Friday, July 3, 2020

The Woodland Realm Or The Potager?

What shall we call this garden?

The area behind our back fence had been completely neglected. 

It was a tangled mess of green briar, grapevine, native junky shrubs, something that looked like wheat(?). This area of Texas is called the Cross Timbers region. It's impossible to cross in my opinion. It's beyond me how anyone even settled this area. 

Some of the neighbors take care of their area. Some do not. We were in the "do not" camp for a long time.
I went back behind the fence to clean up the debris pile. Last summer, I allowed the lawn guys to dump dead tree limbs back there and Bill wasn't super happy about it.
"If Katie cleans up the debris pile, Katie will cut down green briar, if Katie cuts down green briar, Bill will cut down grapevine..." It could be a best selling children's book.
It is a little bloody of a story because that green briar is evil, so maybe not.
The eradication of the devilish green briar revealed 5 dead trees. Bill has a new wonderful battery powered chain saw. He was itching to try it out on the trees. 
I got carried away and cut and cleared privet that had gotten out of control.

This is a very strange strip of land. It's next to undeveloped park land but it is not part of the park system. It is very hilly. It's on the wrong side of the creek so therefore it's not accessible except through about 5 back gates. There are a couple of lots with acreage to the south of us but it's not part of their property. Our neighborhood has been here 30 years. I don't recall this area ever being surveyed.
After a week of clearing, it was time to clean up. Bill ordered a chipper/shredder. After a few days, Northern Tool informed us that they didn't have any in the area and they didn't know when they would get one. We thought our order was canceled. We looked into renting one. There was no way to get it down our retaining wall into the woods.
The green briar was wound up and put in contractor bags for the dump.
Bill was able to get a lot of the branches bundled and loaded for a run.
I stacked the grapevine for a project.
We stacked the logs. That added to a campground sort of look. Bill felt like he was clearing scout camp again. 

I spent about three mornings raking up bigger twigs and leaves.
That was bagged as well and Bill did another dump load.
Suddenly Bill got a notification that our chipper had been shipped. What?
I stopped all clean up. The rest could go in the chipper.
Yahoo. A new toy.

I created a little stoop with random bricks found in the woods and yard. When we moved in, I started to line our flower beds with bricks but we switched to stone at some point. We had stray bricks all over the place. I brought a few bricks out with every trip. 

I am a design by doing person rather than a draw it on paper person. I had to add some life back into the space so I started creating beds. I went with the easiest bed first. It's the bed that is directly behind our fence. It has a natural border with the fence and a piece of retaining wall. It already had liriope and a crepe myrtle. I lined it with medium sized logs from the privet hedge and square cut stones. 
I transplanted ferns, irises, oxalis, violet and lilies and nandina which grows out here naturally.  My lilies need repair. I had very few blooms. I'll move them to a sunnier location once all the beds are finished. I have too many irises that need room and repair too. Oxalis is prolific and will look adorable out here in spring with little maintenance. The violets will be be darling as well and will contribute to the woodland look. I never planted them in my yard. The birds planted them.
One of my teens brought home the concrete mushroom at some point so it got added to the bed.
 Other stumps were added for whimsy.
Bill began calling this Katharine's Woodland Realm.
I think he's watched the Lord of the Rings Trilogy too many times.

I'd love four equal sized formal beds but that is not possible with the slope and remaining trees.
I could not figure out what to do with the rest of the space so I put some rocks around two trees and created another little bed.
It wasn't love but it was order.

The stacked grapevine ached to become a wattle fence.

I kept waiting on this for some reason. After watching Parisienne Farmgirl on Wednesday night,  I woke up Thursday morning with a drive to build a raised bed with the grapevine.

It was easy and fun to make. It's like building with Lincoln Logs. 
This bed is about 6 x 8 or so.

Wattle fence number one was so easy that I decided to scrap the rock border and make wattle number two.

I was running out of grapevine, so this isn't love.  
Some left over river rock became a dry stream bed. 

I do like that.
I love the log with all the moss. 
We have cleared all we're going to clear for now.
We will finish the clean up of small twigs. The chipper needs to run for three hours before we can put anything in it.
The chips will go into the beds. Raised bed soil will go in as well.
I plan on creating two more beds.
These will be made out of the tree logs but I need Bill to help me cut and move those into place.
This will be a mix of vegetables and flowers. It's an experiment since I haven't grown vegetables before but the research has been really fun.
Once we get the rest of the debris cleared up, I'll cut a path to the main path that leads to the creek.
It' will be an adventure to hike to the park. We used to do it all the time when the kids were young.
That is about it.
What do you think? Will it be the Woodland Realm or the The Potager?
Let me know in the comments. If you have stuck with this, you are a saint.
Have a wonderful 4th of July.



  1. I vote for the Woodland Realm. We have a Mordor that backs up to our property. My kids named it that years ago.(-: Happy 4th of July!

  2. I like Woodland Realm. Hope you have a great 4th.

  3. I like Woodland Realm too. Such a fun post to read. Tons of work for you and love the use of tge grapevine.

    Happy 4th!


  4. I like woodland realm best.

    You are such a hard worker! It is no easy thing to clear brush like this. We usually make huge piles & burn them in late winter. We have a 2.2 acre wood (Instead of a 100 acre wood like Winnie the Pooh) with a small clearing in the center. That's where we burn & have bonfires in cool weather.

    We've made trails all through our little woodland. Our favorite goes along the lake & ends at a point overlooking the water. We make our trails in the winter where it's easier to clear a path & trees. Then we walk it every day, sometimes many times a day. By the time spring comes we've worn it down & can control brambles & thickets from growing into it so much more easily. We make some of them wide enough to run the riding lawnmower through to keep the brambles at bay.

    Can't wait to see your realm grow.

  5. Wow, Katie, you really have done some serious work in your Woodland Realm (my choice). What a great space. Have a wonderful 4th..xxoJudy

  6. Wow. THAT's work. I don't know how you did it but well done, Katie. That's really something to cheer about. And I love your little woodland garden. It works for me. Now maybe you can settle back and enjoy the fruits of your labors.

  7. Love how you created creative spaces with what was lying around.