Monday, May 14, 2018
Plant A Stump
It is amazing the extent of the ignorance that is my constant companion. One would think that a well rotted stump could easily be removed from the ground. That is not the case. Tree roots remain in their natural surroundings after a tree dies. Well suited for life underground, they remain solid long after death. Earth moving equipment would be required to safely dig out even a small tree stump. Several failed attempts taught me this lesson. One stump was removed from the ground so that it could be planted in our shade garden.
Why plant a stump is a natural question. A friend has a Lady Slipper growing naturally next to a stump. Despite a past encounter with a bulldozer, this plant returned after being missing for several years. Her belief is that the stump added something to the soil that favored the growth of the plant. Since my past attempts to plant Lady Slippers here ended in failure, I figured that a stump might support a successful plant move. Becky spent part of Mother's Day at Catskill Native Nursery where she found a sizable clump of Yellow Lady's Slipper for sale. One day later both the plant and the stump have found a new home.
Spring Beauties grow wild in our woods. Their growth habit makes for a tricky move. A pea sized corm supports the growth of a long thin underground stem that finally results in an above ground plant. Any attempt to move this plant will likely break the slender hidden stem. Lacking nutrients supplied by the leaves, the small corm will simply die. Finding the corm as the plant is naturally winding down is almost as difficult as finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. This large old Spring Beauty is growing in a pot with a Smooth Solomon's Seal plant. So far it looks like both plants have found a new home. Over time the Spring Beauty will drop a generous load of seeds so this treasure may become common in our shade garden.
Six Jack In The Pulpits were moved from our garden near the house to the garden down by the road last fall. The move was successful as numerous plants appeared this year in both locations. Gloves are always worn while working in the garden so no skin irritation followed the move.
Young Sumac trees provide the shade for our new woodland garden. They are short lived trees but their natural life span should be adequate for our needs here. The stones visible in the picture have been moved to this place from various different locations around our land. Many of these rocks are too large to be moved by hand but so far luck and wisdom have prevented any injury. The first stones placed can be seen between two of the tree trunks. We were trying for a natural looking sloped surface to direct rainfall toward moisture loving plants. The slanted surface works as planned but nature would never have placed three rocks in this configuration. The other stones have been placed singularly but the natural appearance desired has yet to be found. To improve appearance, more of the rocks need to be underground. Tree roots make that task difficult and possibly dangerous to the life of the tree. Our solution is to bring in our natural soil mix to raise the level of the ground. Growing plants will add greatly to a more natural appearance.
Here shredded sifted leaves are providing the final touch for the new plants. Each fall more leaves will be added to support the natural process that builds forest soil. Plastic bags of fallen leaves are plainly visible in the background of some pictures. We collect these in large numbers for use in all of our gardens. Running them through the small mower creates a mulch less likely to blow onto the neighbor's lawn. Natural decay is faster so the soil builds more quickly. Speed is important as the difficulties of growing older make more frequent visits now. Just today I stumbled while trying to stand and stepped on a Bunchberry plant. The newly emerging plant may survive the inadvertent stomp. I watered it and apologized but that is simply how it is here now.