Friday, September 21, 2007

My Very First JM

Good fortune has smiled down on me and I planted my very first in my entire life, Japanese Maple today. I did not think I would be getting one any time soon. I saw the prices on them at the nurseries and had sticker shock. Granted they were all much bigger than this little one gallon specimen I won in the name drawing at the Arboretum, but I did not see or did not notice any smaller and cheaper Japanese Maples for sale at any of the nurseries I have visited.

I planted my Acer palmatum 'Arakawa' off to the right of my drive up slope from the headwaters of the Tennessee River. To the left of the large Hemlock trunk in the green area is where I would like to one day build a small Tea House overlooking the stream. My Rough Bark Maple will make a fine entry focal point. It will get afternoon sun in this location and be visible from the central hub formed by the house and cottage. Now as long as we don't get another one of them freak Easter freezes that severely damaged Japanese Maples all over the area, all will be well.

It was time for more new things as well. There were some seeds I wanted to collect and sow.

I often wonder about Betsy and how she lived up here so long ago without any of the modern conveniences when I wander by the remains of her home. There are many very old and now unproductive apple trees on this land. I wonder if she planted them. The seeds I was after were of the native onion, the Ramp, Allium tricoccum. The Ramp patch is not far from Betsy's door. She must have made use of them.

I wanted to start some new patches of this coveted native plant. Every spring there are Ramp Festivals throughout the southern Appalachia. They need ramps for this and they are getting scarce in the wild from over harvesting. By collecting the seed and sowing it, making sure it comes into contact with the soil and does not end up on top of the leaf litter I can increase its rate of germination. Then when I am an old fart, I can supplement my meager SS check with my spring Ramp harvest.

I sowed the seeds that were already ripe and will let the rest ripen naturally in a paper bag. Then I will sow them in several locations on the property.

My little cabin has really begun to germinate. It is ready for the plywood floor sheets. The bonding beams are in place and all is secure. I guess I am a little surprised because I keep checking, but this floor framing and foundation is absolutely level. Not bad for an amateur.

The trench with the shorter columns has been filled. Next I need to stucco the bottoms of the taller columns so I can fill in that trench.

I am seeing a stone planter box along the side of the cabin being built with all the rock I am setting off to the side. But before that happens there are a few utility lines that need to be trenched through this area between the cabin and the driveway.

While I was seed collecting and sowing I gathered all the seeds from the Blue Delphinium I bought at the Biltmore and seeded them into this next bed down the driveway. Will I remember that next spring or even know what to look for?

A few Hemlocks were killed in the making of this post and the planting of the Japanese Maple.

Good thing the fire ban was lifted on Tuesday.


Annie in Austin said...

A tea house and a Japanese maple - nice mental image, Christopher. When I tried to grow a JM in Illinois, the winters cut them back to a few inches above ground and I gave up.

Ki at Muck 'n' Mire wrote about ramps a while ago. Ramps were a plot element in a comic novel starring Gomer Pyle, read in the 1960's, probably. I've never seen ramps but have been curious about them ever since.


Carol said...

Nice progress on the cabin, and level, too! JM's around here do suffer sometimes in the winter or if we have late freezes. I don't usually see older specimen trees unless they are in a protected areas. Good luck with yours.

Christopher C. NC said...

The resident gardeners JM's have done fine up here in the winter until the Easter Freeze this spring. Then all kinds of things that "have been up here for fifteen years and survived the winter" got zapped big time.

Wow Ki had quite a few posts on Ramps.

Layanee said...

I will have to look into that Japanese maple! You have made considerable progress and I love that the landscape is coming along as fast or faster than the abode! Good for you!

chuck b. said...

Good luck with it!

Deviant Deziner said...

Hey Chris,
It is nice to see the progress coming along on your house.
I just returned from a trip to DA Big CITY, where I spent the day at an expo called 'west coast green'.

It was a fun filled day full of information and resource gathering.

They also had a beautiful modular - prebab Eco house built and set up outside the auditorium.

I took photos of the eco garden and posted them on my blog but to find out about some of the really cool architectual elements of the house check out this blog at inhabitat :
Great information, inspiration and photographs.