Friday, October 2, 2009

Dedicated II

As I’m sure you can imagine, I woke up the next day feeling a little stiff and sore – LOL!!! But after a relaxing morning and a delicious breakfast (Joanne used the potatoes that I had dug up to make homefries, our toast was lightly covered with homemade red currant jam, the two small pancakes were filled with the blueberries that we had picked last summer and the bacon was purchased from a local butcher specializing in free-range livestock) I was soon geared up to continue my day in the garden.

Soon, this…

… became this!

The morning sun was starting to rise overhead and I rested for a few minutes by taking some photos of the last blooming hostas.

In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned that I do realize the when I remove the weeds from the garden that I am changing the environment very dramatically. The moisture in the soil quickly evaporates, leaving the ground rather dry. Like a demon I have torn asunder the homes and habitats of many toads, insects and spiders.

First it is necessary to realize that this whole area has ‘gone wild’ over the many years of total neglect. This is its first year of controlled cultivation. During this first year, many of the original plants still have roots and such in the soil and they will grow back with an attempt to regain control of this area.

My effort is an attempt to create a self-sustaining garden that all works together to create an optimum environment for all species – both plants and animals (and toads and insects!) First I had to establish the most dominant plant – either berry bushes or flowers (day lilies, hostas, etc). Now that I’ve done this, my next job will be to establish an ‘undergrowth’ community of plants that will keep the moisture in the soil and create habitats for toads and spiders as well as adding diversity of flowering plants to attract the bees.

This spring, I shared a story about a small patch of purple violets and spring tulips. I had dug up the tulips and transplanted them into many different areas throughout the garden. I also dug up the violets and divided the large root mass into many smaller root masses.

This is what that area looks like, now. The violets have more than tripled their original size.

They grow to about ten inches off the ground and this is an excellent height for an ‘undergrowth’ plant. You can see that they grow with many levels of leaves, filling in an area very well, thus dominating other weeds that may try to grow. They are open enough for toads to wander about and when they are stronger they will produce a very pretty purple flower to attract the bees.

The plan entails that next spring this patch will be partially dug up and small chunks of root mass will be planted throughout the rest of the garden.

This is another ‘undergrowth’ plant that I have helped to double in size, this summer. I’m not sure what it is, but it sure is beautiful. It too, only grows about ten inches high, with multiple layers of leaves. Its flowers are very small and delicate and when it blooms it looks like the plant is covered in the finest dusting of snow.

The plan also entails that I dig this patch up, next spring, to transplant the many chunks of root mass in between the hostas and the lilies. With these plants intermingled with the violets, I’m sure that this garden will be a much happier place!

This is the first year that I’ve entertained these types of new ideas. Just a few years ago, I began to realize how I could blend spring and summer flowers together in the same space. This year I’ve learned how to establish a multi-level garden that will help control the weed population as well as create a healthier habitat for all the things that grow and live in gardens.

I can definitely foresee me learning more about these methods of gardening so that I will be able to experiment with a larger variety of plants. I think that I’ve accomplished quite a bit, simply learning about these two ‘undergrowth’ plants – for this year.

It was getting on, in the afternoon and I was a little tired. I had completed a lot of work and I only had a few hours of sunshine left to enjoy on my weekend away from work. It was time to relax, in the middle of my garden, with a good book…

… and a locally grown Ontario peach!!!

Ahhhhhhh! The wonders of the sun and the riches that it produces will never cease to amaze me.


ps - I just noticed that this is my 200th blog!!!!!

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