Wye? Wye Not? But Wye!

Maryland’s State Tree is the White Oak. It was symbolized by the Wye Oak that stood at Wye Mills on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Wye Oak had been a landmark in Talbot County, Maryland, since the first settlers in the 1600s. It was more than 100 feet high, had a branch spread of 165 feet and a circumference of 31 feet, 10 inches.

 It was one of the largest in the world until on June 7, 2002, it was felled by powerful thunderstorms that also downed power lines throughout the area.

After the storm

 In 1973 the former owners (I have removed their names from the reproduction below) of The Glade acquired a seedling of the Wye Oak with an official certificate and planted it in the back yard.

Wye Oak Seedling Certificate

A mere 38 years later, here’s how it looks.

Wye Oak at The Glade

 And here’s a close-up of the leaves.

Leaves of the Wye Oak

 This large and lovely tree reminds me of the poem “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer which I have not heard for many years.

TREES

I THINK that I shall never see  
A poem lovely as a tree.  
  
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest  
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;  
  
A tree that looks at God all day,          5
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;  
  
A tree that may in summer wear  
A nest of robins in her hair;  
  
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;  
Who intimately lives with rain.   10
  
Poems are made by fools like me,  
But only God can make a tree.
Wye Oak in the afternoon sun

What’s your state tree?  Does it have a story (or a poem)? If you can’t grow the tree, can you preserve a leaf?

Cornus Florida

Blooming Dogwood at The Glade

 My mother loved the dogwood. She had a silver pin that she wore on a jacket lapel the true size and shape of a dogwood blossom.

Many years ago she sent me six hand-painted plates with dogwood on them.

Dogwood Plates Trio

I had determined that since the dogwood plates my mother gave me were hanging in the dining room, it would be the dogwood room.

Dogwood Plate

When I installed the window seat cabinets, the door knobs I selected are antiqued-gold colored dogwood blossoms.

Dogwood Knobs

I started to collect Stangl’s dogwood pottery dishes. I mostly have serving pieces which I especially like to use in the spring.

Stangl Dogwood Footed Bowl

Here at the Glade we have many white dogwood trees which this year are blossoming profusely. The Floridata website says that dogwood are excellent beneath large oaks which is how they grow at The Glade.

Dogwood Bud at The Glade

 

Newly Open Dogwood Flowers

I do like to take a few blossoms and press them in a book so I can slip them in a birthday card to friends and family who have moved away.

Dogwood - Just Opening

And finally there’s the legend of the dogwood.

Dogwood Blossom

 The Legend of the Dogwood

“When Christ was on earth, the dogwood grew
To a towering size with a lovely hue.
Its branches were strong and interwoven,
And for Christ’s cross its timbers were chosen.

“Being distressed at the use of the wood,
Christ made a promise which still holds good:
‘Never again shall the dogwood grow
To be large enough for a tree, and so,
Slender and twisted it shall always be,
With cross-shaped blossoms for all to see.

“’The petals shall have bloodstains marked brown,
And in the blossom’s center a thorny crown.
All who see it will think of me,
Nailed to a cross from a dogwood tree.
Protected and cherished this tree shall be,
A reflection to all of my agony.’”

Dogwood Trees

 Do you have a favorite flowering tree?  Is it in bloom yet this year?

Patch O’ Green

When we tore down the brick planter on the terrace it left an ugly, dirty, empty space.  So until the entire flagstone terrace is history we decided to plant some grass in its place. 

Former Planter with dirt

As with most outdoor projects Charlie took the lead on this one.  I got a bag of Scotts Patch Master Sun and Shade Mix.

Scott's Patch Master

We followed the directions on the back of the package with a little tweaking, of course. 

First Charlie raked the dirt that remained in the L-shaped spot.

Raking the area

Then Charlie added some of his precious compost. (One of the tweaks.)

Adding Compost

The seed is mixed in the bag with green fluffy stuff that’s a combination of paper shreds and other things (I guess).  It kind of looks like blow-in insulation.

Distributing the seed

Finally he watered the whole deal.

Watering the seed

In 7 to 10 days we should see some seedlings. (Just in time for Easter.)

Patch Seeded

Until then it’s a lovely patch o’ green.

Herbal Update

The herbs we moved a couple weeks ago are doing very well.

Herb Garden - end of March

We have some nice friends who, when they saw we were trying to have a special planting of herbs, sent over some pots of plants to add to the square. Garlic chives, feverfew, sage, lemon balm and celandine.

Sage, Garlic Chive, Celandine (front row) Feverfew, Lemon Balm (behind L to R)

We were familiar with everything except feverfew.

Feverfew

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium ), a member of the sunflower family, has been used for centuries in European folk medicine as a remedy for headaches, arthritis, and fevers. The term feverfew is adapted from the Latin word febrifugia or “fever reducer.”

Feverfew Blossoms

Feverfew is also used to treat menstrual irregularities, labor difficulties, skin conditions, stomach aches, and asthma. Health care providers primarily use feverfew to treat and prevent certain (migraine) headaches, arthritis, and other painful disorders. Sounds like quite the wonder drug. (More details at the University of Maryland Medical Center site.)

Feverfew is often mistaken for chamomile but has a more upright habit. (More horticultural details here.) It has a bitter taste and scent and bees hate it so it shouldn’t be planted near other things you want pollinated. But I know just where I want it. Our Wee Little House (shed) has been inundated over the past few years with carpenter bees. They make half-inch holes all the way through the outer boards.

Carpenter Bee Damage
Carpenter Bee Hole

 Wouldn’t it just be great if I planted it near there and the bees vamoosed? 

Getting Ready the Garden

15 Square Garden

 Charlie has already started getting the garden ready for planting.  He follows the principals of  Square Foot Gardening set forth by Mel Bartholomew. This year Charlie finally has a full area of fifteen 4 foot by 4 foot squares.  He built these squares from old fencing that we snagged for free one day while driving down the road.  A former neighbor was having a new fence installed and the installer was happy for someone to take the old fence off his hands. So we took it apart and hauled it home. This is the last of it.

Newly Made Compost Bin in 1998

 

Compost bin in use

Charlie tops off the squares each year with the rich compost he nurtures in the compost heap. 

Garden as seen from the Driveway

 The garden is really Charlie’s baby but he tries to grow the things to please his family and friends.  I know on the list this year are Sun Gold (cherry) tomatoes, haricots verts and cukes.  The green plants in the foreground of the above shot are leeks still growing from last summer.  In the black pots are seedlings of Japanese red maple trees. Can’t wait until the garden starts yielding.  We’ ll have an update on planting and tending the garden later in the season.  Here is a look at a past garden (much smaller back then) just to get you excited.

2006 Garden with Bamboo Trellises

Just Get Rid of It

Terrace and Porch

 

When we enlarge The Glade we have specific ideas about what we want and what we NEED. As everyone knows the kitchen is small and nasty so just updating it will not do. We’re planning to add a new two-story addition where the current terrace is on the driveway side.

Some of the demolition work we’re planning to do ourselves. We don’t want to remove anything yet that determines the present footprint of the house. The planter on the terrace which has always been an eyesore will be one of the first things to go.

Charlie built a raised bed near the shed (also known as “The Wee Little House) and  we transplanted the herbs and bushes.

Terrace Planter

Next we disassembled the bricks and moved them to a storage area for the time being in case we want to use them for another project until we get rid of them. Here’s the finished product which doesn’t look great because the  planter wasn’t built on top of the terrace but actually went through it and into the dirt below.  Yuk!  Our plan is to partially cover it with the gas grill. 

Former Planter

The Wee Little House Herb Garden

About ten years ago after a tree fell on the shed and demolished it, I replaced it with what we lovingly call “The Wee Little House.”

I have thought for a long time that this building needs some planting around it other than the haphazard weeds and brush that surround it on three sides so I asked Charlie to make me a space for an herb garden.  He built a 5′ by 5′ raised bed. 

Then today we moved the rosemary, chives, sage, lemon thyme and oregano into the newly positioned bed. Don’t know yet what will thrive and what will survive. But here’s what it looks like for now.

Herbs

The Little House

Today I really felt like the yard was calling me to come and look. What it was really saying was, “CLEAN ME UP!” So I got out the rake and started clearing the leaves in front of the Little House (really a one-time garage that has been made over into a guest apartment).

I have been hoping for years that someone with a love of nature and an innate sense of design would move into the Little House and just take over.

Anyway, when I moved some of the leaves left from last fall I noticed the liriope had formed a large tight clump which needed to be divided. So I took one clump apart and edged the front of the Little House foundation bed. Now, of course, the other side also must be done but I’m too exhausted to tackle it today so that’s it for now.

Oh, and I just decided since the Little House has now been blogged, I’m changing its formal name to “Glade Cottage.” We’ll probably keep calling it the Little House but strictly as a nickname.

Does your house have a name? If not, why not give it a name.

Not Quite Spring

It’s not quite Spring in Maryland but we do have signs that its arrival is imminent.  I saw a robin, actually lots of them, out in the yard this morning.  The familiar name is the American robin (with the unfortunate ornithological name of  Turdus migratorius). When I walked out to take a picture they all flew off.

The daffodils are budding even through the brown leaves left from autumn’s deluge. It won’t be long until there is a host of golden daffodils.

Budding Daffodils

 

Daylight Savings comes tonight at 2 a.m. That means if you don’t set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed you’re likely to be late to church.

When I did a quick tour of the yard I can see the flowering quince have buds that will soon pop open in a their lovely pinkish color.  We moved the quince a couple of years ago and though it is still small, last summer it actually had 11 quinces on it.  We just let them ripen and fall.  I suppose some animal carried them off.

Dogwood Buds

 

The only other sign that Spring is right around the corner is the dogwood trees.  They are laden with lots of buds.  Some years we hardly get any flowers but this year might be a good one if the number of buds is any indication. Of course we could have a hard freeze and everything will be gone.

What’s your harbinger of Spring?  The robin, the crocus, pussy willow?