being my height does make for some hazards in our garden, because I constantly have to trim shrubs and trees back from the meandering woodland pathways, and while I try to trim up as high as I can, there are limits to my reach. I always say that touring our garden is probably like walking through a house built for dwarves. It's not unheard of therefore, for one of our lankier guests to get interested in looking down at some little plant blooming, and to get dusted off by a low-hanging limb. I guess that's just one of the hazards of being real tall. Heh heh!
Monday, August 22, 2005
More about yellowjackets: I don't have to dig up their nests to get whacked. This time of year, the black cherries and mulberries are dropping to the ground in droves, and the yellow jackets are feeding on the ground, and get really buzzed up on all this sugar... step close to one and you may get zapped!
A Walk In The Garden Today
Stretching Our garden Tour
Just to expand a teensy bit more on our garden tour... back up just outside the Sun gates to the front of the garden, and look down the front path to the angel Hernia.
I mentioned that at the end of the trail that goes by a rhododendron-azalea bed, steps lead down to a bridge across a ravine... this view is looking back across the bridge to the steps. There is a Celtic cross at the top of the steps. My wife, Liz, also built this bridge (she's a handy little babe).
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Well, my summer is complete... it seems to be an annual thing that I stick my nose into at least one yellow jacket nest, usually digging it up. This time I was moving a woodpile. Fortunately, I've learned to run like hell at the first sting, so damage is limited anymore. The first time it happened in this garden, they were all over me, and under my clothes, by the time I took off.
Stingy Thingies and I usually get along just ducky together... this is a large colony of paper wasps under one of our eaves, that we live peacefully with, though I grill right near this spot, and have to check under the grill for new nests before I start it up.
Let's Walk a little further down the trail
I thought I'd expand our last garden tour a little: I mentioned a trail going straight away from the angel in the direction she's facing, going downhill, and this is it, with cardinal shrubs blooming. If you stand at the bottom of this hill, and look up, the angel is peacefully gazing at you, flanked by these long flower beds, with the cedar tree drooping over her.
At the end of my last garden tour, after you pass under the arch at the back of the garden, if you look to your left, this wooden gate leads to a trail that winds downhill to the large pond.
If, instead of going down to the pond, you turned to the right, this is the long pathway uphill ... lots of roses, lilies, rhodys, daylilies, and hydrangeas on the left, a very large, deep ravine on the right, with a creek at the bottom. This trail eventually curves off to the left, into a relatively new area of the garden, that I've not shown, with a bunch of garden beds just being filled in.
A Walk In The Garden Today
This is a katsura tree, usually a delicate little thing, but can get quite large... hopefully we'll have good fall foliage this year, and I'll show it then.
Delicate thug: Japanese anemone... a creeping, smothering, tidal wave of delicate pink blossoms... love it or hate it.