What to Do With a Hollow Log

Old or sick trees eventually die; and with a wealth of trees on our property, Lou usually has several trees to remove every year. Much of the wood is cut and stacked neatly, to be used in the fireplace during cold winters. Large stumps, such as those in our Stump World, may be left in the woods to rot, providing shelter and food to myriads of creatures over the years. But this year we had several more interesting hollow logs, and I immediately recognized their potential as features in the garden. 

When a long, shaggy, moss-covered limb fell, I saw it as a woodland serpent with a wide open mouth, ready to swallow its prey. It had broken into two pieces when if hit the ground. The two pieces together were about twenty-five feet long - quite a snake! Lou was doubtful at first, but I convinced him the serpent log would make a great edging to the trail next to our fern glade. He and a helper loaded the pieces onto the back of a truck and hauled them to the entrance of the woodland garden, then carried them from there. I think it was worth their effort!

Here is a view of the two pieces of the serpent log in place; you can see part of the second piece in the center rear of the picture.:

Lou thinks it looks like an alligator, and maybe it does. But it really is too long to be anything but a serpent. I wish the two pieces were intact. I am going to encourage the vinca to grow over the ends so that it looks like the center of the snake is hidden in the growth.

Here is the back end of the serpent log. Lou had to cut the sharp jagged end off for the safety of people walking along the trail.

This trail is next to our fern glade, and I also used a couple of hollow logs to make some easy rustic planters for the same area. I simply put the logs in place, then filled their cavities with a good potting mix prior to planting.These hollow logs came from a chestnut oak:

Here is another log I think has a lot of character. I laid it on its side and used it as part of the edging beside the fern glade:


Are You An Extreme Gardener?

My eyes are riveted to the television as a snowboarder speeds through a half pipe or launches from a ramp to perform gnarly, gravity-defying tricks. Or a person hurls himself off a cliff and soars into the beyond with arms and legs spread inside a wingsuit, personifying Batman. How in the world do you learn to do such extreme sports without killing yourself first?

Extreme gardening is much safer. In fact, one can argue that extreme gardening has many physical and emotional benefits. Nevertheless, some people may shake their heads and think that an extreme gardener is a bit strange, if not outright nuts. The jasmine arch by the patio is blooming.

How do you know you are an extreme gardener? I have compiled a list of ten traits that, while completely unverified and unscientific, may indicate you are an extreme gardener:

1.You garden, no matter what your environmental conditions or living arrangements. You find a way to garden, year round, in one form or another.My arbor garden swing is a good place to relax and enjoy the garden.

2. When people visit, they ask to see your garden. If they don't ask, you show them anyway.Here is a view inside my perennial/pollinator garden, planted since last August.

3. People you don't know have come up to you and asked for gardening advice.

4. You own at least 50 gardening books, not counting garden magazines. No way you can count all those.

5. You have gardened at night under the floodlights around your house. 

6. You arrange vacation time around gardening activities. 

7. You know the botanical names for most of your plants. Amaryllis 'Apple Blossom' (Hippeastrum) has 16 blooms on it this year!

Planted earlier this year, Acanthus 'Whitewater' has its first bloom.

Fatsia japonica 'Spiderweb' is a shade-lover with beautiful leaves.

8. You have attended a demonstration or lecture about hydroponics.

9. You publish a garden blog.Views of my little blue bridge in the woodland garden have appeared many times on my blog. I recently moved a blue bottle tree to its side.

This large urn was one of the first features I put in the arbor garden when I began developing the space a decade ago. 

This green rabbit is one of a collection of rabbits that appear throughout my garden, in addition to the real ones!

10. Gardening is your favorite form of physical therapy for such things as hip replacement, torn meniscus, and recovery from debilitating infection.

If you are positive for any of the above, chances are you are a real gardener. The more traits you have, the more serious you are about gardening. If you own up to six or more, you may indeed be an extreme gardener. I confess I am guilty of all ten. But at least I am not putting on a wingsuit and jumping off cliffs.

So, how extreme are you?

Wishing all you gardeners the very best!  Deb