Hi you all! I've been pretty busy working on the land. Farmer Fix-it was laid off a few months back due to his employer losing the government contract. He has been patiently awaiting a callback; which so far has not come. The great news is he and I are able to spend all of our time together (and I mean all) and we usually spend it working on our land. We've accomplished a lot in the eight months we have owned the property. Our goal is still to build our new home on the land in the very field I will showcase in this post. In the meantime the garden and orchard and discoveries are coming along. I consider that we are very lucky to be able to fully explore our land; which is a treasure; and to be able to work on our gardens prior to the busy time of building and moving. One recent discovery (among many which I will share as I am able to) is the fact that a sweet native tree is growing on our land. It is called Euonymous americanus, also known as Hearts a burstin.
I have tried for several years to get this small tree going in my current garden. I actually had three small saplings that were very s-l-o-w-l-y growing. I gave one to a friend and still have the other two; which will probably make the trip to my new garden soon. It is important to have a fairly big tree because in my experience the small ones do not really make a big show if they even bloom. This picture does not show the bloom but in fact it shows the seedpod. This is the unique thing about hearts a burstin. Those red berry like seeds stop you in your tracks! And they persist on the tree for a long time so they are a very ornamental feature of this tree. I am most excited about finding this plant on our land and I will share with you some more great finds soon!
When we purchased our land the land had been pretty much left alone for many years. A field that had once seen better days was completely overgrown with trees, blackberries, and all kinds of unmentionables. Farmer Fix-it and I have worked very hard to clean out all of the mess. The trees have been a bear to clean up because some had trunks as big as 5-6" in diameter. We actually had to use a chainsaw to take them down. There are still many stumps in this area but we are slowly working on the situation and it is getting better by the day. The above picture was snapped February 16, 2013. While it does not show many trees in this view, further down the field and to the right there are trees. This area was a bit packed down by the deer and so was spared the worst of the growth.
This picture was taken July 1st. At this point the field had been cleared, a dozen Paniculata Grandiflora hydrangeas have been planted along the driveway (the right side of this field out of the camera view), the daylily beds have been boxbladed in preparation for me to turn the soil, and the field is looking fairly fresh with a cover of green weeds, mixed with some grass.
This is how the field looks today. We have installed a grape arbor, raspberry/blackberry trellis, the daylily beds have been planted, a bench was installed under a small Cornus kousa, and planted grass seed. Our orchard area is starting to take shape in the background. We recently aerated the area and applied 400 pounds of pelletized lime. Our soil tested a pH of 5.3 which is too acid for most orchard trees so the lime was necessary. We'll retest the soil in the spring and adjust as needed then. We expect the majority of our fruit trees to come in next month so our focus has been getting that area ready. Once the orchard is planted we will finish fencing it all to keep the deer from eating the small trees. We plan to put the house in the far background on the small rise you see.
Here is another view looking west toward the driveway and up the slight hill. Here you can see one of three pear trees we planted a few months ago. I pruned it quite a bit in anticipation of establishing a good growing structure for future fruiting. For some reason the deer do not eat the pear trees but devoured a plum tree we planted. There is also a large round brown pole as part of the new orchard fence in place and ready to be strung with an electric fence. To our right is the woods and the pond area. We have been busily working on clearing the area around the pond as well. So far dozens of trees have come down. These include trash trees like black willows, elms, and maples. Okay, maybe not all trash trees but when they grow in the pond and take over the pond, these trees become nuisance trees. We left oaks, sourwoods, dogwoods, Eastern hophornbeams, some maples, cedars, and a gum tree or two. I'll perhaps post on the pond area soon as we are quite proud of the changes we are making to our land while still trying to leave it in a natural state without drastic changes....
in the garden....