Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Know it's Itchy, but...

Much of our property grows wild.
And, aside from the few gardens bordering the house, is left to its own devices. The vines of the woods, trumpet creeper, wild grape, and Virginia Creeper, grow freely, draping themselves in sheets from the tops of the trees. Knitting their branches into the canopy beyond our door.

At times, I’m envious of the homes bounded by the more trimmed yards.
Their color-coordinated beds of flowers.
Their beautiful landscapes so demanding of time.

This afternoon, after walking our trails under passing clouds, searching the fields and woods for the migrant warblers, I returned to the house, disappointed. And sat for a moment on a sun-warmed stone on the river rock wall of my herb garden.

Several feet beyond, an unruly vine wrapped its winding way through a small tree—poison ivy.
The reaching arms bare of its fallen red leaves, and now bearing fruit, small white berries.
And Yellow-Rumped Warblers.

Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Dendroica coronata
feeding on poison ivy berries

What we lack in order, we make up for in vigor.

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Marvin said...

We too are blessed with unkept area, reverting pastures and plenty of poison ivy. Fortunately, neither Jo nor I are allergic.

swamp4me said...

We'll take vigor over order any day! But I know what you mean about very occasionally feeling a tiny pang of envy for the landscaped yard -- like you, though, we get over it ;)

nina said...

The pristine landscaping comes at a cost--herbicides to keep down the weeds, insecticides to keep grubs out of the lawn, not to mention the introduction of exotics to the ecosystem.
And, as much as my wild grape hanging just outside the backdoor appears to indict me as a neglectful homeowner, I consciously leave it for my Wood Thrush, who lives here, too.
She alone, makes the lack of order invaluable.

Ruth said...

It is so rewarding to find unexpected beauty in a "vigorous" yard. The perfectly landscaped places leave no room for imagination (or interesting wildlife).

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

In my mind a perfectly manicured yard is boring.Since we live in town we need to be somewhat mindful of our neighbors,but several areas of our yard are untouched by lawn mower or hoe.
Nature left to itself is the most beautiful garden.After all, God planted the first garden and He still knows how to do it.

Anonymous said...

That is a wonderful conclusion. I agree well trimmed lawns are nice, but so are wild thickets that attract the songs of birds.

cestoady said...

Being at one with nature, by letting her reign over the landscape, has its great rewards --- not the least of which is a deep feeling of being a part of nature -- and of being able to enjoy ,with immense satisfaction , Yellow-rumped Warblers feeding on their poison ivy berries. I will take that to the best tended lawn in the world.

Anonymous said...

In spite of the fact that I have now gotten poison ivy for the third time this summer, I would never sacrifice "unkempt" vegetation for a manicured lawn.

I also had the privilege of photographing those migrating Yellow-rumped Warblers just a couple days ago. Thanks for sharing!

Brenda@View From The Pines said...

Oh my, and I am suffering (AND I mean SUFFERING) my first case of poison ivy in my 51 years. Oh my!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Nina, I am always amazed to see Yellow-rumps eating poison ivy. I am so allergic to it it sort of gags me to see them doing this. Ha... I am sure your garden is lovely in a naturalistic (is that a word?) way. I live in a suburb and I have a very loose garden. Some of the neighbors said I "ruined" my husbands garden when I moved here. Ha... I could care less about their tastes in gardens. Like you I appreciate nature in its natural state. I come close but I do like exotic plants. I don't like to use things I think will be or are invasive. I cringe every time I see pampas grass growing along the road or around a pond. Sad. Love your photos though. They make me happy.

Sparverius said...

I too get a bit of a longing when I see such lovely, well kept, perfect yards. Mine is nothing like that and never will be. But if I had a choice of where to spend a day, it would be in the "wild" yard. Full of adventure and discovery.

RuthieJ said...

For the past 2 years, I have kept 1 acre of my yard unmowed (except for a few trails down the edges and middle). I would like to let more go wild, but it's still nice to keep some mowed areas for the bluebirds, flickers and brown thrashers to search for insects. And if wild grapes make you a neglectful homeonwer, just tell people you're preserving habitat for the wood thrush--a declining species on the American Bird Conservancy Watch List.....because we know "it's all about the birds!"

Q said...

Dear Nina,
I love seeing the Yellow Rumped Warblers eating the poison ivy berries. I let Poke Weed grow all around my yard this year. Watching the birds enjoy the berries was thrilling for me. I think the natural way is the best.