Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Introduction to Sweet Bay Farm

My husband and I own 54 acres in the piedmont section of North Carolina, where we live and garden and take care of 2 horses, a very old dog, and three cats. Much of our property is in the floodplain of a creek. It's literally a birdwatcher's paradise: wood ducks, prothonotary warblers, summer and scarlet tanagers, orchard orioles, red-winged hawks, barred owls, blue grosbeaks, indigo buntings.... Lots of wildflowers too, many of which I have added to my garden.

We moved our house out the floodplain a year and a half ago (long and bitter story), and I am currently in the process of landscaping around the house and will eventually connect the house gardens to the big perennial bed in the floodplain. The first question people usually ask is, do you lose everything in the garden as a result of a flood? The answer is most definitely no. In the last 10 years the farm has been under about 2 feet of water for a total of 10 days, with 3 days being the longest after Hurricanes Fran and Floyd. Most plants can handle those conditions just fine.

I do all of the garden work. My husband loves to look at the results but is too busy with his 60+ workweek and the heavy farmwork he has to do on weekends (chainsawing, fence repair, weedwacker repair, changing implements on the tractor, mowing, although we both mow) to do any garden work, which is actually fine by me.

It's been very hot and dry here for much of June. We finally got some much-needed rain a couple of days ago, but the heat and humidity of summer makes me long for the clear air and softer colors of spring, so I will start there.

One of the earliest of all, Prunus mume, a seedling that's 2 or 3 years old.

Passalong daffs, from my husband's grandmother's garden

Georgia speedwell is one of my favorites because of its beautiful vibrant blue-violet color and its early bloom. Honeybees favor it too.

Trout lily

Jacob's ladder, Polemonium reptans

Carpenter bees make great photography subjects, except males when they are doing high speed laps of their territory. Here is a female feeding on Homestead Purple Verbena.

Amorous male carpenter bee

He performed an impressive courtship dance but poor guy, she was so not interested.

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, struggling to feed on a windy spring day.

Tipped over by the wind:

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