Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Digging up the steps

T Today we started our backyard landscaping project.  I expect that it will take us at least a year to complete it.   Eddie and I dug up some of the buried back steps.  It was our first archeological dig...and of all our backyard. 

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Making a plan for our backyard project

The backyard needs a lot of work.  We have decided to give it a guided naturalized look.  Right now it has a look of "transition".  Take a look at our progress.

Just kidding!!
Our backyard view cannot be improved.  However, the is a lot of work to do on the ground.

Since we cut down the huge hollow oak we are being invaded by "alien plants" that eagerly suck up the newly available open space and sunshine left by the gap from the felled oak tree. Japanese Knotwood, wild rose and Japanese wisteria are everywhere.  They are attacking all the native plants around them.  We cut out many invasive vines that were strangling a number of our baby dogwood, ash, birch and black cherry trees.  It will be months before we get it all completely cleaned up.  And we need to read a lot of books to understand what to get rid of and what to encourage.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Naturalizing our Yard

We are taking down down our Japanese Wisteria now that we know that it is not a native to our area.  It is an invader.  In the words of Douglas W. Tallamy who wrote "Bringing Nature Home:  How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants"  Japanese wisteria is invasive to the North East and discourages native plant growth.  Also, our native insects do not eat or use alien plants like this Japanese wisteria.  This is why landscapers often refer to these non-native invading plants as "Pest-free" ornamentals.  But not only are they "pest-free" they are largely inedible to native insects and birds.

We must now try to figure out which native vine we will use as a replacement.  

Unlike invaders such as Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) and Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinsnsis), native plants sustain wildlife. Native plants do support native insects and serve as a source of food for birds and animals. 

A good book to read about how to replace invaders with native plants is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guide called "Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants".  They recommend we plant instead American Wisteria (Wisteria Frutescens) or the Kentucky wisteria (macrostachya). 

Sunday, November 29, 2009

End of Autumn

This is our view from the back deck.  I never tire of it, especially in the early morning and at sunset.  This is my last weekend in New York until 2010.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

This is our first really cold day

We washed our sheets and hung them out to dry. Even though it is cold outside, I'll bet that the sheets are dry in 15 minutes. Take a look.