I started the gardens at Valley View in 2005. Each year I add and I subtract. I visit other gardens and watch gardening shows. During quiet moments one question persists – Why do I garden? Why do I spend countless hours creating a vista that may disappear tomorrow?
I really don’t have an answer but I have looked backward to see where I’ve been.
When I was 14 part of my parent’s property was taken by local government for a flood control project. Bulldozers came in widened the creek and left behind a mud pit. My mother and father were devastated. Their garden was gone. The following year willow trees fell and more damage was done to their space. I spent countless hours cutting tree branches and raking ground to bring life back because I wanted them to be happy. Fast forward to age 49. My husband and I bought that house and created gardens that made me smile. Then one morning it all disappeared in a flash flood. Oh the irony!
Now I garden at Valley View. First it was to take control of overgrown areas and create spaces where I could sit and enjoy what surrounded me.
Everything was done on the cheap. There was very little money for plants, let alone hardscaping. The bricks and patio block below are what you see in the above photos.
The next step in the evolution of the gardens was to make them wildlife friendly. I added plants specifically for native creatures.
I then began to remove invasive plants, which I continue to do to this day. After my desire to invite native wildlife, I wanted to create sacred spaces. A labyrinth and bowling ball pyramid were added.
I then learned about pollinators and wanted to add plantings to encourage their health. So back to natives.
I found myself ping ponging between trying to recreate what I saw or learned at that time. It has taken me awhile to understand that my garden should be for me and should reflect my inner being.
Now, I’m still not sure what that is. But I should not be ashamed of liking non-native hostas and wild unkempt pollinator gardens. I am fortunate to have the space for both.
Reflecting on my past involvements with gardens, I venture to say I have always been trying to recreate something I’ve seen rather than create something of my own. It’s time for me to take pleasure in my own creative endeavors. For once again, I’ve learned it might not be there tomorrow.
I knew by the meteorological events of the night that along the stream bed the Sprites had come out to dance and fly and leave behind a glimpse of their magic. What they left behind grew exponentially as Mother Gaia’s warm breath met the cold night air.
I couldn’t contain myself, at every step a new and wonderous creation appeared.
One photograph than two, each bringing clarity to the formations of ice.
I hope you take a moment to look through that which we have shared. You will make the Sprites smile tonight!
There are several different kinds of frost. One of them is hoar-frost, also known as radiation frost, hoarfrost, or pruina. This refers to interlocking arrangement of white ice crystals that are deposited loosely on the ground or any exposed object forming on very cold nights whenever heat is lost into the sky causing objects to become colder than the air that surrounds it.
As much as I love the flora of a garden, the fauna is why I plant. The creatures of Gaia’s world are welcomed, no, encouraged to jump the garden-gate and enjoy the fruits of labor. Some I have planted, some they have shared. If I find there is something they like that I also cherish, I have learned to give it up and plant something we can both enjoy.
Each month someone new emerges or enters. The diversity of color, shape and purpose is mesmerizing.
During the year of 2018 and first month of 2019 I have had 8 new sightings all of which I have been able to photograph. In addition I have updated 3 bird sightings with better quality photos. Below are my new additions. If you’d like to see all 49 birds photographed at Valley View check out the portfolio!
JUNE 4, 2018 Male Baltimore Oriole
MAY 21, 2018 Female Baltimore Oriole in Honeysuckle bush
Male and female Baltimore Oriole May 2018
Blackburnian Warbler in sumac September 2018
Chestnut-sided warbler in sumac September 2018
Blackburnian Warbler and Chestnut-sided Warbler September 2018
Female American Redstart in Norway pine September 2018
By the end of July my photographic library usually has a myriad of colorful photos of the butterflies that grace the gardens. This year they are few and far between. Perhaps it was the many March snowstorms or the early heat followed by a cold snap. Maybe it is the lack of some larval foods as seven oaks fell during a wind storm.
But last week a few began to appeared. It led me on a quest to locate their caterpillars. A of today I am raising six monarch and six black swallowtail caterpillars. I hope to help increase the population!