Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Under Garden Returns

Today was the day. I was ready. A holiday and beautiful weather coincided and the Under Garden has returned.

It was a frosty morning. No problem. I was moving in slow motion and my deer hunters were here and I needed to stay quiet.

The sun rose over the mountain. The frost melted. My deer hunters know the hours near dawn and dusk are best. Once they left, I got to chopping.

The slope below the cabin is where the bulk of the Under Garden is. That is where I begin the winter long project of dropping three acres of meadow.

In a few short hours a brand new garden is revealed.

It almost amounts to having a second spring.

Phase two will carry the garden well into late spring when the time of vegetation swallows it once more.

It gains more substance with each passing year.

That substance makes editing around the individual plants a bit easier every year too.

It is critical that I do keep a skylight open all summer long. Without sun, the plants of the Under Garden would shrink and pout.

I seem to have found that happy medium between the wildness of the Tall Flower Meadow and the needs of the Under Garden. Today I uncovered it and it was looking good.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Almighty Begins To Age

It has been a while. The Almighty Falls has made it through leaf season with minimal debris.

The sole offender was a Black Walnut tree. The leaf bits were one thing. The walnuts turned the water into a mighty strong looking tea.

It is going to be cut down soon, not because it turned my water brown, but because the dropping walnuts were not wedding friendly. No big loss. I was more worried about the allelopathy on the plants beneath. I could handle a few weeks of tea water.

The baby fishes have already doubled in size.

Most of the new plants inside the old walls have disappeared for the winter.

The rocks are clean. The spring keeps running. The Almighty Falls continues on operational overflow. The stream and pond construction was an engineering success.

But I am going to shut it down for the winter. When it gets cold enough these streams can become glaciers. I don't trust that the dry stack rock in the ten foot drop zone can handle that kind of icy pressure.

The pond will get an aerator to keep the water oxygenated and maybe keep it ice free. The pump will get pulled and stored away for the winter. I'll be able to walk the dry stream and pick out all the leafy debris.

Next spring it will be ready to turn quickly green. Not with algae hopefully. The pond itself is also planted.

By next fall the fishes will be a whole lot bigger.

I am the gardener who knows how to make rocks soften or even disappear.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Snow Day

There was no chop and drop to expose the Under Garden today. The NW flow was to strong. The wind was brisk. The temperature hovered just below freezing all day. The snow didn't melt.

Instead there was work on a low maintenance planting design to be installed next week and a nap.

When it snows ..... Creation has become more of a seasonal interactive installation. The stones aren't rolling. They have been gathering moss and blend into the greenery more these days. Warm rocks and cold snow make it pop.

I'm not sure a snow day on my only day off is the most suitable state of affairs, but then I don't have a choice in such matters.

I have enough work to take me through the winter. One new client's garden is being readied for next year's garden tour. At some point I will feel caught up. Soon I hope. And there will be more snow days with naps.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Cat Fight

Living on the top of a mountain in the middle of no where is no escape. I blame it on the scenic byway. My driveway needs to be ten miles long.

Every where I turn there is all manner of decay demanding my attention, much of it not my own. My attention wearies.

Almost a month ago a wild kitty showed up. Again, and always before the start of winter. I was alerted to the situation by the howling. Two cats were in a pissing match on the back service entrance stairs. Oh dear Lord! Which one of them is mine? They were duplicates.

Button has been defending his mountain. The howling continues. multiple times in the last twenty four hours.

One wild kitty is bad enough. They are a lot harder to catch than dumped dogs. This week I discovered there are two. Two perfectly healthy looking cats have appeared on the top of a mountain in the middle of no where.

I blame it on the scenic byway and assholes.

I decided I needed a bench in the shade with a nice view for the next open garden day whenever that might be. The doctor decided I needed pills for my slightly elevated blood pressure, another form of decay.

There was a lull in the howling. Miss Dinah and I went for a stroll to look at decay. She won't go alone.

This is not your average drive by garden scene in these parts or any other. I wonder if it attracts pet dumpers. Why, why, why must they make their problems mine?

One small scratch on his nose is all Button has suffered so far. I hope they can confine it to moaning and howling.

It is supposed to be cold on Sunday. I won't be surprised to wake up to snow even though I am not seeing it in the diagnosis. If the sun is out and the wind is calm, I'll be doing some chop and drop to uncover more of the Under Garden. I'm ready.

The Beauty Berries hang on to a frozen shrub.

How does stuff accumulate? Ten years ago I arrived here with one four by four box. Now the stuff is piling up. I promised myself there will be a purge at some point this winter when I am done dealing with all this decay. I better put it on my winter list.

Twisted metal spikes, bleached bones and a caltrop, just things I pick up as I go about my days. Decay is a constant.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Bloon Day Rush

I'm still working six days a week in the middle of November which just seems wrong. Seven if you count puttering in my own garden on Sunday as work. I have only managed to declare one garden done, see you next spring, so far. Then I have a new garden install for after Thanksgiving. It will get the bone structure of trees and shrubs before winter sets in.

By the time I get home these days it is near dark. That isn't right either. I had to rush out this evening to get Bloom Day recorded before it was too late.

Looking out at frozen shades of brown and barren trees, one might wonder what could possibly be blooming out there. Not much that is for sure. I have plenty Objets de junk to help entertain me through the winter.

But there are indeed fresh flowers in November.

The native Witch Hazel, Hamamelis virginiana, is the last flower of the season in the forest. There is a nice grouping of this small tree, large open shrub on the forest edge. I have found more deeper in the forest.

I have been editing around them to give them more light and elbow room. I like to think they have responded by giving me more flowers in November. This Witch Hazel is my reliable contribution to Bloom Day in November.

Head over to Bloom Day Headquarters if that isn't enough to satisfy you. Bloom Day is an international event. There is an entire planet packed full of flowers in bloom.

I have Witch Hazel.

I have an old chimney too. I bet it is the only one you will see barring a google search.

It is about time for a good winter storm with wicked winds and crushing snow. I could use a little help knocking this meadow down. That isn't how things work in the gardens I tend. I have to cut everything down and pick it all up. I'm still working on it.

Gardey don't do that in these parts. Round about February I will chop and drop whatever is left standing.

I have variegated evergreen foliage for Bloom Day. How about that? Comes with dried bloom stalks.

Then I saw a rose, a slightly frozen rose, but a blooming rose none the less.

The rose hips from the real bloom are more awesome though.

I hope you enjoyed my Bloom Day. I got home just in time.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Exposing The Under Garden

It started because I was not in the mood to do what needed doing or anything else on my winter list of chores. I'll just go chop down the Lush of the garden's backdrop and check on the red and yellow twig dogwoods.

I may be finally achieving success after numerous failed attempts. The dogwoods were alive and still there. I have come to think that even as small transplants they will need to get cut to the ground come spring. That seems to stimulate the vigorous growth I have been waiting ever so patiently for and never seeing.

Then I kept chopping. I'll just do this little piece along the Great Lawn as a warm up for exposing the Under Garden. Then I kept chopping. I'll just do this one section of the Under Garden.

Exposing the Under Garden was exciting. I have not seen it since June. I was tempted to keep going. I really do need to empty the refrigerator next door and turn it off. So I stopped chopping. A small taste will have to suffice for now.

Everything was looking good.

There is a lot more slope to chop. It isn't that big a deal since I do chop and drop. No cleanup, only decomposition.

The Under Garden is ready to come out of hiding, a low mounding tapestry of evergreen texture and color, the garden of winter interest.

The longer I live here the more impressive and dramatic the changing seasons have become. My long time reference points of Florida and Maui were exercises in seasonal subtlety.

Initially I was afraid of the barren time. How do you have a garden in winter? By planting one of course.

A decade later it has come to the point where I get most of my garden chores done over the winter. While it is green and growing is when I let things be.