End of Month View–August 2013

Today, I’m joining Helen of The Patient Gardener’s Weblog in an end-of-the month look at a small part of the garden. Though Helen makes a comprehensive check of her front garden each month, I’m providing a quick look at the garden terrace near the Reedy River; an area which has flooded several times this summer because of excessive rain.

For reference, here’s what the area looked like when the river overflowed both banks on August 8th. In this pic, taken from my home’s back deck, you can see that water has breached the bank upstream and is washing through the garden. The river also overflowed the far bank, flooding a large area to the north. The photo below shows a similar view today, with the river only slightly higher than normal for this time of year.DSC_9191DSC_9912

When standing next to the river looking east, its easy to see the outline of the slope from the area behind the house to the Reedy, as well as the rise of the bank. You can also see where the low morning sun breaks the canopy cover of the hardwood trees and where shade predominates. Taking fifteen or so steps forward and turning south shows the house above the upper retaining wall, with the area of Japanese knotweed infestation in the foreground. Each of the small red flags on the middle terrace mark a spot where mayapples or trilliums grow.DSC_9678DSC_9675

Seeds of the knotweed were brought in by previous floods, of course. It’s interesting, too, that the infestation occurs where the last bit of wash settles and also where there is sufficient sunlight. After three years, Tim and I have fingers crossed that we’re finally beginning to see a measure of success from the persistent cutting, digging, spraying, and solarizing. We know we will always need to be vigilant, however.

Since we’re still fighting the nasty invasive, little has been planted on the lower terrace. Three native dogwood trees, added this spring, are flourishing though.

With weeds kept in check, one plant that’s making an impressive comeback is a native fern. When a frond pops up, it quickly spreads to establish a colony. You can see the largest area here, but the fern is beginning to take hold in other spots too.

Native fern

Native fern

My upstream neighbor has a nice stand of autumn clematis and handful of cardinal flowers. With any luck, I’m hoping a few of these good seeds will make their way to our garden soon.

Autumn clematis (C. terniflora)

Autumn clematis (C. terniflora)

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

When we moved here in September 2010, you could barely see the river from the house. In addition to the Japanese knotweed, the woodland was a jungle of English ivy, Chinese privet, honeysuckle vines, and other non-native species and unwanted plants. Although it doesn’t look like we’ve done much, a good bit of effort has gone into clearing and battling foe. This winter, I’m planning to lay out pathways and begin a long-range planting scheme.

17 thoughts on “End of Month View–August 2013

  1. Will

    It’s remarkable, Marian, how good the flooded area looks now. I hesitate to consider how much mud and silt would have been left if you’d not done such judicious clearing. As always, your posts are inspiring and encouraging!

  2. Pauline

    You have done so much work, you amaze me! Japanese knotweed is such a pain to get rid of, I admire your determination. Will you plant lots of bog plants down by the river, so they will be happy when it floods? Your native fern looks really good, nice to know that something is really happy in your soil, in spite of the river.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Pauline–Yes on the bog plants. In fact, you’ll see one in my next post. And the Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium), which loves wet, is planned for the knotweed battlefield, which has just enough sun I think.

  3. Helen Johnstone

    Excessive rain sounds attractive to me at the moment as its so dry here but I know in reality I wouldnt be that happy with flooded parts of the garden espeically when it washes down weed seeds. I think Pauline’s idea of bog plants in that area sounds good

    Thanks for joining in this month


    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Helen–after nearly a decade of drought, no one here is complaining. The lakes are finally full and we all hope some of the extra is replenishing the aquifers. If the moisture continues as the seasons change, however, we could be in a fix. Dealing with snow is not our strong suit.

  4. Debra Strange

    I am so impressed with what you and your mate have accomplished. It is so rewarding when all those treasures start responding to just a little bit of light, room and air! Keep on, keeping on!

  5. ginnytalbert

    Oh my! You’re so marvelously ambitious! And it’s clear you’ve done an incredible amount of work on that area in three years. Kudos! The stand of ferns is lovely, and marking the spring bloomers with the red flags is such a good idea. Also nice to see the river back to it’s normal course. The view from your deck must be such a pleasure. Garden on!

  6. Nancy shannon

    Enjoyed it as always. Looking forward to your visit with our master gardeners group. We are so excited they you are coming.

  7. Garden Walk Garden Talk

    I would have no tolerance for the knotweed either, especially with mayapple and trillium throughout. The flooding is disconcerting too. We had flooding here this year which is really rare. It was about the only rain we had all year too. The weather really has things topsy turvy as of late. You do have a beautiful piece of property. The house is lovely also. I love the stone wall.


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