Tuesday
Oct132009

Rocking Along in the Lady Garden

I bought some rocks for my garden the other day. The man who loaded them into my vehicle was from Mexico. 

"In my country," he said, "Rocks like this are everywhere. No one would ever pay for such things. In America," he paused and gave me a big smile, "People will buy anything."

Well, I've already scavenged all the rocks from my own yard, and I needed some to give structure to an area I am developing down from our patio. I call it the lady garden, because I have a pot there shaped like a lady's head.Last year a carpenter built me an arbor to one side of the area, and I have a swing hanging from it. There is a large urn in the center and a flagstone path and four separate planting areas. I am outlining the planting areas with the rock. 

My oldest son dropped by today, and I roped him into helping me haul the rocks down to the garden. I still need more rocks, but it is beginning to take shape. Most of my yard has a natural, informal feel to it. The lady garden is a bit more formal, though still woodsy. I enjoy sitting in the swing and watching the wildlife. 

An owl family lives in the area. They are huge birds, and their hoots have an otherworldly, haunted quality. I recently saw one of them sitting atop the arbor, and it was creepy to watch it swivel its head from front to back without moving its body. This spring I sat in the swing and watched the mother owl teach her baby to fly. She flew from branch to branch, calling the young one to come. Baby finally took off, following her on short hops at first, and then finally mom and baby soared together from one side of the lady garden to the other, a distance of about forty feet.  

I felt like a proud godmother.

Monday
Oct122009

rainy days

The rain is coming down in sheets today. Again. I still remember the terrible drought from a couple years ago, so I'm not complaining. I am glad that I got some garden work done last week. Between rain showers I was able to spend some quality time pulling weeds, and I also did some transplanting. There were several goldmound spirea which were crowding into each other on a hillside bordering the woodland garden, and there were some wood ferns scattered about that I decided to cluster together. These were the easy transplants.

I also dug up a seven foot tall fothergilla. That job took longer, about an hour, but the ground was soft from recent rain and the root system was shallow, so it was not too difficult. I put the fothergilla in a sunnier part of the yard. This shrub didn't bloom much this year, probably because the trees nearby have grown up and are giving it too much shade.

I am never afraid to move a plant if it seems unhappy in its present location or if I think it will look better in another place. In Alabama, fall and winter are great times for transplanting. The air temperature is gentle, and the root systems have a chance to establish themselves before next summer's heat. I always transplant on a cool, cloudy day and water them well afterwards. I have moved some plants up to four times before finding their perfect homes.

So last week I moved three spireas, six ferns, and one large fothergilla. And it has rained ever since. And I am smiling, because I don't have to worry about watering them.Fothergilla has beautiful fall foliage.