Monday, February 4, 2013

Ode to the Lot Next Door

My garden has probably wondered what has become of me.  To tell you the truth, I haven't been out gardening/taking photos/otherwise adoring my garden for quite some time.  I have a couple excuses, the first of which is... it's been rather noisy out there for the past few months.


The empty lot next to us sold, and the air has been filled with the sounds of trucks going to and fro, the vibration of air compressors, the sharp staccato of nail guns and, well, you can imagine.  Gardening has not been quite the tranquil experience as usual.

what the lot next to us used to look like
It is sad to loose the woods next to our house.  The wooded lot was home to several tall Oak trees, a couple of Sweetgums, and some beautiful native Dogwoods.  I tried to transplant one of the little Dogwoods that would have been mowed over, but to no avail.

Dogwood blossoms
Over the past couple years I enjoyed trying to identify various native plants that grew there.

Top:  Mockingbird inspecting the berries of a Pokeweed plant
Bottom:  Deerberry in bloom, the flowers of Hearts a'Bustin
One of my favorite things about living next to this wooded lot was how it attracted birds.  It was always filled with Nuthatches, Cardinals, Mourning Doves, and Woodpeckers, among others.  For quite some time, a Red-headed Woodpecker seemed to reside there, constantly perching on a particular branch, pecking about and chattering its distinctive vocalizations.

the Red-headed Woodpecker on its favorite perch
As much as I enjoyed the wildlife and the woods, however, I do have to admit that I am rather glad they have finally built on this lot.  One of the reasons this lot attracted so many Woodpeckers and other birds was - many of the trees were dead or diseased.  I suspect that the same disease that plagued so many of my Oak trees also ran rampant in the lot next door.  Every time we got a storm, I feared that one of these trees would collapse onto our roof.

a Downy Woodpecker on a leaning tree
So I am glad to have the construction almost over, and maybe my poor garden will see a little more of me...

Whoa.. hello newly-built house!  Privacy screenings have been planted.. check!
... but this was only the first of my excuses for not being in the garden for the last while.  You will have to stay tuned for the next post, which will be about my second excuse, and the post I never thought I'd write...

34 comments:

  1. Oh, I would be sad to lose the woods. I have clients that live in developments that bought the lots on either side just to retain the trees. One, like you also lost some of those trees to storms, but she immediately replaced them with newly purchased tree. Like you, she enjoys her wildlife. As an architect, I know your frustration with the building process so close to your home. You must be thrilled it is almost over.

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    1. I actually did have the dream of buying up the lot, replacing the diseased trees, and turning it into a woodland gardens. Mr. Red House and our budget vetoed that, sadly! They did leave a few trees in the very back of the lot, which is nice. There is some conservation land right down the street, so I hope all the birds found a good home there!

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  2. That would be hard to lose the wooded lot next door. I grieve every time I see new development. But I'm glad there's other places for the birds to go. I like the red-headed woodpecker photo - I'm not sure I've ever seen one.

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    1. It is sad, especially for the wildlife, but I always knew that this lot was slated for development sooner or later. I am glad that more people seem to be interested in setting aside conservation areas nowadays. Development moves so quickly that we are going to lose so much wildlife if we don't protect them.

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  3. It's hard to lose any lot, wooded, bare, or any version...I know that development has to keep moving forward, but it seems that there are perfectly good houses built, and no one wants them....sigh.

    They are taking more farmland up the road here, and putting in a development.

    I hope that all is well with you.

    Jen

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    1. I am glad that people seem to be more interested in setting aside conservation land and 'green' areas nowadays. It is truly necessary with the onslaught of development. My area is actually quite the growing area (over 250,000 people have moved into this county in the last 10 years, according to the census), so there is quite a lot of new development.

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  4. That really is a shame, but you have me intrigued with your second excuse. That is also the first time that I have seen a red headed Woodpecker.

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    1. Ah, you shall see! The Red-headed Woodpeckers are absolutely beautiful. After days of hanging out in the lot next door, this woodpecker flew off and I didn't see it for awhile. A few weeks later I saw two Red-headed Woodpeckers in the area - I like to think that it flew off to find a mate and then brought it back!

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  5. So hard to lose the woods...just losing my trees is traumatic....hoping everything is OK.

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    1. They did keep a few trees in the back, but it is always hard to lose woods. When I first built our house, I loved that the neighborhood builder was very into keeping as many trees as possible and keeping the neighborhood as wooded as possible. Unfortunately, with the downturn of the economy, the builder is now finding it cheaper to just clear cut new lots, which is very tragic.

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  6. I feel your pain. There is so little open, undeveloped space. I suppose the good news is that the construction won't last forever. Maybe they'll leave some of the woods untouched.

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    1. They did leave a few trees in the back, which is nice. It's quite a tiny lot, so there wasn't too much they could keep when they built the house. Thankfully we have conservation area right near us, so I'm hoping all the wildlife found a good new home!

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  7. It is sad when habitat is lost to development. I hope you will have nice neighbors that appreciate gardening and will restore some of the habitat loss. We just bought the lot next door and are now removing the privet and Japanese honeysuckle and plan to turn it into a wildlife habitat. It is all hardwoods and I was excited to find some ginger and devil's walking stick.

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    1. What a great opportunity! That will be so much fun seeing what wildlife shows up, I'm sure!

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  8. I suppose it will take some time getting used to having neighbours that close to you, after having had privacy in that direction all this time. I hope you get some nice neighbours with an interest for gardening!

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    1. They seem quite nice the brief times I've met them. That would be great if they were into gardening!

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  9. You have such a positive attitude. I felt so sorry for you to lose those beautiful trees, when you remarked that many of them were diseased and dying. So, I hope your new neighbor is very nice, and a fellow gardener!

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    1. I was mostly sad for the Dogwoods, as there were several small ones and they were in good shape. Their roots were so intertwined with the other trees that it was near impossible to dig them up, much less transplant them. But I was glad to get rid of some of the larger, diseased trees with them being so close to my house! I am glad there is a conservation area nearby with many snags for the woodpeckers and such.

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  10. I hope your next post is a good thing and not a sad thing. The woods were beautiful, but as you say, if the trees were going, it's probably a good time for them to come down before they did any damage. Nice privacy fence!

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    1. The next post is not a bad thing, thankfully! I've planted some trees along the fence as well, which will hopefully grow up to be a nice privacy barrier.

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  11. What a lovely bird that red headed woodpecker is. He will have to go elsewhere for his grubs. We have an empty lot next to us. # years ago they came in and cut down many of the juniper trees. I suppose it will be a good thing int he end as it will give other good, native plants an opening to grow. However, It was a dust bowl the following year as we have been so dry. He plans to put in a fence and that will mean less space for the deer, turkeys and foxes. I feel sorry for them being squeezed out. For now it is still an empty lot but it won't be long, I;m sure.

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    1. The builder who is developing the neighborhood used to keep a lot of the trees, which we loved, but now they are starting to clear cut areas to save money. I'm sure it is impacting some of the local wildlife, sadly. I hope the empty lot near you fills in quickly!

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  12. I'm worried about your second excuse. Sounds ominous.

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    1. Thankfully, it is not as bad as it evidently sounds (at least, I hope not!)

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  13. You are so positive about losing the trees. At least there is green space to compensate. My city requires a permit for cutting mature trees which makes it easier and cheaper to keep most of the trees on a lot.

    I am concerned about the second reason and will be looking for it soon.

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    1. They did keep some of the trees in the back, which was nice. I was devastated when I lost several of my own trees from disease a couple years ago. I think in this case I wasn't as sad since I knew they were going to develop the lot at some point (and I didn't want the dying trees blowing over on our roof!)

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  14. INDIE,
    Forest for me is the greatest joy.
    I like the peace and quiet. I like listening to the birds singing.
    I cry over every cut tree.
    You showed wonderful birds and magnificent forest.
    I send greetings.
    Lucia

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    1. Ha, it took me awhile to figure out that your website kept translating my name to 'India'! I never could get it to keep it as 'Indie'!
      I do feel bad for the wildlife, and I hope they found new homes nearby!

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  15. What lovely photos! I am sorry you are losing this home for wildlife and I hope that your neighbours' garden becomes a haven very soon.

    When will you be posting again? I hope nothing awful's happened.

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    1. No, nothing awful! Hopefully I will be posting soon!

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  16. So sorry about the trees, I join you in your sadness. Perhaps the little birds will still come to visit. I going on the hunch that the second bit of news is good news. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

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    1. I took my feeders down in the summer when I spotted my House Finches with a disease. I've put them back up recently and have gotten a lot of birds, but no Red-headed Woodpeckers yet. Maybe after all the hammering is over with!

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  17. Wow that is pretty sad - losing your lovely woodland.

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  18. I hope they left a few of the healthy trees. The birds and other creatures will have to find new homes. I bet some will come to your garden. And I hope you will have good neighbors move in next door!

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