Been walking through the rhodo forest

So you might remember my late winter post of the forest that needs a little bit of interest. Well since then, I’ve done a LOT of work. It has probably been focus #3 of the summer, after the rock garden and veggie garden. Since the last post and walk through, I’ve planted a lot of rhododendrons and azaleas and a few perennials too. I planted a few other shrubs. I’ve also lost a few things in here over the summer just because it was too tinder dry, as you know. You can only tote so many watering cans to the forest, and plant so many things to water in the heat of the summer. Especially when you have a full time job that is quite tiresome when you get home and just want to relax.

20160909_121349.jpgThe last thing I did last week in the forest was dig out some of the garbagey looking stuff at the entrance. I thought it was a positive way to end something: to draw people in to the beginning, visually. I peeled away all that old yucky grass that we never mowed anyway and made room for a Clethra alnifolia, an astilbe, a wood poppy (just as a filler) and a heather. The heather was an established shrub given to me by such a generous gardener who said it was just 2″ taller than its tag suggests, but it’s lovely enough for me. I’ve got space to fill!


20160909_114117.jpgThere was also some weeding to be done over the summer. Squirrels like to plant their little walnuts here because the soil is spongy and easy to dig. You would likely spot walnuts everywhere sprouting up. If they’re young, they’re easy to pluck out.  There are also suckers everywhere that are impossible to remove except by hacking them down.

Pictured, you can see glimpses (from the beginning of the path) of Pieris japonica ‘Mountain Fire’ and Rhododendron catawbiense ‘Alba’ …but not really. I will promise a better walk in late spring. 

So as you can see, there is almost LESS beauty here at the moment compared to the last time we walked through together. It’s all due to the dryness, and the season is probably less interesting at the moment than it is in the spring.  I apologize for poor timing, this is also a lesson that the forest needs winter interest.

It also needs a structural feature. Two, actually. I want a large pagoda, and I want a concrete or stone/natural bench (not this broken 2×4 thing between two stumps). But If I discard the placeholders, I’ll forget the intent for these spots. So there, they stay.


20160909_114208.jpgNext spring, I will dig up some of the millions of sunflowers from the wild forest so they can colonize a bit in the back parts of the forest facing the field. Why would I do that? Because at dusk, when the sun has begun to set, your eyes will always gravitate to the vertical lines of the trees and shadows of the forest and the golden color that emanates from the west. Why wouldn’t I amplify the golden sunsets with some yellows? It will also give a bit of a softer visual break between the forest and the field.

In the heat of the summer and my inability to keep up (and this is a classic gardener’s story, it happens), I have lost 1 rhododendron (Impeditum) and one is stressing quite significantly (Hellikki). I never rip anything out until the following spring, because you never know what might come up.

It’s funny, to you, and to anyone who walks through, and maybe even to myself initially, it was just a nondescript mass planting of white pines. It took some time, some meandering and contemplation to find the path through it. You can see the rows, when standing at the right angle. They are all planted in rows. You begin to become familiar with each pine. Some are very sorry. Some are dead. Some are so much more beautiful, or fuller, than their brothers and sisters. And you come in, lay some sort of a flow, and it becomes something new.

So that is it. That is what my story is this week. You never need to resign to what’s there, you can cultivate your wild. So go out there, walk a wildness in your garden, and see if there’s another path through it, another corner that needs to be emphasized. Maybe it needs editing, maybe it needs additions.

That’s about all for this week.

I’ve got to cope with the immense work load of this place. I’m restructuring my task work load a bit. It does sound a bit over structured and anal but I thrive on such things. I’ll get into that later. I think this week I’m going to tackle the deck’s garden in the back yard. It’s been begging for some love.


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