Monday, September 24, 2007

The Cost of Development

Our garden is, of course, laid out in a woodland... not a pristine virgin forest, to be sure, but rather a very brushy second growth scrub woods. Still, it provides a dense, leafy, cool oasis, with a rolling contour and a nice pond all along one side. When I first started the garden, it was just a few little patches of flowers, and otherwise basically a walk in the woods. Over the years the cultivated parts have become more extensive, so that its now almost a cohesive garden in the woods. I just finished converting one of the last sections of meandering dirt path into a bark-chipped walkway... this part of the garden is little developed otherwise, being mainly woods, but the path winds along the pond, then down into a ravine and across a bridge.
On the one hand it's nice to be able to now walk all around the garden without spilling your drink by having to bend over to get under branches, but on the other hand, you always lose something by development; I've lost some of the sene of mystery in the garden, by clearing brush... I wonder if people will still get lost out there. Of course I also worry about destroying bird habitat (though only an acre of our woods is garden). I comfort myself by the knowledge that if we hadn't bought this land, it would be all houses now, with the hooting of the barred owls replaced by the roar of riding mowers and the whine of air conditioners.
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My dream is to do exactly what you have done - someday own a plot of acres that we can basically turn into a wild garden for the birds and bees, etc. But, alas, my wife likes city-living, so we are in a traditional fenced-in yard.

You've done a great job with this.
Moe... we can be sitting in Kinnick stadium in 15 minutes.
I happen to fear the uncleared land because of the wildlefe that you have so perfectly captured in your photos. The balance that I have struck with nature: keep my husband with me so that nature can thrive and do what God intended, LIVE. Check out my book "Diary of a Wannabe Gardener" I think you will enjoy the humor and honesty of a not so brave gardener in the south. View it at
Dorothy... southern gardeners just seem to have a knack for writing.

And I hope that someday, someone else will treasure your land for the same reasons... and keep it the way you're developing it. Great job!
Shady... one thing I've learned over the years, is never go back and look at your old gardens!

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