being a good land steward

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I had a plant impulse buy at Yellow Springs Farm on Saturday.  A Chestnut Oak. I fell in love with the tree at Jenkins Arboretum, and also purchased some last year from Go Native Tree Farm in Lancaster, PA.

When I joined Jenkins Arboretum as a member, one of the things they gave me was this guide to their trees and shrubs and plantings.  Chestnut Oaks thrive on their grounds and I love the leaves and bark and sheer majesty of them.

So I planted my latest Chestnut Oak this morning.  When my arborists were  here a few weeks ago they planted my Black Gum Tree (from Go Native) for me because of my severe allergies to poison ivy and the like, but today I had to suit up, spray in advance for ticks and what not and go into the woods.

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I love my woods but once the poison ivy comes out, I have to watch where I go and what I touch.

When I was in the woods I noticed I have a patch of native Solomon Seal growing.  The native plants like that delight me each and every time I see one. I also seem to have some volunteer dogwoods and holly trees starting to grow.

IMG_4700But being good land stewards doesn’t mean clearing every square inch of undergrowth like I see people do, but removing invasives and allowing what should live there thrive. Don’t just plow your woods under to clear out brush.  You must be selective and careful.

We have had to take down trees because woods age and trees die.  But instead of allowing all soft woods to take over (like wild cherry trees and tulip poplars for example), I have made the decision to re-forest with species that are native to the area.  Like Chestnut Oaks.  I have also planted a Black Gum, Amish Walnuts (a crazy crossbreed which occurs in Lancaster County), Hazlenut, Hickories, Bur Oak, and understory trees like Sweetbay Magnolia.

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I hope everything survives, but it is the woods so you never know.  I plant everything well and stake the trees to grow as straight as possible.  I utilize old pieces of wire fencing around them and spray for deer too.

So far so good.  If you are interested in native species and re-foresting your woods join an arboretum as well as a land conservancy where you live. They are a marvelous resource.  I also recommend Yellow Springs Farm and Go Native Tree Farm.

I will note after playing in the woods, everything including myself, spear headed spade, gloves and boots gets a Tecnu bath.  I also do a thorough tick check.

Thanks for stopping by.

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yes, more roses.

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Benjamin Britten Rose courtesy of David Austin Roses

I don’t know if it was joining a local rose society (Philadelphia Rose Society)  that did it (I am already a many year member of the American Rose Society), or re-writing my rose growing article to reflect how I garden today that did it, but deer or no deer, woods or no woods, I just need more roses.

Roses are my first gardening love. So once again, I have stopped fighting it.  When I evaluated my existing roses it was still winter.  But even then I could see which ones I had lost completely.  And another which had been weakened by black spot. So I ordered two more David Austin‘s own-root bare root which are already planted and starting to sprout growth – Benjamin Britten and England’s Rose.

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England’s Rose courtesy of David Austin Roses

I also decided I wanted rugosas. People think of them as beach roses. You can see them all over, especially New England. They are salt resistant and wind resistant and winter hardy.

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Blanc Double de Coubert.

Now they are among the thorniest of roses and I might well curse them vigorously as they grow BUT hey, they are also naturally vigorously disease resistant (less chemicals yay!)

The prickliness of rugosa roses makes them deer resistant yet friendly to birds and small wildlife.

Rugosa roses are also known for their magnificent rose hips. And people make jam from them.  Rugosas have smaller, more wrinkled and almost leather-like leaves. Native to the coasts of Japan and Korea, I have decided they would fit with some of my other Asian lineage plants in this garden.

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Bayse’s Purple Rose

I decided to go to Heirloom Roses for rugosas. They are located in Oregon. I ordered from them years ago. I don’t think the company is owned by the same people any longer, so I will hope for the best.  I have bought a white rugosa I owned years ago, Blanc Double de Coubert. The second one is Bayse’s Purple Rose.

But always a glutton for punishment, I decided to check out another favorite rose source from days gone by – Antique Rose Emporium.

From Antique Rose Emproium I have bought two more roses. The first is another rugosa named Mary Manners. They describe her thusly:

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Mary Manners

‘Mary Manners’ originated as a white sport of ‘Sarah van Fleet’. It is much more than just another sport though. It’s one of the whitest roses out there and as a Rugosa, you can count on it being a tough landscape shrub. Try using it in place of ‘Iceberg if you have lots of black spot in your area.

They had me at “if you have lots of black spot.”

The other rose sourced from Antique Rose Emporium is a found rose.  Found roses are so much fun.  They are often lost roses discovered by people.  I literally had this book in my garden book library for years called In Search of Lost Roses by Thomas Christopher.  This is about the search for “old roses”–the original breed which all but vanished after 1867, when roses were hybridized.  Not of interest to most people, but I loved it.  I recently found a used copy of the book and am happily reading it again.

So back to the found rose.  It’s from Antique Rose Emporium and is called Caldwell Pink:

caldwell_pink2This everblooming rose, “Caldwell Pink”, is one of the most popular roses with landscape designers in our area. Its double, lilac-pink flowers form clusters that can be seen at a distance, and the compact bush fills out nicely with a minimum of pruning and maintenance. It is not very particular about soil conditions, but prefers a sunny open space. Some rosarians have suggested that this is the old China rose, ‘Pink Pet’, but we feel that it shows traces of wichuraiana or multiflora heritage and fits more naturally in the Polyantha class. The study name comes from a neighboring town, Caldwell, Texas, where this rose was found

I have a bed along the driveway where I am going to rearrange and add in the rugosas. Caldwell Pink will go in a front bed after a bit of rearranging there.

Rearranging. That is all about garden evolution.  As your garden grows, so may your vision of it. So has the case with mine with my roses.  I love my David Austins and I have a monster Queen Elizabeth who was rustled by me a few years ago when a nursery was closing.  They were just going to toss her out. Queen Elizabeth is a Grandiflora and she is a beautiful tall and fragrant pink rose.

I have decided to experiment with found and rugosa roses because of the disease resistance and although super throny, that is a benefit in keeping deer off of them.  But especially with the rugosas they are a rose that as they grow birds love to nest in them and little critters nest below because of the very thorny nature.

My garden is a layered cottage style in front especially, so I need to start experimenting with roses which can be more self-sufficient. And do not require tons of pruning.  Rugosas grow glorious hips so it is a rose you do not have to completely dead head if you so choose. You can allow the spent blooms to go to hips.

In other garden news, black haw viburnums arrived today along with my shag bark hicory seedlings.  I ordered them from GoNative Tree Farm in Lancaster, PA.  They sent me a black gum tree as a present. Black Gums are new to me, so I will have to learn about them and into the rear of the woods it will go.

The last word today are some more current garden photos of my garden. I will note the sky at present is a stark contrast of shades of steely gray with the new green of trees leafing out.  We are definitely getting some weather later.

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let the fall gardening games begin!

Today is one of my most favorite days of the year. It’s my sister’s birthday and it’s also fall tree work day!

Treemendous Tree Care arrived right on time and our trees are getting their fall haircuts! I am also taking down a couple small saplings that didn’t make it, and trees that are interfering with the growth of more valuable trees. From our tree work I will get more mulch in the form of wood chips, and we will also get more firewood.

One of the things I can’t stress enough to homeowners and gardeners alike is the importance of routine tree work. When we moved in here there have been virtually no tree work in at least 50 years.

People do not realize how much better it is if you do routine tree work versus waiting for a crisis or an emergency. Yes, a good arborist does not come cheaply, but if your home is your castle and your most valuable asset, it’s a necessary thing. And Treemendous Tree Care considering their skill set and knowledge are very reasonably priced.

We tend to do tree work twice a year. We live partially in the woods. And taking good care of your trees is also responsible environmentally speaking.

Once my tree work is complete I will be starting on the final push of fall gardening and fall cleanup.

When the leaves start to fall I will shred them for mulch on my beds. In the meantime I am starting to do my fall trimming and my final fall planting. That will include some reforestation this year. I am planting some hardwood saplings deep in my woods for future generations to enjoy. Those trees are coming from Go Native Tree Farm in Lancaster, PA.

Yesterday I planted white currant bushes from Honeyberry USA. White currant bushes are hard to come by and I had planted them before and a few years ago someone who was helping me a little bit in the garden who didn’t know what they were cut them down as if they were weeds. Who you have on your property and and your gardens is a learning curve.

Sometimes even though someone is very nice they don’t have the knowledge base or depth of plant knowledge that you need. I now have a much better team assembled to help me with the things I can’t do myself.

And this morning my bulbs arrived from Brent and Becky’s in Virginia. I also bought some bulbs this year from P. Allen Smith. I get very excited when my bulbs arrive! I’m not so happy with my back after I plant all of them, but it’s so worth it in the spring when they pop up!

OK I am going back to supervise my tree work and lay my bulbs out for planting. Enjoy this beautiful fall day! It’s a little crisp but it’s lovely outside.

Also…try to be kind to one and other and pay something positive forward.

history.

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When you preserve/save, or try to preserve/save giant heritage trees, in a sense you are preserving a little bit of history.

The big beech that smashed a large part of itself into our home and deck has been topped and now we cross our fingers and hope it lives.

My arborist showed me more carving dates in the trunk I hadn’t noticed. The oldest date is 1871. The initials that correspond with it are somewhat obliterated, but the date is clear. There is also at the very bottom someone carving in it from 1935, and other dates from almost every decade of the 20th century and initials and hearts and things all around it.

When you look at this, you can’t help but wonder who all these people were that sat under the giant arms of this beech tree. I don’t know about you, but I think that is pretty cool to even contemplate.

That’s what makes me sad about all these housing developments in addition to the fact that they’re just crowding the landscape with their plastic glory, trees like this fall every day. Developers just tell townships they will plant new trees. You can’t replicate this.

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in the trees

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When you have trees, they are responsibility and constant maintenance. Even if those trees are in woods.

We had begun major preventative tree work here, but sometimes Mother Nature just has her own ideas about what should happen and when.

The ice storm isn’t something I will NOT soon forget, but I know at the end of the day we were very lucky. And I say that in spite of the damage we sustained. And trust me, as I spent days looking at what was the Armageddon of my backyard and back of the house it was hard to be positive.

I am always a big proponent of supporting local businesses, and when it comes to our arborist there is no exception. He is local and he is excellent. He is also a climber. When it comes to tree work, especially in these giant heritage trees, being a climber is truly an art form. Any guy with a chainsaw can climb in a bucket truck, but very few can climb trees the way he can.

Another reason I like my tree guy, is he is sort of a tree hugger for lack of a better description. He is someone who will get creative to save a tree, rather than just cut it down.

I snapped this photo this morning.

The arborist we use is Robert Phipps of Phipps Tree Care. I recommend him highly.

I have had an awesome time photographing him way up in the giant beech today. I don’t know how many hundreds of feet this tree is, but even topped it still has got a couple hundred feet of height. We are going to see if we can save it.

the road not taken….

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The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost 1874–1963

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.