‘Out Back’ is a fenced in area where the deer and the moose are NOT allowed to wander. For many years it was mostly grass because it was where our septic field was until the field got flooded with abundant rain. We moved the field to higher ground – which gave us more landscaping freedom. I started by letting the grass grow taller in some areas, creating wide, sweeping grass paths. The grandchildren loved racing along them and playing hide and seek.
A few years ago I started letting more and more grass grow taller, creating a series of grass islands. I started planting perennials, bushes and trees in the islands. This is what it looked like last fall, from the perspective of someone just over 5 ft tall…
Enter The Car Guy, who had bought himself a Drone and was looking for photo projects. At this Drone height, you get a better idea of what my project looks like.
Higher still, and another perspective. You can see the industrial warehouses that are starting to ‘creep’ out our way.
Way, way up – a clear view of nine of the ten grass islands. Over the next few years we can mow less pathways, add more shrubs and trees and let the islands get bigger.
Hopefully everything will have matured by the time the farm behind us is developed into an industrial park!
The aspen and spruce wooded area at the top of the photo is not fenced. It forms a small part of a large wooded habitat that is home to deer, moose, fox, coyotes and many other mammals and birds.
I can hardly wait until spring time – so many outdoor gardening plans – and not a single one of them depends on the stage we are at with this pesky virus!
Two more plants that grow prolifically in our woods are the Cotoneaster (it is such a temptation to call it a ‘Cotton Easter’ bush…) and the wild raspberry. Both arrived in our woods from bird droppings.
Plant Profile Common Name: Cotoneasters (pronounced ‘co_TONY-aster’) Scientific Name: Cotoneaster; family Rosaceae Growth: Full sun to partial shade; very adaptable to both dry and moist locations; hardy to zone 2A Blooms: Clusters of shell pink flowers along the branches in mid spring
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
-Albert Camus –
Plant Profile Common Name: Red Osier or Red Twig Dogwood Scientific Name: Cornus spp.
Dogwood, which can be native to Alberta parkland forest understories, is a relatively easy bush to grow. It has interesting flowers in the spring, nice berries in the summer, great fall colour, and beautiful bright stems for winter colour.
We have several on our property. They arrived via bird droppings. I think that is quite amazing, actually. Who knows how far away the bird was when it ate some seeds (berries) from a dogwood. The seeds had to have been at just the right stage of ripeness. Then the bird flew some distance and pooped on a piece of ground that was a receptive host. The dogwood seed had to germinate, put down roots, and out muscle the plants around it in order to survive.
This year the dogwood got big enough for me to see it. It is about 3 feet (1 meter) high. It is not too far from a path I walk regularly – not hard to miss when the leaves turned bright red.
In contrast, there is a red-berried elder on our property that grew to be four times that size before I finally discovered it. It was delivered by bird poop too, but not in a location that it can easily be seen.
The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.
-Author Unknown –
Plant Profile Common Name: Virginia Creeper Scientific Name: Parthenocissus quinquefolia
This vine is a prolific deciduous climber, reaching heights of 20–30 m (70–100 ft) in the wild. It climbs smooth surfaces using small forked tendrils tipped with tiny strongly adhesive pads 5 mm (3⁄16 in) in size.
We have Virginia Creeper growing, under strict supervision, in two locations. The one in the photo is in a large planter box. It has been growing there for 20 years or so. I shear it back a few times each year so that it doesn’t take off across the patio and out onto the driveway. If left to do what it does best, it would engulf a small car in just one growing season.
The other location is next to a quonset steel building where it (and six of its siblings) are supposed to climb up the side of the building. To date, the strong adhesive pads are not having much luck climbing the shiny metal. Maybe next year.