Garden thoughts

In response to the most recent “mach was.”

Recently we (I) moved from 4.25 acres of wooded yard to a small suburban house. From this:


At the old house, we had this elm tree, which I helped plant when I was little.


to this:


This is about a ten year old (I think) elm that was put in by the Town, now the Village. It’s the only tree on my entire lot.


I feel horrible about it, but more about the trees that are now gone (everything on the old lot was removed) than the trees that are not here, if that makes any sense. In the last five years I worried a lot about those trees and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved by the alleviation of the burden. At the same time, I did love living in in the middle of a wood, and I miss it a lot, especially the feeling of privacy!


The entry to the old house as taken from the road, about a year ago. It’s all been taken out. I haven’t driven past.


I didn’t really garden much at that house. Things my mother planted just sort of grew. This was particularly true with the asparagus and the rhubarb, which were the only things in the garden after she died and dad gave up the pumpkins.


Garden shed at the house, June 2020. We called it the “roadkill shed” because it was exclusively built from things dad picked up off the road. Not sure where he found the solar panels.


I tried to maintain them as I like to eat both of those things, but about a year after the stroke, well into vascular dementia, dad mowed off the remaining rhubarb and asparagus.


One rhubarb plant came back up! (June, 2020). My brother transplanted it back to the farm (to meet its cousins for the first time).


At the new house, I’ve only got the one tree. We also have a lot of these in the decorative borders around the house, which similarly points to the last few owners being severely uninterested in gardening.


This is a hosta. It demands nothing from the gardener except a cut-down right before the hard freeze. However, it also gives nothing to the environment.


I still am not entirely sure I am staying here, but if I do, these will have to either come out or be supplemented by an early pollinator of some kind. Honestly, I think suburban lawns are ugly. I am not allowed to plant this lawn in “noxious weeds,” but I’d really like to put in all native species. This would anger the neighbors and probably drag my property value down, though.

In the interest of peace after my visual transgression, I did make a gesture in the direction of conformity:


This is a multi-color mum.


But I’m not sure she doesn’t owe me, because meanwhile, I’m dealing with an overflow from the neighbor’s yard.


The boxelder bug, Boisea trivittata.


Yup, she’s got a boxelder tree, and the south-facing facade of the house is swarming in the these pests. They’re not dangerous or bothersome other than that they stink if you step on them. Supposedly they go away as soon as the weather changes.

So all the windows and entries on the south and west sides of the house are baited with diatomaceous earth and sprayed with pyrethine, in hopes of keeping them out of the house.


Interestingly, the German word for this stuff is “die Kieselgur.”


And, of course, the Village’s big gardening activity is well under way, and everywhere I drive, this is the vehicle I am following. It’s been reasonably dry, so hopefully the crops will come out of the fields without a lot of problem.

~ by Servetus on October 3, 2021.

30 Responses to “Garden thoughts”

  1. Understandable that you miss those gorgeous trees. Hopefully you’ll be able to change your garden more to your liking!
    Thanks for participating and sharing those memories and pics!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yellow , orange, white, (with purple on the back!) Good for your neighbours likes…


  3. […] hat hier von ihrem alten und von ihrem neuen Garten […]


  4. Hopefully you can find some nice plants that butterflies and bees like. I know they like salvias, they do kind of stink (or I think they do) but butterflies and bees love them. There are other ones that I can’t think but you can google and find out more for your zone. The mum is still very pretty.


    • ooh — I forgot about salvias! Thanks for the tip.


      • Your welcome. Lavender and marigolds are good too. The honey bees are really liking them right now since we have not had a frost yet. I see daisy’s, and cone flower too. If you decide to get rid of the hosta’s see if someone wants them, their expensive at the garden center.


        • Wow, I did not know that. I think we’ve decided we’ll cut them down this fall, and then decide next year. Kick the can down the road, that’s how we make decisions, lol.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. The huge trees look wonderful. We have very nice ones next to our appartment (because we live near a big park). But I’d like to have a small garden if I could. We only have a kind of terrace, where I put all the plants I can, trying to make them grow (it works !).

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I can totally sympathise with both your worry about the mature trees, and the sadness when they were taken down. I felt the same when we had to axe our tree in the garden last winter.
    Maybe your current home is a “transition” house where you can figure out whether you would like to move on to a property where you are less restricted by neighbours’ aesthetics.


    • Yeah, I think what I’ve been reminded of is the weird place a suburb inhabits. The really serious issue here is that if I moved to a location more isolated, at my current skill level, I could easily get trapped in winter. I always liked living in cities, in apartments– where I never worried about the vegetation. I could consider a condo, but we bought this house as an investment and a condo in an area like this one is typically an inferior investment.


  7. I have to admit I wouldn’t have known what “Kieselgur” was 😉


  8. We always kind of dream of living in a wood. Yes, must be painful that those trees have been cut down now.
    Neighbours really do sound restricitve with the gardening – ugh! Hope those little critters stay out of the house – is that stuff working?


    • I understand their concerns (and to some extent share them, I suppose).

      The diatomaceous earth does work. Although the sun has hidden the last two days, so that may also be playing a role.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This post raised a lot of mixed emotions in me. I grew up on eight tree-filled acres. My dad spent the better part of his life growing a forest to live in. When it came time to retire from the university and the home tree farm/nursery business he sold the acreage as a business at a ridiculously low price. He wanted it to be his legacy. The guy who bought it soon lost it to foreclosure because running it took a kind of dedication he wasn’t willing to submit to. It was sold at auction for a pittance. The new owners turned around, sold off lots of 1-2 wooded acres, made a ton of money and the forest is no more. My dad refused to drive down that road again until the day he died. I took my kids there several years ago and we got permission to wander around the grounds. I was surprised at the number of giant old pines that had been cut down. Everything looked very bare. I was also surprised that my kids had really no memory of the place, and it didn’t hold the nostalgia for me I thought it might. Now it seemed a monument to wasted labor, endless summers working, frustrating discussions about how it could be sold to benefit my parent’s retirement vs being a (turns out worthless) legacy, and finally a bitter disappointment to my parents who had planted every tree, terraced all the hills, curated every plant. Now, none of the kids have large yards or gardens. This year I grew tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. Only my youngest sibling grew more. Interestingly to me, is our thinking along the same track-I have a large box of seeds that I was given over the years, (or stole from my parent’s garden center) All this long hot summer I’ve had my eye on some bags of wildflower seeds debating about putting them in an empty flower bed at the front of my house…..waiting for a good rainy fall day. I don’t have the same neighborhood constraints as you may. I have almost a quarter pound of Dame’s Rocket seed, a quarter pound of mixed Idaho wildflower seed, and a quarter-pound of wildflower seed to attract birds and butterflies. I’ve even checked to make sure none are considered invasive in ND. I worried for a minute that I wouldn’t know how to weed the flower bed…after I quit laughing, I started looking for the next rainy day. It might be a while, we’re having a week of temps in the 80’s for the beginning of Oct.


    • Plants are only slightly behind cows in terms of their requirements of loyalty from humans — just because it’s not a daily thing. I don’t think anyone cares about your legacy as much as you do. It’s difficult to make your kids as involved as you are. I have a slight garden trauma myself (from my grandmothers). I think ideally you’d have a situation where you can just let the trees be as they are (at least this was how my dad saw our yard — and out at the farm we have this still). They’re slightly less work that way. I think this is also the attraction of wildflowers. I hope you plant yours somehow!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. We had to cut some very large spruce trees down recently and I just cried and cried about it. But they were unwell and had to go before they came down in a storm…. Not a good situation as they could have caused great damage. Trying to decide what to put in the spot where they were. The bare spot in the yard sort of makes my heart ache.
    I’m not much of a gardener, but I hate hostas! I agree, take them out. I’ve decided I do like hydrangea bushes so I’m thinking of getting some next spring. They grow well here. We have to fence in our yard, as the deer have destroyed much of it. I love deer, but they are out of control here!


    • Sorry for the very late reply (dad had another crisis). This question of trees coming down somewhere where they hurt someone or something has been on my mind for a while. Upside: I will also no longer have to stress out about the gutters every single year.

      I love hydrangeas, but apparently they don’t like to bloom much. Maybe that’s just here.


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