Long before there was a housing development, there was a farm. And long before the Miller Family Farm, there was a tree. According to local legend, the tree anchored the original home site. I can only imagine the Miller Family was as drawn to its stately presence as we were.
While its true age eludes us, it is fair to say that this gentle giant has witnessed a lot – families coming and go, children attempting to climb its massive branches, horses and buggies replaced with automobiles, and the glow of streets lights piercing the darkness.
For two years we’ve wrestled with the reality that it would have to come down. The legendary oak tree was dying and a hazard. Large, heavy branches would fall in the middle of the night and the base was beginning to rot. We even had an “anonymous” neighbor send a picture and complaint to Town Hall (by the way, I know who you are).
So, this weekend the tree came down. It took a crew of six and five hours. The house shook every time another a section fell. I left midway through the process and didn’t return until it was finished and the crew was gone.
It’s still strange to walk out the front door or round the corner onto our street and not see it. Eventually we’ll get used to it.
There is also an enormous sense of relief having it gone. I won’t lie awake at night in a panic every time the wind begins to blow, or worry about a branch falling on one of us while we’re tending to the flowers or enjoying our front yard. But we’ll miss its grandeur. We’ll miss imagining what secrets the giant oak held.
“The reindeer are eating the flowers!”
Well, my daughter’s statement is half-true. I don’t have the heart to tell her they aren’t actual reindeer, mainly because it’s so cute. But that’s really the only cute thing about this situation.
My lilies started out strong and beautiful – loaded with blooms.
Then one day, I noticed the back row of lilies had been munched on.
I was mad at the reindeer, but at least the majority were blooming.
My anger turned to fury when our uninvited guests returned to make a meal out of the leaves, and for dessert, completely strip most of the stalks.
The only bit of good news is the flowers in the front yard have distracted the deer from the vegetables in the back.
How do I keep them out of the flowers?!?!?!? The only reindeer I want to see are fake ones, in December.
The planting, fertilizing, mulching, shoveling and weeding all paid off. My cutting garden exploded in yellow as the daffodils put on a brilliant show. Every afternoon my spirits lift when I round the corner onto our street and catch sight of this:
As the daffodils begin to fade, my lilies are on the way up. I have a combination of lily plants. There is an assorted Asiatic blend that I planted in the fall. I also have a second group of Asiatic lilies that I moved from my garden in Virginia and transplanted in North Carolina. The original location I chose for planting did not provide enough sun, so I dug them up again and moved the bulbs to what is now my cutting garden. I did this during the growing season last year, so they didn’t bloom. I am relieved to see them coming up healthy and strong now!
In addition to the Asiatic lilies, there are several day lily plants that were part of the landscaping when we purchased the home and fit beautifully into my master plan for the garden. I added several purple cone flower plants last year that are starting to show new growth as well.
My peony tubers are also coming up. This one even has a small bud!
That said, I’m not expecting many blooms. Since I planted tubers and not mature plants, it will likely take three years for the peonies to be established enough to really begin producing. But my opinion is that in the long run they will be healthier, more beautiful plants.
Over the weekend I added another small expansion to the garden by planting five white phlox plants behind the 100-year-old (at least) tree that anchors the front landscaping. I also put down 10 more bags of mulch.
My plan is to conquer small sections at a time, with the eventual goal of creating a sitting area as well. I’m taking baby steps in hopes that next year the space will be close to what I envision.
The snow predictions were not overblown – we received around nine inches at our house!!
While I had some confidence the daffodils would be ok, the depth of the snow concerned me so I shoveled (yes, shoveled) the snow off the flower garden since it was so deep they weren’t getting any sun. When I first scooped the snow off, the tops were limp and leaning over, but they soon perked up and within a day all of the snow had melted from around the flowers. Success!
Ecstatic. That was my first reaction when I heard the news – possibly 6 or more inches of snow headed our way!!! That is epic in the Central Piedmont region of North Carolina. My excitement quickly started to fade when I remembered my 120+ daffodil bulbs that are beginning to poke through the soil in what I’m trying to establish as a cutting garden.
Back in November I planted the daffodil bulbs, in addition to 75 crocus bulbs, 25 Asiatic lily bulbs, and two peony tubers. As an aside, I probably should NOT have done this a few days before being a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding, but all was forgiven (fortunately, she loves flowers too).
You can imagine my excitement when the crocus started to bloom toward the end of January. This is also when I noticed the daffodils starting to come up. I had a patch of daffodils when we lived in Virginia, but they typically didn’t emerge until March. This is the earliest I’ve experienced – I guess moving four hours south makes a significant difference!
Back to the snow… I did some research and feel some relief after reading that daffodils are quite hardy in snow and can survive temperatures down to 10 degrees. With this knowledge, my plan is to leave them uncovered and hope for the best while enjoying the snow!