The Clearing

“The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they’re always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.”
Norman Rockwell

Exciting news: a relative of ours gifted us with two days worth of work from their trusted landscaper of twenty years. Mario, a tireless worker and all around friendly guy, worked with two other men in his employ to remove YEARS of growth from the neglected, fenced in garden, and took out all of the pachysandra, several nonnative shrubs, and a bunch of invasive species – including the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) and Bradford pear (Pyrus callarya).

Before the work was done.

As much as I had intended to do most of the work myself, I cannot help but be incredibly grateful for this boon.

I don’t believe I’ve talked about the vegetable garden before. When we were in the process of purchasing the house, we were in the guestroom when we saw a painting of the backyard on the wall. The painting depicted the yellow shed from the backyard, but there was also a tall fence around planted vegetables. Thinking it odd, I went back outside, rounded the gigantic Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), and discovered in the entanglement of bittersweet, garlic mustard, and young black walnut that there indeed was a parcel of the property enclosed by a deer fence. It turns out that the previous owner’s husband was the gardener, and he had passed away 8 years earlier. The growth moved in, and was ignored for almost a decade.


And yes, though I am a crusader for native plants, I am also an enthusiastic vegetable gardener. I could not have been more thrilled to discover a “secret garden.”


They begin clearing:

The first step was to take down the Chinese privet.
Taking down the Chinese privet.
It’s ready for some cultivating!
Completely cleared! Now for thinning tree tops in the winter to let light in.

It’s so barren now, but then, what we’re really looking at is POTENTIAL. This is another new and exciting adventure.

The front garden of the house was entirely pachysandra and boxwoods. The below is a funny photo of me making a face about the nonnative plantings of the front, but you can see the boxwoods, pachysandra, and winged euonymous growing, as well as the trunk of the Japanese maple. Every single one of those plants is now gone.

Goodbye to all those plants.

I have a working plan to fill in the empty space with a mix of natives: evergreen shrubs, deciduous shrubs, grasses, ferns, and wildflowers. Yet another new and exciting adventure. But that’s a blog post for another day!







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