From the moment we bought our property I knew I wanted to have a woodland garden. About 1/4 acre of our 1 acre lot is covered by native forest. There is a clump of massive tulip poplars and two massive oak trees that anchor the woodland area. Most of the other trees are quite small and can easily be removed by a lopper. Only a few are large enough to actually need a saw.
The first spring we were here I was delighted to find that we have two native dogwoods and a few native flowering shrubs. I made note of where they were so that I wouldn’t remove them by accident.
It wasn’t until last summer that I finally got a chance to start cleaning things out and it was a good thing I did. The largest dogwood had been overtaken by wild grapevines and was near death. I pulled as much of the grapevine out of the tree as I could. Unfortunately I ended up covered in chigger bites. They had showered down on me while I was pulling down the vines. The nearly microscopic critters are next to impossible to detect, but their after-affects are visible for days or weeks!
I then put off pulling down anything else until the chiggers had died off due to cold weather. This spring I went back into the woodlands and cut down all the tiny seedling trees in an area big enough for our 12’ screened gazebo. My husband helped me with the couple of bigger trees. Then we got busy with other pressing issues.
This weekend I finally took the time to dig up all the hostas and ferns I had planted across the front of the property when we moved in. From what I could determine when we first moved in the front of the house was nearly due north and would be in the shade. The reality, however, was that sets NW and heavy on the west, so in the afternoon it sits in blazing sun for the summer months, not the place for hostas and ferns.
Even in less than perfect location the hostas and ferns had grown massively and it took both my husband and myself to dig them out with a lot of grunting and sweating, but no swear words! I could only haul two at a time in my little garden cart! Away I went with my treasure to the back of the house and my dreamed of woodland garden.
I began cutting the huge clumps in to smaller pieces so that I could place them all over the area we’d cleaned out.
Once a manageable size I placed them all over the path and around the area where we’ll put the deck for the gazebo. Then I started to try and plant them. OMG, the soil was as hard as a rock and filled with big thick roots! To top it all off I had hurt my back digging them out, so couldn’t dig with much power. Lucky for me my husband put on his superman outfit (not literally) and dug out all but three or four of the plants holes. He’s not a macho-man, but he sure put on a macho show today.
We managed to get all the plants in the ground and well watered. We’re both delighted with how it looks and the plants are not even well established. However, I moved one plant there earlier this year and it is now full sized and looking better than it ever did in the front garden. I recommend you stand back, because I expect to have a lush woodland garden quicker than you can blink your eye. Of course, since I just moved them I will have to watch them carefully and water them regularly until they get a good root system established.
During this next week I’ll give them a rich fertilizer treatment with nutrients and a root booster (all organic and vegan no less), and then top them off with some leaf compost. I just needed to call it a day and take care of my poor, aching back. However, not before I took a few snaps of the dramatic change. Who wouldn’t want to wander back here now?