A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Woods

I have written about our little woods before, but I have been asked to show pictures again. So these are a few that I have taken the past few years. This area was not like this when Joe and I first got married. It was quite a mess behind tall grasses all along the back of our property. I kept looking at it and wondering if I couldn't make it prettier. Against Joe's wishes...I went ahead and started to clean this area up. The woods is half ours and the back half is owned by the Byron Nuclear Power Plant. I wondered if they knew how this looked and what a mess it was...full of fence posts, barbed wire, street signs, sawed off trees etc. I decided to send them an email and tell them about it. I said in the letter... that we were trying to make our yard nice for ourselves and our neighbors...I went on to say that they weren't keeping their part up. Their part was kind of a mess. I think that I attached some pictures. I got an email back, saying that they were coming out to take care of the problem

 I had already started on our half and had it pretty much cleaned up when they arrived. Several men with pole saws, weed whackers, tree climbing equipment etc were ready to do "Whatever the lady wants." That is what I was told. I couldn't have asked for more. They worked so hard and kept asking if we wanted more done. Joe asked them to cut some branches that looked sort of precarious. They set to work climbing the tall, tall trees and lopping off branches and tidying all the trees that we asked about.
 This made me so happy...I almost cried. I could visualize a woods full of wild flowers and shrubs and a place to sit and listen to nature.I set to work planting. The first year I planted a Red Bud tree, a Crab Apple, a small Red Maple,and  a lilac.The picture above shows Honeysuckle. Joe built three bluebird houses and placed them across the front of the woods. I found some wrought iron supports and put three of them around the birdhouses. Then I planted honeysuckle at each house.....thinking that the vine would get full and make a nice covering for the houses. This did work...and the honeysuckle is contained there. I only have to trim around the birdhouses in the spring.
 In the fall, that first year, I bought two pounds of shady wildflower seed from American Meadows. When everything was done blooming...I went around like Johnny Appleseed...scattering seed. I have continued with this practice every year since.
 We are Catholic and I wanted a spot where I could put some statues. So that started us on our quest to find just the right ones. We bought St Francis...and made a little garden around him. Joe bought me a bench to sit there during all weather. I like to sit on the bench and watch the birds,read, and think...it's a quiet spot.I think we all need a quiet place to work things out once in a while.

This is the bench that Joe bought me for my birthday one year. It is made of something that with stands all kinds of weather and always looks the same. It weighs a ton!

 St Fiacre is in the picture below.. He is the patron Saint of gardeners.Joe bought this for me for a present one year. He stands there with his spade in hand. Sometimes I wish he could help me with some of my work.
We had a new front porch built and we used the old railings for accent pieces. They are white and show up well in the dark woods.


Here is a picture of the woods at the beginning of fall after i planted the trees.. There wasn't much fall color before, but we are getting there with our additions.

There are fruit trees including Mulberry, Choke Cherry,and  Crab Apple. There are vines with various berries...raspberries and wild strawberries. A haven for the many varieties of creatures that come on wing and foot.It is a registered Wildlife Habitat...The sign hangs on the tree way to the right in the above picture.

Little Angel was recently moved to Mary's Garden in the front of the house.
 A pond is just over the fence...so we've had geese, ducks, and an occasional deer. Joe saw a Bobcat back there once and we have a ground hog family. Chipmunks and moles (we haven't had the moles this year)They seem to like this wild place with only a lady who works there and sits on the bench once in a while
Last year the power plant hired a company to clear their property. They did some cutting down of  smaller trees back there. They just left the stumps and chopped up trees in heaps. Another email to the power plant telling them about this...they responded that they would be out soon to clean up. I really appreciate this because we started the cleanup with someone who we hired, and it was going to be expensive. So they are coming again and we will have a front row seat to watch the goings on. 
We buy something each year to improve this area. This year we are planting a Bottleneck Buckeye and I am searching for some Goatsbeard. They both  have white flowers and will show up in the woods from the house.The woods never looks the same from year to year. Many of the flowering plants have lasted only a season or two. I think that the trees are getting bigger and so much fuller that the increased shade has really done a number on many plants.. I have decided not to plant flowers that will have to struggle to survive...like lilies etc. I can't provide water and sometimes Mother Nature just doesn't cooperate :( Last year was particularly hard on this area...we lost 3 beautiful fir trees just in front of the woods and many flowers didn't come back.I think that is the reason so many gardeners are planting natives. They can adapt to the climate...but even some of the natives aren't there this year.  I haven't done as much work there in the past couple of years. It's been a lot of hard work, but so worth it when we look out our windows...or sit on the bench (when the mosquito's don't carry us away.)


Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

So pretty - what I love about the woods is the constant change with the seasons. I really love the porch railings you used too - great idea for a repurpose :-)

Jan said...

Thank you for sharing photos of this lovely spot. It must have been a real 'labour of love' to create this part of your garden Jx

Margie's Musings said...

It's absolutely lovely, Balisha!

Lona said...

Oh I just love your woodland bed. I think looking and seeing yours is what started me into developing my own woodland bed. Every year now the wildflower seeds I scattered grow and become more beautiful in flowers. The wildflowers are what are doing the best this silly weather year rather than the other flowers. I can picture setting on your bench and taking in the sounds and colors and the peacefulness it brings. Well worth all that work my friend. You can let it go a little wilder as we age and it gets better. Have a lovely week and stay coll, it is a hot one here now.

Zoey said...

All of your hard work has really paid off, Balisha! What a great place to sit and think out a problem or just enjoy a glorious day.

Judy said...

I can't even know what to comment--it is so wonderful--so natural--so...what I would love. I watched the biography of St. Francis Saturday night on TV! Oh, Balisha--I wish I could come visit and just see it in real!!

debra @ HOMESPUN said...

this was so interesting...I've seen pictures of your Mary Garden and bits of pieces of all of this since I've been reading your blog but did not realize the extent of it all...it looks so pretty and peaceful

Balisha said...

As I said before...this changes each year. I have taken these pictures, ever so often, over the past 5 or 6 years. After last summer's drought, things changed drastically. The drought and my age related problems have take their toll on the wooded area. This year a few wildflowers returned and the lilies and other perennials that returned are struggling.The fruit trees and vines will always be there and the border trees too. My decision to plant flowering shrubs that get big will alleviate a lot of work for me. I'll put some pictures here of it as it looks now and you will see what I mean. I still go there everyday and do a few things, but my main work is done close to the house. Old age ain't for sissys as they say.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Balisha it is beautiful.
2 years ago I began something similar in my woods but now it has stopped. I have all I can do closer to this cottage.
It is 90 in the shade at the moment
A very hot week in store.

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

Your woodland garden area is lovely. Your garden bench would be a wonderful place to just sit for a while and see which creatures would come around. I had never heard of St. Fiacre before, nor seen a statue of him. He has so much character in the details of his face and the flowers on his cloak and carrying his spade. Since he is there, I am sure your woodland garden will continue to thrive and perhaps even expand!

Barbara said...

It has certainly matured.