Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Making Your Own Path

Oh those weather surprises....last February we had an ice storm that took many of us by surprise. The weatherman had forecasted rain for our area and no mention of ice. The cold front moved further south and this is what we woke up to in late February.

A closer look at the poor Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem'. Branches were snapped off and others were laden heavy with ice, ready to join the others on the ground.

The roads were icy and the trees all coated with a layer of ice, creating a winter wonderland.

A view of the house with the now arching tree and those that snapped off.

My lovely assistant and I cut up the fallen tree into six to eight foot lengths. I wanted to save those pieces.

These fallen trees were quite tall pines.

All cut and stacked along the driveway.

Where were these logs going to go? I had a plan to put another pathway in the shade garden. Looking at the garden from the house, it is the left side of the property. I have some small plants, like Cyclamen, nestled into the trees, quite far from existing path. Whenever I took someone through my garden I cringed as they walked along with me....hoping they don't step on any of my babies.

I had enough logs to dress one side of a pathway meandering along the western edge of our property. This pathway had to wait for the growing season to get underway as I couldn't find/ remember where some of the ferns and various bulbs were planted. I certainly didn't want to put a path or log on top of an emerging fern! 
Here is a view of the new path from the house to the lake.

And once you are at the bottom, turn around and walk back up to the house.

The entrance has two logs framing the path. As we have other trees come down I will add logs to the pathway to define both sides. One of the benefits of putting in a path on this side of the garden is that I get new views. Walking halfway to the lake and looking to the right gives you a totally different view of the garden. Before the path, my references were from the center of the garden on the original pathway. 

I am quite glad I added this pathway and use it more often than the one going through the center of the garden. It might need to be made wider, which is means moving a few plants. Time will tell.

©Copyright 2015 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Oh, How I've Longer for You

Baby Sourwood
Many of you know how much I love trees. One tree in particular that I have yearned for, for years, is a Sourwood, Oxydendron arboreum. During autumn these trees really shine. The foliage color ranges from green to various shades of red to peach to salmon. I was able to find some small ones semi-locally via the internet from Mail Order Natives. Theirs are small, about 8 to 12 inches tall, I bought four. Further internet searches lead me to a native plant nursery within an hour and a half drive. After a few messages back and forth with the folks at this nursery we made plans to visit.

Friday we took a drive up to Greer to Southern Heritage Nursery, a perfect day for an afternoon in the mountains. Mary, one of the owners was ready for us when we got there. As my camera was charging at home, I don't have photos of the nursery, but rest assured, we will go back. Photos will come in the future.

Fall through early winter a perfect time to plant in our area. The rainfall in the winter helps establish the root systems while the above ground portions of the plant are dormant. Since we have had some recent rains the soil in the woods/gardens are quite workable. Our soil is clay based, though in the woods there is a layer of leaf litter compost that helps add in nutrients. In addition to the three lovely Sourwood trees I came home with a native Smoke tree, Cotinus obovatus, and a Sassafras albidum. Don't you just love that salmon/peach color of the new trees?

New fall color waiting to be planted

 I already had one Sassafras in the garden, but that little tree is only 6 inches tall. It is a host plant for the Spicebush butterfly caterpillar. My tiny Sassafras has about four or five leaves, hardly enough for more than one cat to enjoy.
Small Sassafras
With rain in the forecast, getting my new plants in the ground was high on my agenda for today. While I had an idea where most of my new trees were going to be planted, minor adjustments were needed when the holes were dug. Rocks and roots make for hard digging. I am happy to say all trees now have new homes in my garden.
One Sassafras and Two Sourwoods (follow the arrows)
The southern exposure is towards the road, so these newly added trees will have full to dappled sunshine all year long.

Doesn't this color glow?
I had researched a Cotinus earlier this year, thinking I wanted one for a newly added garden area in the front yard. I was looking at some of the cultivars that were deeper purple, Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'.  I ended up moving Prunus mume 'Hokkai Bungo', a flowering apricot purchased last February, to that spot. It wasn't happy where it was, so moving it seemed to be the right answer. We shall assess its placement this winter when (and if) it blooms. This variety blooms in January-February time frame and its blooms have a cinnamon fragrance. Back to the Smoke tree, buying the native variety seems to be a better answer. I am such a sucker for red/orange/peach fall colored plants. Stay tuned for updates on the trees as they grow and mature. 

©Copyright 2015 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.