Friday, April 10, 2009

Backyard Wilderness

We have always wanted to live by running water. The sound of moving water gives you instant serenity. However, that serenity just wasn't worth packing up to move to the country somewhere, to say nothing of the additional maintenance required for any amount of acreage bigger than a yard. The easy alternative is to bring the brook to the backyard. We weren't interested in a pond with fish, just moving water. No problem, said the pond company. They hauled in about 4.5 tons of rock and dirt, and built a small hill for the water to cascade from. A pump at the bottom sends the water back to the top again. The easement behind the fence has fine stands of moss, and lily of the valley grow in all my flower beds (whether I want them there or not), so I moved patches of both to start the landscaping. We have a fern that is at least 30 years old, and I transplanted a clump of it to the stream too. Some water plants will go well set in the water just in their pots. I'm looking for Kentucky natives where ever possible. Lights on a sensor turn on and off automatically, for dramatic nighttime effect.

The fun part is accessorizing the stream. Dick moves around some of the rocks and fossils he's been collecting for maximum effect. Every time he moves another rock even a little in the water, the flow and the sound are immediately affected. See the little gorge in the middle? By morning, the power of that little bit of water had moved all the small rocks at the bottom to the side so the liner was visible. This may be too much current for the birds to enjoy, so I placed a flat bottomed dish out of reach of the final waterfall to provide shallow still water for drinking and bathing. The dish is below ground level though, so we may not get to see the birds in it often.

The rest of the yard has been a constant mystery and delight this spring. Dick planted perennials for a large butterfly garden last summer, and we don't really remember what went where now. Every few days we peek in the pine straw for any signs of green, and push the mulch away to encourage the sprouts. Winterberry bushes looked completely dead, but yesterday I saw the first signs of small buds. He left a banana tree in the ground and just mulched it. Will it survive the winter? Some columbine seeds casually tossed in a flower bed are sprouting, but it will take a while for them to get big enough to bloom. We have seedlings for milkweed, but are waiting for the soil to warm before setting them out. There is one spot in the whole yard that gets full sun for them. Wood Poppy wins the prize for first plant to sprout and bloom.

This is all too much fun! Except for cleaning the mud off my formerly white sneakers....

2 comments:

MB said...

i love the brooke... great job... too bad the swing will need a new home now.

T.R. said...

Curious about the fox in the first pic...