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.

Monday, July 6, 2015

My, How You've Changed- Annual Review 2015

Five years ago this week we moved from Seaford to our present location in South Carolina. For those who are new here, we built our home on a lake in Upstate SC. We started from a blank slate, each year offered its own challenges--deer, voles, rabbits, dry conditions, wet conditions and my own fickleness, changing things up just because. Some of the changes will be addressed in later posts. Each year I take photos of the various parts of the gardens. You can see previous years' posts here- 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and when we were building in 2010.
So from the very beginning we looked like this--

We had some big changes this winter with the ice storm and an early snowfall-- November 1st! The ice storm will be talked about in my next post.  Last year's photos are posted to compare with this year. Follow the links above to see yearly progress. 

View from the front door...notice the size of the Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem' in the middle of the yard.
 And the Magnolia storm damage.

The driveway garden has had more added to it. I do like having a container near the Crape Myrtle to add some color.

 The front gardens are filling in, in most spots. 

 The winter was hard on the Gardenia 'Frostproof'.  I was going to cut it back, but never got around to it. Now that it has bloomed, perhaps I will get out there and cut it back a good bit.  The Japanese Maple is certainly happy. Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku'
The backyard is ever evolving.  Left side as you look from the deck.



Right side as you look from the deck.

 The Japanese Maple near the white container in the photo above had severe damage from snowfall, a third of its crown broke off.
The backyard, looking back to the house from the lower right corner. 
 Same shot, this year. Included the patio on the right and the slope to the lake. 
 Out on the dock, looking back at the house, far enough away to not see all the weeds.
 One of the major changes this year - we bought the lot next door to us on the left. Too many folks were looking at it with plans to build...soon. Since it was a bargain price, we swooped it up. The only plans right now for us it to have it bush-hogged. There are a lot of blackberry brambles, honeysuckle vines, and scrubby trees that need to be thinned. After bush-hogging I am not sure what we will do with this lot, though my husband says he sees a Sourwood, Oxydendrum arboreum, in its future.

We got solar panels this past year and are really loving it! Also planted some Rudbeckia varieties near our well. It adds a nice punch of color.

There is also a new blank spot in the front yard. Grass was thin, so we added some mulch on top of a lot of cardboard. It is now waiting for me to choose some plant material. 


The shed got a new plant-- for Mother's Day I received a Schizophragma hydrangeoides 'Rosea', a climbing Japanese hydrangea vine. It will climb on the old iron railing on the right of the door. The blue cypress to the left of the shed along the prior property line really took a hit from the February ice storm. My pruning skills came into practice to keep them shaped nicely. 

More of the Fling posts will be coming. I wanted to get this post done as our anniversary as South Carolinians is this week. If you haven't done this, think about taking a photo each year on a given date. It is amazing to see tree growth and foliage filling in. Some changes are subtle and others are significant.

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