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A Window On My World

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Posts will be published on occasion and irregularly as I am able.
Some of these posts are from my web site The Garden At Crocker Croft.
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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Woodland Garden

One section of The Garden At Crocker Croft which has been the most neglected is the Woodland Garden. That bothers me, because it is one of my favorite areas.

Over the years we installed new plants into it, but they have not taken hold and stayed. Those were Phlox divaricata, False Solomon Seal, Fox Glove, and various early-spring ephemerals. I have read that an established biological community of plants, animals and microbes
that have developed under specific soil and climatic conditions, a complex of living organisms, will inhibit and defeat any stranger that is introduced. Maybe that is what is happening here, but a good weeding-out of volunteer trees, vines and bushes would help. That has been done more than once before, but status quo continues to reign.

I thought I had more pictures of the Woodland Garden, but these are what I found. If I find more, I will slip them in later.

The little Trillium was already here. It is very short and small.

So were the Wood Poppies, also called Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum). I am sorry one photograph is blurred, but it is the only one I have of that fullness, and at that distance. This is one of my favorite woodland plants. I think the leaves are attractive, too.

And Solomon's Seal

Friends like to visit here in the shade.
The yellow primulas were here on the place, but not at this location. I moved them down here from up in the back yard. They seem to be holding on.

We often find fungi and enjoy seeing them in the little woodland.

I love to walk through the Virginia Bluebells. I introduced them to the garden, only 3 plants, and they seem to be doing well.

At first they are pink then turn blue.
I am sorry this is blurred, but I like the effect anyway.

This colony of plants is eighteen years old. How do I remember? April 9,1991 our second grandchild was born. I wanted to give the new parents some private time alone in the hospital so I ventured forth and found my way to the Tennessee Botanical garden there in Nashville at Cheekwood Estate. I had never been there before and when I arrived I was delighted to discover they were celebrating their Wildflower Weekend. It was beautiful! Among the few things I bought were three young Virginia Bluebell plants. I planted them on the low, moister side of the path in the Woodland Garden. I kept them watered. Then they died.... (I thought).

A few weeks later I was visiting and browsing at Shooting Star Wildflower Nursery over near Frankfort. The owner was helping a customer gather together plants for her shade garden. I couldn't help but overhear their conversation. He said, "And these Virginia Bluebells are nice for a shade garden." She responded, "But there is nothing growing in the pot. That one is dead." He replied, "No, it's just dormant."

"Dormant!!!", I said aloud as I spun around, then embarrassed, I apologized and explained I thought mine had died. He laughed and assured me they would be back come spring. And, they did. Then they dropped seeds. New, young plants can be seen between the older plants.

And, what about that grandbaby?
He graduates from high school next weekend!


Balisha said...

Happy Mother's Day Barbee...love your woodland pictures. I have a start of Virginia Bluebells and new ones coming.They are so pretty.

garden girl said...

How pretty! Love the bluebells. I planted three dormant babies this spring - two are up, one of them just barely. Hopefully #3 isn't far behind. I would be so happy if they self-seeded all over the place!

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Great post. Love the plant bought when the grandchild was born. My niece had a baby today, maybe I need a plant in his honor.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Barbee I absolutely love your woodland garden ... this would be one of my dream gardens believe it or not .. I played in the woods as a child and that feeling never leaves you .. to have a garden in that setting .. well it would be perfect for me ! : )

our friend Ben said...

What a lovely woodland tour, Barbee'! I love the idea of commemorating special people and occasions with plants. My Virginia bluebells turn two huge garden beds blue each spring and show no signs of slowing their spread, so i think your woodland will be blue before too long! (I too have Celandine poppies and they love to spread as well.) Your cat looks just like our Dixie! And as a native Nashvillian, I'm so glad you got to see Cheekwood, a favorite garden of mine as well. Now you need to go back at Christmas and see their amazing International Christmas Tree display!

Steve said...

Thanks for the closer look at your woodland, Barbee. I am a big fan of Trillium, myself. We get those up here in Oregon in spades. They may also be one of the most difficult transplants known to man. They don't much like moving, so you can at least consider how much they seem to enjoy your spot.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to visit your woodland garden, especially to see the lovely Virginia bluebells!

Barbee' said...

Balisha, thank you. I hope your Mother's Day was a happy one. I am glad you have your start of V. Bluebells. They must like your garden if they are spreading. Delightful!

garden girl, Good luck with your new V.B. plants, I hope they flourish for you. It is such a beautiful blue.

Debbi, thank you for the positive feedback! I have enjoyed watching the child and the colony of plants grow over the years. The flowers always remind me of him and my visit to Cheekwood.

Joy, I played in a wood, also. Used to arrange fallen sticks and limbs into outlines of "log cabin" playhouses. And, as you can see in the photos, here I have outlined the path through the wood with them. Still playing. I love being back there with the birds.

Ben, I had forgotten that you were from Nashville. That is a good idea about the Christmas visit; sometimes we are there right after Christmas. Thank you. I would love to see your spread of Bluebells in bloom. The nicest colony I have seen is here in the old historic cemetery. That sounds macabre, but it isn't really. The cemetery is listed in several travel guides as a pretty place to visit.

Steve, you are so fortunate to have the Trilliums there. This one little species is the only one in this garden. I have tried introducing others, but as you wrote: they resent being transplanted and aren't doing well.

Msrobin, Thank you! The bluebells are one colony of plants I look forward to the year round. Wish they could stay longer.

Lucy Corrander said...

Barbee - it looks lovely.

What would happen if you just let it be for a few years . . . waited to see what liked the place so much it moved in of its own accord and thrived . . . then, when the wildness had established itself, you weeded out or restrained what was there so you could create something you'd enjoy? Sort of carving instead of ceramics parallel.

Would that work?


The verification is 'rather'!

Barbee' said...

Well....., Lucy, that is 'rather' what happened.

Previous owner mowed that area. Then during the years when my father's health was in decline until his death and related time consuming necessities, that area went wild for a few years.

What happened was that invasive exotics zoomed in and took over. Plants like the Chinese honeysuckle shrubs (which get big as a house) and Japanese honeysuckle vines (which would quickly and easily envelope a house), Virginia Creeper which is an introduced vine from the orient, English Ivy, that Winter Creeper (Euonymus fortunei), the Garlic Mustard that settlers brought with them for their food gardens, Vinca minor, Liriope, etc.; I'm sure you get the idea. Every introduced plant in the Eastern U.S. joined the party and they lived it up. Plus some of our native plants are invasive, e.g. the green Solomon's Seal, Poke Weed, et al.

It took strong men with chain saws to clear it out, they had to carry all that uphill around the house and to their trucks on the street and hauled it away, several loads.

Then it got away from me again, plus snow and ice storms did a lot of damage, so it all had to be done again.

If I don't stay at it, it all comes back. I think I just haven't been able to stay on that section with enough time and a firm, strong enough hand.

That area alone could easily be a full time hobby. Hope springs in my heart every year. Maybe this will be the year I am able to get it under control. I just need to do a lot of weeding and mulching.

I wish what you suggest would work. It sounds like it would be interesting. But, you see what happened. Sigh...

Anonymous said...

I really ought to go to Cheekwood. Beautiful, peaceful woods. The perfect place for a stroll. I love those pendulous Celadine buds and of course the bluebells.

Barbee' said...

wormandflowers, thank you, I am glad you enjoyed seeing these. Yes, Cheekwood is lovely. I don't know why it takes so much thought and effort to go visit these places... well, yes, I do, too, at least for me. Every time I think of going some place like that, I think I should spend that time working in my own garden.

Gail said...

Barbee~~I know we were at the Wildflower fair at the same time! I know it ran all weekend then, but I would visit and return more times then I can count.

Your woodland is lovely and the Bluebells are so happy! I totally understand about how we have to carefully plan and manage a woodland...that is how the vinca and other invasives got such a strangle hold on my garden...just letting nature have her way! The invasives are too succesful.

I think wonder if hypericum frondosum would grow in your woodland? ...It's a native of cedar glade areas... Are you gardening in the Central Basin or the Highland Rim? Not sure how far north you are into KY! I recommend getting Wildflowers of The Central South by Thomas Hemmerly...if it's still in print!

Next time you are passing through, let me know!


Barbee' said...

Gail, you and I definitely have common interests! We probably were there at the same time... isn't that interesting! Thank you for the positive feedback about the little woodland garden. I don't know where I am in relation to the Central Basin and Highland Rim; I'm not knowledgeable about that. I suspect that Hypericaum frondosum would grow here. Tom Barnes and Wilson Francis (2 Kentucky botanists) show it in their last book (2004). Here is a link to a page that shows their photo and a map and H.frondosum's spread. All of Kentucky is shown to be within it.
CLICK HERE I have never grown it, but I have read about it many times. I didn't know if I would like it or not. What I had really wished to get growing en masse is Phlox divaricata, but the other plants choked it out. Maybe I should try Phlox stolonifera.
I noticed you posted about a lovely pink phlox last year.
Thank you for the invitation :)

Northern Shade said...

Those Mertensia look so nice alongside of the path in your woodland area. The lovely clouds of blue look wonderful around the tree trunk. Isn't is nice when a beautiful plant spreads to make itself at home?

Barbee' said...

Northern Shade, yes, it is! This has made me so happy. I think this is one, if not the, prettiest of our Kentucky wildflowers. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

Pomona Belvedere said...

The Virginia Bluebells story was great (I agree with you; that little judicious blurring is actually a nice effect for a small swaying woodland flower). And I'd never heard of the Wood Poppy, it's so simple and so lovely. And likes shade, too?

I thought your comments about how the invasives took over the "natural" area was so telling: what we think will happen and what actually happens in the plant world are often so different. And you and Steve have now taught me not to expect to transplant a trillium...useful to know.

Balisha said...

Have a nice Memorial Day Weekend, Barbee.

Skeeter said...

I have about an acre of woods in the front of our house that I have never really done anything to. I should make pathways to stroll along. I dont go into the woods much during summer due to the possibility of a snake getting my ankles. If I had pathways, I could go into the woods with less fear! What a wonderful way you have laid logs as the pathway. We loose trees often and could do this. Thanks for the inspiration. My hubby might not think so though, lol. Congrats to the Graduate!

Barbee' said...

Pomona, yes, the wood poppy does well in shade. As to the invasive exotic plants, it is really tragic! It takes only a few months, less than a year and they will take over the majority of natives if they aren't vigorously controlled. The problem here is that I have "lost my vigor!" I have two new younger helpers so my hope is rising. I need twenty!

Hi Balisha, thank you. Holidays get me so confused. I have been on the wrong days ever since. I thought yesterday was first Wednesday, and told everyone I would be grocery shopping on Wed. because it would be first Wed. Grrr! Don't mind me, folks, I stay a bit befuddled.

Skeeter, thank you, the graduate was very happy. I asked him what was the next step for him. He said: Find a summer job. He is now working at a pizza restaurant. This fall he goes to Tenn. Tech. where he will be majoring in physics. Whew! he's smarter than I am.

Yes, outlining the paths was a good way to use those large limbs. They last about 3 years. We add more to the line each year as limbs fall and as gaps form in the lines. Good luck with yours.

Skeeter said...

Oh forgot to mention, the Saint does not read blogs unless they are about BBQ or cars lol, but I showed him this woods Blog and he agrees we can easily do this with future downed trees. He liked the look of your woodlands. So thanks again for the inspiration!!!

Barbee' said...

Skeeter, I am so glad the post helped you with your endeavor and swaying the Saint. It makes me happy that he likes my tiny woodland and style of layout. Skeeter, I am not publishing your other comment, because I didn't know to or no, because it is so personal about family members. Hope that is OK; I did find it interesting and enjoyed reading about your niece et al. I wish them luck in their future and hope all goes well for them. These are not easy times!

Barbee' said...

Skeeter, I forgot to say: dogwood and redbud trees love it back in there and reseed and come up everywhere. That photo is actually an old one and the area is now fuller with the smaller trees. I chose that photo because it showed the layout and size the best.

Skeeter said...

We have lots of dogwoods in our front woods but the woods are so thick the ones deeper in rarely bloom for us. The dogwoods on the woods edge bloom like gangbusters though...

kd said...

My virginia bluebells have multiplied for the first time this year! Major excitement. Thanks for clarifying that they do go dormant though -- I've always found it somewhat frustrating that their foliage could not be relied upon and wondered what I was doing wrong.

I'm looking forward to seeing more photos of your woodland garden. (I love how the paths are demarcated with branches, btw).

Barbee' said...

Kd, I still get excited when I find new little plants! I am delighted that I was of some help to you in understanding them! As I mentioned in one of my comment replies: I think I was still playing "house", carrying over from when I was a child who played in the woods and laid out the foundation of my "log cabin" playhouse.