In the Garden, Part 2…

Why have all these plants? As I’ve said in past posts, initially it was for the energy control- wind, water, air pollution, views, and enjoyment. Since we are about ½ mile from I-295 and 1 ½ miles from the NJ Tpk., there is a lot of wind at times. We also have farm fields across from us.

The other reasons of enjoyment, are that we can go in different areas of the gardens and have different views and experiences. We have the Lost Lake and Cabin, Secret Garden patio, pathways and walks. Glenn walks the dogs all the time and it’s similar to a park.

You have to want to do the maintenance and upkeep. We don’t need to travel a lot and we both like to be home. The pictures below are a simplified depiction of the outside of the property in 2011. The aerial view is from 2016. These are from the online-mapping websites.

They give you some idea and bearings of my post in Part I. I will them post the 2017 photos of the same points so you can see the mature garden as it is now.

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In the Garden…

We’ve been here 21 years now so the garden is mature. This year we’ve been renovating all the areas extensively. The gardens always change- each month, each year. There come times when the original plantings either must go or be replaced by different species.

Take the corner near the intersection of both roadways. The original, raised bed there was edged in ironstone due to the water off the roadway in the 1990’s. I asked the county to improve that for us and curbs were put in for that area. There is a swale, slight depression vs. a previous ditch, with the curbs.

That solved the problem there. Also, people were walking over our property. In 2007, we had an iron-look fence installed around ¾ of our property, including around the corner. As a result, we no longer need the bed, rocks, and the perennials. This looked nice but was another thing to do.

We are cutting down the maintenance of things like that and removing or renovating them. Over the years some large deciduous shrubs just don’t serve the same usefulness that they did in the beginning. They die out in the center, get too wide, etc. Some were screens or part of the original windbreak. They don’t look good so they were removed as needed.

Then there are trees which lost their lower limbs with age or shade. The dead limbs were removed and we had the arborist plant evergreen viburnums across the back this year. It took me a couple of years to decide what to plant there but the arborist’s suggestion was perfect.

Of course, before those went in, we had to remove the rampant English ivy that came original from the neighbor’s yard. Still some work back there for Sept. All that work the past couple of years and we are half-way done. Equipment fails and this year our new sprayer for weeds is battery operated and 4 gallons.

This is a real pleasure to use and I get done fast. Still catching up with that after having none for 2 years. Our garden center went out of business so I had to order the Canadian cedar mulch 45 min. north of us at a greater delivery cost. We had a whole pallet delivered at once.

Some people just give it all up, let the gardens become over grown, or sell the property when they are older. Glenn and I love the gardens and home, we have irreplaceable neighbors, and are in a relatively safe area. Yes, the NJ taxes are high but we haven’t found a better area yet.

Mom and Dad always said they kept up the property as you never know when you have to sell it. Besides, why let all the work you did just become derelict. That’s depressing. I initially designed the gardens for many years and when I could no longer walk well. It’s paid off many times. Now that’s what we’ve been doing rather than blogging! Pix next time!

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Happy Fathers’ Day!

To all of you fathers, we wish you a Happy Day! May all of your children grow up strong and never stay away…


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An Empty Nest

Like all babies, they grow up and eventually leave home. When Velvet found the bunnies, they were already 4-5” long and almost ready to be weaned and leave. Yesterday we went canoeing and while we were out, the babies woke up and were hopping about the area.

At dusk, the mother called them and got them all to the large-pot area but not in their nest. Apparently, she was ready to train them on their first night out of the nest. They stayed out all night. I didn’t see them this morning at all so I thought that they found shadier and cooler quarters.

When Glenn went to fill up the water dish, he saw 2 a short distance away, hiding under the sedum ground cover where it was cool. Then he saw one under the tree in front of the patio and under the ground cover.

I was out in mid-afternoon (high 80’s temperature) and saw them still there and one more, near the first 2, and behind the large planter in the same groundcover. The gravel stones can get hot so Mom probably wanted them in cooler areas.

The whole key to enjoying the wildlife is to leave them alone! Go here to read about wild rabbits and see that it is rare for them to be orphaned:

When I first saw them alone in the open nest, I, too, thought that they were orphaned until Glenn saw the mother out front only about 10-feet away. We don’t as a rule interfere. Following a webpage’s description of what the mother does, it was interesting the watch her.

Velvet was very quiet as she watched them in the evenings scamper around and on the patio. After we found them, it was something to read how long that they were hidden and growing without us knowing. We have a controlled-woodland type gardens so the wildlife is hidden most of the time.

Like humans, the mom has to let the babies grow and go. I can understand the Empty Nest Syndrome completely which is why we have corgis here! They sure helped me get over that but then my late mother knew it would…

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Velvet’s Bunnies


You can see them a little now.


Yesterday after Mom fed them and uncovered them. Aren’t they gorgeous?


Glenn didn’t even see the nest until I showed him.

Velvet found a bunny nest on Wednesday. She couldn’t get near it as it is next to the house and outside the fence around the front patio. Inside the patio is a wired-up ex-pen. (That prevents little Velvet from going through the bars and gate design.) Try as she could, she couldn’t get an opening or jump over it.

I finally, had to go and grab here collar will in my robe. Velvet was determined to get to them. When Ginny was about 2 years old, a rabbit made a nest inside a large planter which was about 1 ½ feet off the ground. She snatched a bunny from that like lightning and killed it. Later, the mother moved her nest away with the babies. So we learned then from experience to keep the corgis away.

I looked up about the wild rabbits. Mom feeds the babies twice a day but doesn’t stay with the nest. She doesn’t go too far but stays away. The reason is that Mom doesn’t want to attract predators to her babies. Last night, Mom was nursing the babies when all of a sudden I saw another rabbit zoom away from there. Maybe it was the father?

A few moments later, Mom chased him completely out of that area and sat about 5-feet away on watch. When she was happy with that, Mom went back to her nest and covered up the babies completely. Mothers feed early in the morning and at dusk.

About the white marking on the babies’ heads: Some years ago, there must have been and escaped, domestic rabbit in the area. I started to see a few rabbits with a white blaze on their faces just like the corgis have. Not all of them have a white markings now, and not this mother, but the rabbit that Mom chased off last night did. That’s why I think that it may have been the father.

Glenn put a water dish out for Mom and an umbrella over that hot area. During the day, Mom leaves them uncovered like in the picture. They are so adorable that I watch them sleep a few times a day for soon they’ll be gone. We’ve never had them that close to watch before so it’s great. Velvet looks and listens from inside the garden room now as we blocked the dog door with a piece of ex-pen.

I tell her that the babies don’t want to be bothered and that she cannot go near them. Velvet seems to understand and doesn’t try to get outside. Perhaps this is because she was a mother at one time.

God made them beautiful and perfect for us!


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Everything Has a Story…

Here we are in the 21st century and looking back to the past. The past being the family heirlooms and those items left to us. We look to the future by preparing to pass them on to the next generation.

In my family, we didn’t wait until the end to just leave everything in a will and the rest to the family in general. We gave the things we had to the family while we could tell them each item’s story. Later, they can tell their children and grandchildren these as they again pass them down.

Yes, everything has a story-from the smallest item to the largest, from the oldest item to the youngest. I still have much to go through and disseminate to the family from Mom’s estate. It’s not as hard as before right after she passed away but still not that easy either.

I can say that now at least, nearly five years later, I think more of the story behind each item. For example, I have Mom’s sewing scissors from the 1930’s. There’s a whole long story behind these. Mom’s started sewing her own clothes in high school. She came from a very poor family so I don’t know how she bought these. I know that she bought her own second-hand furniture after high school when she was working but not how she got these scissors. Yet the story starts there and continues until she passed away at age 87.

Mom embarked upon a lifetime of sewing and tailoring her clothes, things for her home, most all of my clothes, and some for my children as well. I inherited her passion and made my own wedding gown. My granddaughter, though, got the full-dose inheritance and went to college for fashion design.  She graduated last year and this year has a full-time position doing just that.

It all started with these scissors…I miss you, Mom.

I know who will get these scissors in the family now…

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Garden Pictures June-Sept. 2015


Glenn’s tomatoes and peppers were great!

Lost Lake upgrades…

Cassandra’s “tea party” bridal shower-best weather and lovely day!  Worth all the work Glenn and I have done over the years so see everyone having a great time.

Herb Table-a favorite of black swallowtail butterflies.

IMG_1347 IMG_1402 IMG_1335 IMG_1377

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