a new garden

Our previous home had a large yard, with almost four acres to play with. We let a one-acre wooded area grow up in the back. Over the course of 25 years, we planted a lot of trees, shrubs and flowers in the rest of the yard. A favorite activity was “walking the yard” to see what was blooming. Our older son and his family now live in that house. Now they’re the ones walking the yard to keep up with what’s happening.

Here are a few pictures of our previous garden.

Heavy on the daylilies. We collected about 400 different varieties of daylilies over the years. Our favorites were moved to our new home, but we don’t have the amount we had previously.

Hostas were another plant we collected. We have moved many of those to our new home. Native to northeastern Asia, these are a nonnative we plan to keep.

I love Russian sage, but that won’t make the trip from the previous garden. We’ll plant penstemons, blue star, liatris and other native spikey plants instead.

We’ve been in our new home for two and a half years. It’s a brand new start. Part of the half acre yard has very poor soil. It needs some attention. Compost, chips and native plants will be added as we’re able.

We are planning an eco friendly yard, with native trees, shrubs and plants that support native wildlife. We want to support everything from insects and birds to small animals. There are some nonnatives in the yard that we would like to replace with natives. The rule of thumb for native to nonnative ratio in a suburban environment is 70% native and no more than 30% nonnative. The more natives used, the better. I’ve already mentioned some nonnatives that we moved from the previous garden. Included are some “family” plants. My grandmother’s lilac, daffodils from Russell’s family farm, etc. We want to keep those, but most other nonnatives in our current yard will be replaced eventually.

If you’ve researched anything about planting native, you probably know that, if you can plant only one tree in your yard to support wildlife, it should be an oak tree. Oaks support more wildlife than any other native tree. We are blessed with ten large oak trees in our yard. Our home backs onto ten acres of a neighbor’s property that has been planted with many oak trees. We’re off to a good start.

Russell has planted elderberries, hazelnuts, and beautyberry shrubs, and choke cherry, dogwood, and redbud trees. We have a pussy willow and a buttonbush shrub on order.

Last week, we decided where we want a wide pathway for walking the yard. We began putting that together. I took plastic tape off cardboard boxes. Russell spread the boxes on the path and topped them with chips. With that decided, we now have a good idea where flower beds and shrubs should be planted.

We plan to have an open space off the screened porch, but the rest of the backyard, we hope, will eventually be completely planted with native shrubs and flowers, with some foot paths for access.

It’s going to be an adventure! ~~Rhonda 🙂

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