It’s amazing the transformation that can happen in a little more than a decade. When we moved to our current house 13 years ago, the suburban yard displayed a wide array of mature trees, but little else was visible around the acre landscape. What did plentifully exist, was a wide expanse of grass. Oddly absent in this quiet area surrounded by large areas of preserved land, were birds.
It was so quiet. Too quiet. I began to wonder if there was some nefarious reason no birds visited our plot of land. Not only were there no friends in the sky, we were also oddly lacking the accompanying barrage of scavenging squirrels and chipmunks. Having moved from just a few miles down the road, from a more developed area, we had come to know a multitude of feathered friends and furry creatures there. Included in that mass of critters was an enormous, gluttonous raccoon.
Our move took place in the fall, so we had all winter to contemplate the changes we would like to make to the landscape. These were extremely necessary changes in my mind, important ones that had to be made to our eerily silent property. As spring arrived, even the telltale signs of bird’s nesting, followed by the incessant chirps of baby birds demanding to be fed, were absent. It was time for a change and the time was now.
What followed was a cluster of trips to the local nursery. These were followed by more visits to other nurseries with more stock. Although a little further away, it was well worth the added distance traveled. Thanks to these trips, we were able to find and add more obscure plants in our design. Yes, these shopping sprees resulted in the addition of multiple plants to our “family” each weekend. The buying jaunts continue, but have slowed to a couple of times a year, mostly due to the lack of available space in our once empty yard.
Some of the most prized specimens that decorate the landscape were never purchased. Instead, they are transplants from my extended family. I have great memories of splitting perennials and digging up beautiful lacy ferns from my mom’s yard. I get my love of nature from her. The splendid Yucca plants came from my sister-in-law shortly after we moved in. They were just split this year, perfectly filling in the empty space under the towering white pines. Two of my dearest donations came from my Great Aunt. Cultivated, from cuttings off of the original specimen my Great Grandfather had grown, she gifted me the wisteria and catalpa tree. Today, they are thriving.
So, as you can imagine, this yard has been and continues to be a work-in-progress. Although our additions to it have taken years, nature’s representatives began to arrive almost immediately after our initial plantings that first summer. Of course, the addition of a few bird feeders helped coax the influx of activity. Over the years, the abundance of wildlife has only continued to grow. We have yet to see a raccoon, but we do have a resident ground hog. There is silence, no more. Now, a symphony of song bird lullabies ring out with the setting sun and greet us in the morning as it rises.
Some of you may have preferred the solitude of silence this yard once represented. For me, I’d rather bask in a yard that is alive with natural commotion. I know this abundance of activity is in large part due to the appreciation of the specimens we’ve planted and the food we’ve provided. But, I like to think, maybe, just maybe, nature is drawn to the memories these plants represent, just as I am.