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.
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.
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.
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.)