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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The wooded glade

Or what will eventually be the wooded glade, just downhill and to the west of FernGully. Right now it's the shaded slope below the white oaks, pine, and hemlock and a Work Continually in Progress, but progress seems to be occurring. This was the view this morning from the street at the bottom of our lot.

The arrowwood viburnum are finally blooming happily, and those little green things curving away are "Ruby Spice" summersweet, which may not bloom this year but will be spectacular when they do.

Viburnum dentatum "Blue Muffin" in close-up

Last Saturday brought the addition of three fothergilla in addition to the summersweet. They've quit blooming for this year, but next spring their white bottlebrushes should light up the dark area under the white oaks. (Eventually, they may get big enough that I can finally make myself take out the privet.)

Speaking of bottlebrushes, the bottlebrush buckeye that something snapped off near the ground two years ago has come back and will bloom this summer, joining the two in the upper yard.

It is painfully obvious from all the undergrowth visible in these photographs that I am  excessively lax about removing volunteers, even those that we Do Not Want, like Bradford pear, the ubiquitous landscape tree that has forgotten that it was supposed to be a sterile cultivar. Periodically, I cut a swath through the unwanted vegetation to save all the water and soil nutrients for the plants we do want, but the squirrels, birds, and wind keep bringing the volunteers, anyway, and the roots do keep the dirt from washing away in the downpours that seem to be our typical rain these days.
It's also nice to be able to share. So many dogwoods have sprouted that we give them away, and a colleague is waiting for me to pot up some white oak seedlings. 

Other inhabitants of the wooded glade include recent transplants. As much as I am not a fan of hosta, those left by the deer have been divided and some moved to the dry shade near the evergreens. The shade-tolerant white asters that seem to sprout everywhere they're not wanted are being forcibly migrated to the glade, along with the goldenrod that seems not to need too much sun. More ferns are headed that way, along with violets and mint. The single jewelweed passed along by a friend two years ago has produced a hundred or so offspring, so some of our glorious wild impatiens has been moved to FernGully. Being too impatient to wait for color from the late jewelweed, I couldn't resist a young flame azalea, currently strutting its stuff near the middle of the slope.

Our little patch of the Great Eastern Woodland is on its way to being a happy, healthy ecosystem.


David said...

I love your "little patch of the Great Eastern Woodland" and he fact that you are creating "a happy, healthy ecosystem." I also like the names you give places on your property. I've been wanting to do that...and eventually, something that fits will stick, I'm sure.

Your viburnum have me jealous...I need to add a lot more and different varieties...so far, the few I got as divisions from friend's wild property, are too small to bloom yet--I'm hoping I can prevent another infestation of whatever non-native bug that has been attacking them over the past couple of years...I'm actually surprised to see how big they were this spring, considering basically every last leaf had been eaten or turned to lace. Maybe I'll be sporting some photos of their blooms in a few years. Imagine what your glade will look like by then!

My woodland project between our neighbor and us is slowly taking shape as the spice bush has finally become pretty well established along with some other understory trees and shrubs I've added.

My mother was given a flame azalea years ago--I had never seen anything like it in the woodlands I'd explored, so I didn't really realize how special it was. I hope yours fairs better than hers did--she had it only a few years (but I think our soil had not been amended enough by that point.

I look forward to seeing how your glade fills in--by the looks of it, it is well on its way.

Rebecca said...

Thanks, David. Today's project in the glade-to-be (which still looks pretty tatty, by suburban standards) is to dig out the Bradford pear seedlings and put in some heuchera and (shudder!)annual impatiens. The slope faces a well-traveled street that includes some fairly expensive homes, so I need to give it a more-or-less conventional look while the glade fills in with natives.

The viburnums are sheer luck. They get nothing from us except occasional water. I suspect the viburnum disease hasn't hit here yet.

David said...

I think your glade-to-be is shaping up nicely...but then, I'm not the traditional suburban dweller--and, actually now I'm not a suburban dweller at all (6 years and counting).

I'm not crazy about impatiens (although I do like the touch-me-nots)...however, they are not all bad, and if that is the price of creating a natural setting in the suburbs, they will be a nice transition until the natural beauty of your creation takes hold.

Congrats on the viburnums. I put a few tiny ones in, and I want MORE. I've not even heard of the viburnum disease...but I have seen a non-native pest that attacks them. Originally, I was excited to see an insect (which I was assuming was native at the time) utilizing a native. Now I know better!

Keep up the great work!

David said...

Oh, and I found I that I might have a flame azalea as well! (Or, it might be some kind of hybrid...hope not.)

A year or two ago, I saw an unmarked deciduous azalea at a native plant sale. It looked like pinxterbloom azalea which I'd bought the year before...and I wanted more. Someone at the sale agreed with me that it looked like another pinxterbloom, but couldn't swear to it.

This year, right as my pinxterbloom was finishing up, the flame (?) azalea started to bloom. I wasn't planning on getting one any time soon, but, I'm glad to have it--especially knowing it will help provide for hummingbirds.

Rebecca said...

I love it when mislabeled plants turn out to be something wonderful A couple of years ago, I picked up what was supposed to be the native white clematis but turned out to be clematis viorna. I had never heard of the plant but have come to love its restrained habit and sweet little pink and yellow bells.