I have been trying to resurrect the long abandoned garden spaces of our land that were last tended well over a decade ago. Everything grows fast and mostly, things are overrun. In the woods, we’re swamped with undergrowth including lots of poison ivy, vines, and saplings. In the open meadow, there are prickly weeds and wild wisteria and giant moon flowers with alien pokey pods.
We also have to acclimate ourselves to bugs, spiders and snakes as there are many. Snakes are not a problem as I’ve always been fond of snakes.(Oh! Go see Pure Florida’s beautiful snake!) Walking through spider webs throughout the yard still makes me jump and squeal. By far the worst problem has been the ground hornets who have taken up residence. I figured we had one or two nests because I had seen a couple one inch holes with a fair number of hornets entering and leaving.
One morning last week we looked out the window and in the distance saw a menacing moving cloud of something and closer inspection revealed hundreds, possibly thousands of angry hornets hovering over a spot in the “lawn” (read “weeds”). We were reluctant to investigate but when dusk came we found this.
And this (answering the age old question, “…in the woods?” No, on our lawn.)
Over the next three nights the hole got larger and more empty of life and now it is just a crater the size of a bushel basket. I’m in Florida for a couple of days right now and Rich sent me a note yesterday letting me know that a second excavation site has been started, accompanied by more scat. We remembered this abandoned and hollowed out old woodpile adjacent to our land and we’ve been connecting the dots. I guess she’s earning her keep. We’ll have to consider further the implications of having a bear hunker down for the winter so near to the house. Any thoughts?
It’s been a major effort just to begin clearing little patches of our land for gardening and, of course, landscaping was never in the budget as that is a DIY project that I now realize may take years.I did get in a very productive veggie garden within the picket fenced area but beyond that, not a lot. We have a lot of great stones and boulders and as I move them all around outlining little places where I might garden I’ve been wondering what to plant and how to budget for that. One morning I got a call from a neighbor I’d never met and she said she had caught a glimpse of me working down by what I refer to as the boulder garden and she wondered if I would like a few lilies for that area. Of course! She said to give her a couple days to dig some up and then to come by on Sunday and pick them up. When I arrived at her house she and her husband chatted with me for about 20 minutes, mostly about how wonderful it was to live in our little neck of the woods, and then her husband loaded up my trunk. Everything was bagged and each bag had a name written on it. When he was done I could barely get the trunk closed.
Once I got home and pulled them out, here is what I had. All of these have now been planted and trimmed and are showing signs of autumn growth and by next Spring I expect a wonderful display of this gift of day lilies.
Since then, neighbors have come around several times a week with pots and boxes and bags of plants, especially now as they do their fall gardening. There are many very very nice gardens hidden away up here on the mountain and you never really see them until you head up long drives off the main road and stop for a visit and a chat. I’ve gotten all manner of perennials: daisies, mums, asters, butterfly bush, Joe Pye weed and more for the sunny beds and lots of wonderful woodland flowers for my shade gardens. This has also been a wonderful introduction into the neighborhood and many new friends.
Old friends (well, they’re not that old. Younger than we are.) came for a visit a couple of weeks ago. Cathy and Glenn drove their truck up from Florida with the bike in the back and divided their vacation between our place and a ride along the magnificent Blue Ridge.
Cathy brought me this fantastic glass piece that she made. I can’t walk in the room without seeing the light and sparkle on this beautiful guy and he’s found a perfect home on the sideboard, next to a prized piece of early glass by Dale Chihuly. I have to say, I’m much more enamored of our fish at the moment.
This house is quickly becoming our best home ever, warmed by friendship.