Sunday, August 13, 2017
We presently have more garden than we can properly care for so the creation of more might be difficult to understand. A no care woodland space filled with mostly native plants is our goal here. Since the young sumac trees have not been growing here very long, soil from our woods and bags of fallen leaves were trucked in to rot down creating a natural woods soil.
Batterson is the surname of the family that operated an inn here in the distant past. Their business came from travelers making the trek from Sidney to Gilbertsville. The railroad came up the other side of the valley and Mr. Batterson built a bridge across the river in an attempt to keep his inn afloat. A nearby pine covered picnic area on the bank of the Unadilla River was a popular outing destination. The Batterson Inn was just a short walk away and he could sell food to those enjoying a day nearby. Batterson Crossing is still recognized as the name of this spot despite the removal of the bridge almost 40 years ago. We respectfully borrow their name for our developing garden in the dappled shade.
The large stone is intended to serve as a water source for the moisture craving bunchberry. Warm stones gather moisture from cool night air so the area around the stone will be more moist. The stone was also placed to divert rainfall but that water will drain away from the bunchberry. Those plants were placed so that they were in full view. They can always spread toward the wetter soil.
This is the view looking to the west. Our neighbor's well tended former field begins where our sumac trees end. A strip of bark mulch will be installed as a barrier for his grass. It will need to be weeded and renewed but it will be effective in controlling the naturally spreading grass.
The stones in the foreground are in storage. They will be placed to define planting areas that at least suggest a natural setting. The bags of leaves await their trip through the mower.
There are four plants that we placed in this area. The larger two plants with spotted leaves was gifted to us under the name trout plant. It is actually a Pulmonaria native to Europe. It has no proper place in a native plant garden but is a well behaved alien. Its flowers open pink colored then turn to purple. How neat is that? The spotted leaves look good for months. It is hardy and spreads generously but does not claim large areas for itself.
Foamflower is a native that grows in our back woods. Three newly purchased specimens complete the planting under this cluster of sumac trees. Foamflower is described as a spreading ground cover but that is not its habit in our dry woods. We will watch and wait to see how it grows in this location.
The leaves were collected last fall and have been stored in their plastic bags. Two trips through our hand mower has produced a fine mulch that will not blow into our neighbor's lawn. A winter under the snow pack will reduce these bits of leaves to a dark rich looking soil that could have come from a forest. We will renew the leaf mulch in the spring to smother unwanted weeds. For now we really like the way this looks.