This doesn't mean I'm trying everything new that comes from the garden center. I love traditional native plants, and I will continue to use them. But I'm moving toward a more natural look, letting plants "do their thing" instead of pruning and planning so much.
My redbuds are quite prolific, and they've planted themselves in several spots that weren't in my original plan. One by the deck is now providing some nice shade. Another behind the wall adds height where the clump grasses grow.
I tried to get witch hazel to grow in a bed by the driveway. I kept replacing the ones that died. Well, go figure. I figured out that I probably shouldn't put that plant in that spot. Same for putting pachysandra beds under the oaks in the side yard -- pachysandra didn't like it there; grass does.
We tried to fight the wild side of the yard, planting stuff there that was quickly invaded by what I used to call weeds. Now, it's a lovely mix of wildflowers.
Planters? I'm putting shrubs, grasses and perennials in them instead of my old standard annuals. Much more exciting.
The speaker talked about "the shock of the possible," seeing with new eyes, asking the right questions. He mentioned working hard on a project, only to find that it's a dead end. He challenged the audience to find unexpected connections -- in the garden and in life.
I'm determined to view my garden with new eyes. No more doing something because it's always been done that way for me!
Many people have responded to a recent column detailing ways to combat fleas in the yard, including Judy, who found this note at www.landsteward.com.
"In August of 2001, my husband and I decided to build a new house. The land we chose to build on had not been cleared for about 45 or 50 years. Needless to say, ticks were thick. We'd go out and work for three or four hours and then come in and pick, usually about a dozen, ticks off of our bodies.
"The solution: We bought bantam chickens. Within a week, the ticks had cut down to one or two a day. Within two or three weeks -- no ticks. Bantams are easy to care for. We let them eat ticks and bugs during the day, then feed them in the evening. They stay close to home, basically in the yard."
I'm sure my neighbors will love this one.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.