Friday, December 31, 2010

Blooming Friday ~ Plans for the New Year

The garden is one long ongoing project, which is a lot of the fun of it.

Below is a view of the old house site and the path cleared for the house move. Now trees that were in the middle of the woods are at the edge and they look somewhat scraggly. There are some things there which will fill in, like wild blueberries and volunteer wax myrtles, but I'm also adding seedling hawthorn, dogwood, swamp cyrilla, American silverbell and redbuds, trees that typically max out at or under 20 feet. Some of the young trees are already in but I have more to add.

November '09

Looking into the woods from the backyard you can see the need for an understory and softer edge.

June '08

Peeking around from the back of the house is the opposite view from the first picture.

August '08

I have some Buddleia here -- B. lindleyana,B. davidii 'Petit Indigo', 'Royal Red', and 'Potter's Purple'.

Also a prized Gardenia from DH's grandmother's garden, started from a cutting.

I'm not sure how much more I will add to this area, since it's next to where we lead the horses up when the horses are in the paddock behind the house at night. Probably Caryopteris and some grasses ~ Blue Love Grass, Muhlenbergia ~ at the end closest to the paddock.

Looking towards the woods from the front sidewalk and the young Vitex in front of the Buddleias.

June '09

April '08

The garden would benefit from a better backdrop.

I would love to add native Crabapples next to the woods, if I can get any to grow from seed. I buried a dozen fruits from the tree in our floodway field in a compost pile in autumn '09 and nothing came up last year. Hopefully 2 years will do the trick. The native Crabapples are beautiful and common in lowlands around here.

Starting again from where the first picture was taken and continuing down the road that runs between the horse pastures and continues down to the creek ~

as you can see from this picture ditches line the road. There is a total of 2400' of ditch -- not put there by us, either. They're not even very useful, since they run counter to water flow through the farm. I looked into the price of a tractor implement that could mow ditches and was gobsmacked by the price. The plan was then to mow the ditches once a year to keep down the woody stuff, and grow Bidens there. A few years ago there was a very impressive display but dry conditions -- and most importantly, probably, mowing too late, after the seedlings were up -- erased most of those. So it's time to renew them again.

A few came up last year, less than I was hoping for because of the very dry April/May that we had. So I'll put down more Bidens seeds and add more Willowleaf Aster (Aster 'Miss Bessie') this winter.

Looking back up the road, as if headed back to the house ~

The green is nice but I'm really going for this (lower maintenance) effect:

September '08

The overwintering birds love Bidens.

So these are some of the projects I plan to work on this year. Thank you to Katarina at roses and stuff for hosting Blooming Friday.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow the day after Christmas

The snow didn't start until after 2 am on December 26th, but we got the promised snow! At least 6". We were ready for it. Prince was double blanketed, the pony was wearing Prince's old foal blanket which is still weatherproof after all this time, hay was scattered in the pasture and haynets hung in the shelter. Next morning the haynets were empty.

At noon yesterday everything was shrouded in white and the snow was coming down hard.

What do you think the cats were doing? They weren't out snowshoeing that's for certain.

They spent last night on the warm couch.

As I type Prissy is behind me on the couch, soaking up the heat from the heating pad and purring. Her purring sounds like crackling paper.

The sun is out today, glorifying the snow. Actually I was glad the snow held off for a day. I declined the visiting rounds Christmas afternoon and spent the time planting out American beautyberry and prairie rose seedlings and the Alabama snowwreath that Phillip sent. The perfect gardener's Christmas as far as I'm concerned. :) I was working at the top of the hill, where the farm meets the rest of the world so to speak. The neighbors across from our mailbox were having a big Christmas bash and car after car kept pulling up. They may have wondered what I was doing digging and planting at the end of December. lol

We had our holiday dinner Christmas night. I had made over 400 gingersnaps and many loaves of pumpkin bread for DH's office, and naturally kept some. ;)

I made some cranberry loaves and Mrs. Field's Sweetie Pies and Super Fudge Brownies as well.

Most of the cookies and loaves are frozen, with the idea that they can be parcelled out until May. We'll see.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wildflower Wednesday

There aren't any natives in bloom at the moment. Even the blueberry leaves have been shed or are frozen brown. So for Wildflower Wednesday I'll revisit some native beauties from spring and summer and a couple from fall.

The dog fennel is still beautiful though.

Woodland phlox is one of the earliest natives to bloom in the spring and is very sweetly fragrant.

Native crabapple growing wild at the edge of one of our fields.

Chokecherry Aronia arbutifolia

Piedmont azaleas, in both white and pink, with Southern lady fern, zigzag iris, and woodland phlox

A close-up of the fabulous flowers

Eastern Bluestar Amsonia tabernaemontana

The yellow spired flowers of Carolina Bush Pea (Thermopsis villosa) are lovely and
stately, but so is the downy new foliage. It's especially beautiful when sparkling with dew.

Prairie Rose (Rosa setigera) is the latest once-blooming rose here, flowering in late May/ early June.

Who doesn't love purple coneflower?

I love it, the butterflies and bees love it, and Goldfinches love the seeds.

Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) blooms spring, summer and fall.

Monarda 'Raspberry Wine'

Monarda 'Claire Grace'

Seashore mallow on a misty August morning

Climbing boneset with seedheads of Joe Pye Weed in foreground.

Willowleaf aster 'Miss Bessie'

Thank you Gail for hosting Wildflower Wednesday, and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gimghoul Castle

Both DH and I attended UNC-Chapel Hill as undergraduates, and DH also attended medical school there. Chapel Hill is an hour away from our farm and we visit from time to time. It's a beautiful place.

There is a most interesting building in Chapel Hill called Gimghoul Castle. The castle and even its site is surrounded by much mystery, including the story of a fatal duel between students that occurred in the university's early days, and a secret society called the Order of Gimghoul which continues to this day.

The castle, which was built in the 1920's, is located at the end of the same road where lives the twin sisters who created this beautiful garden.

Before this past spring I had not seen Gimghoul Castle in many years because of a no trespassing sign at the head of the driveway. There's still a no trespassing sign but now it's tacked to a tree in front of the castle. So people can now see the castle but not get close enough to peer into the windows. :)

Isn't it amazing? A castle, right next to the UNC campus, in Battle Woods.

The use of evergreens around the building is genius.

I like the juxtaposition of the dogwood and castle walls too.

While we were on Gimghoul Road we of course visited the sisters' garden. More on that later!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This Past June

It's raining and just above freezing. Infinitely better than raining and below freezing but depressing nevertheless. Prince was cold this morning even with his waterproof turnout blanket, so I put another heavy turnout on over that one.

Not a fun day to be outside, but a good day for Christmas baking. I'm making pumpkin bread, gingersnaps and chocolate/ chocolate chip cookies. Most of the baked goods will go to the people that DH works with, but we have to keep some! Good day to take a trip back in time to June to look at the garden too.

Sweetly fragrant noid daylily

'Ah Youth'

'Bleu Celeste' daylilies, 'Zwanenburg Blue' spiderwort, purple coneflower and commuter daylilies

'Bleu Celeste', with 'Buttered Popcorn' at the bottom

'Ah Youth' and 'Lemon Berry Frost'

'Smuggler's Gold'

'Lemon Berry Frost'

Jedi Blue Note

Easy Ned

Easy Ned and Beautiful Edgings

Monarda 'Raspberry Wine'

and Buddleia 'Black Knight'

'Ah Youth'

Iris japonica

Dianthus 'Russian Skies'

'Beautiful Edgings'

'Siloam David Kirchhoff'

I hope you're staying warm and dry. It's cold out there!

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