Winter can be a time of new discovery. Winter is a season when I can check on my woods without fear of poison ivy. So the other day I put on my gardening boots and decided to check on my saplings.
Yes tree saplings. We try to practice reforestation in our woods. I don’t necessarily add new saplings every year, although I try to. Reforestation means we are rebuilding our woods. We restock with native hardwood trees. I have planted hickory saplings, burr and chestnut oaks. I have also planted a black gum and a couple of umbrella magnolias.
I also have ringed the edge of my woods with Japanese Maples, which I obsess over like hydrangeas. I have bought my Japanese Maples from Applied Climatology at the West Chester Growers Market, MrMaple.com, and Somerset Nursery in Glenmoore.
My ultimate vision will take many years to achieve, but every year I see progress.
So the other day when I was checking the woods, I discovered something delightful! Holly tree seedlings! The deer don’t eat them either! I don’t think I’m going to move any of them, I am just going to let them do their thing naturally. It’s amazing how they are just so beautifully spaced apart and Mother Nature did that all on her own!
I am happy to encourage holly trees in my woods. It will give me evergreens in winter. Right now the little hollies are small, but they will grow!
While I was in the woods I also checked for invasives like burning bush and wild (dog) roses. I didn’t see burning bush, but wow, those wild roses are prolific. When I find invasives I remove them.
But having woods is a balance. I have to resist the urge to clear too much out.
As gardeners we want our spaces neat and tidy, but the woods are still a wild place. So we take care of the trees, practice reforestation, and remove things like poison ivy, dog rose, some of the wine berry (they will take over), and burning bush every time one pops up.
My future plans for the woods include more tree saplings and native ferns. I love ferns and am happy to extend them more into the woods as well.
Before I leave all of you I will remind you that also part of my winter routine includes spraying for deer even in the winter. I do not mind if they are in the woods but I still do not want them in my garden having a nibble.
What are you doing this winter as far as gardening? Planning for spring? Having an indoor jungle? Do you putter around outside? I will tell you soon I will be starting my seeds!