Our development is in its final stages as there are virtually no houses left to be built. There are large mounds of soil, created when this development started. Weedy trees have grown up on it but now it all must come down.
A few weeks ago, trees were uprooted. Branches and trunks were cut off and ground up. But they left neat piles of stumps piled high; waiting to be picked up later. Aha! It was time for me to spring into action and start working on something I have always wanted in my garden, i.e. a stumpery. No sooner had the crew left and I went exploring. I walked the length of the grassy path pulling out all stumps that looked promising. Soon the path was littered with them and it was time to get them home. First, I carried (dragged) two of them home. Then I got my trusty green cart out and went back, feeling like an adventurous 10-year old, going out exploring. The Spouse was informed “I was going for a little walk” and he knew better to ask what I was up to. All in all, over two days I made five trips getting all the stumps that looked promising and relocated them all over my garden. The following week I went back for more. Some stumps are locked into tight embraces, leaving planting pockets for ferns and hostas. Others are left in the rain gardens, looking as if they were uprooted by storms and swept down into gullies. They will help redirect water and with luck a seed will be caught behind a root or two and grow into plants.
A few stumps were put next to my path where a group of Turk’s cap lilies were blooming. The small bulbils growing on these plants will fall among the stumps and within three years I will have a thicket of Turk’s cap growing in between the roots and stumps. Of course, eventually the wood will rot, disintegrating and enriching the soil with nutrients and feeding my plants in turn. What’s not to like, a way to recycle wood and roots, making the garden look better and ultimately enriching the soil.
On one of my walks through the garden, I make a pleasant surprise; the tree frog is back. Last year a small tree frog took up house in my watering can on the porch. This year, much to my delight, I see a little face peaking out of the bird house hanging off the arbor under the little Linden tree. In late afternoon it surveys the garden and I can only imagine that later in the day, early evening, it will leave its home and starts looking for food in the tree above.
(Just aside, the little Linden tree is NOT a little tree. This tree in our neighbors’ yard is about 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide and eventually it will grow up to 80 feet tall and 50 feet wide. The word “little” refers to the size of the leaf, which is about 2 to 3 inches long. Contrast that to the size of the leaf of the large leafed Linden tree, which is heart-shaped, about 5½ inches long and 3 inches wide. The large leafed Linden tree will outgrow the little Linden tree and can be as tall as 125 feet with a rounded canopy.)
I discover a pair of praying mantises mating in the Vitex tree, which were still there a day later. I don’t know if the male eventually lost his head when the pairing was done; female praying mantises have a way of killing their partner after the deed is done. Caterpillars are all over the butterfly weed and parsley; munching away to grow big and transform into butterflies. In this hot and dry month all is still well in the garden; stumps have been strewn around and the wildlife flourishes. As for the gardener, I find shady spots and read my books.