Embryonic Woodland — Starting with the Bones

We’ve planted most of the trees and shrubs that will make up the main structure of the Woodland garden.

First autumn. newly planted woodland

The Pines and Maples will give the shade that defines a woodland.  And eventually, if all works well these will also give their name to the area; it will be a Pine and Maple Woodland.   Redbuds and Dogwoods will form most of the understory layer and give their own softer shade…protecting the  Fothergillas (35 of them) and Oak Leaf Hydrangeas (12).  And these shrubs will lead the eye through the space, their human scale showing the size and form of the Woodland.  And of course they will add their own spring flowering, summer form, and autumn color.  A grove of Birches acts as an entry to the Woodland as well as providing more four-season beauty.

Once these trees and shrubs grow and start to give enough shade, it will be time to plant some of the shade-loving groundcovers that will help define the space: Tiarella, Gingers, Trillium, Solomon’s Seal…masses of each to help keeping you moving through the space.

It is so exciting to see some of the spaces actually taking shape, not just in my mind, but in reality.

6 thoughts on “Embryonic Woodland — Starting with the Bones

  1. I’m so glad you like it. I am hopeful that it may be open to the public eventually, but that will be many, many years. Gardens grow so slowly! If you would like to see it sooner, just let me know. We can have a private visit. Where are you?

  2. Looks lovely already but it would be good to have something to scale. I can’t even guess at the size of the trees. I know the trees are small but I don’t know how small. A dog or even better a person for scale, would help. I’d prefer “seeing” the size rather than getting the height of a tree in feet.

  3. George Washington did exactly the same thing in planting his woods around Mt. Vernon. How exciting to see it at the beginning. May I suggest you add some holly to the mix for winter color and structure? Mostly deciduous trees will leave you with a lot of “emptiness” each winter. Holly (and shrubby conifers) helps to “bulk up” the woods, giving more winter enclosure and structure. That is how nature does it in the woods near us. Best wishes, WG

  4. It is so nice to hear from somebody who really knows about woodlands. Thanks so much for the suggestion and the information — and about the woods around Mt. Vernon. I did not know that, but now I feel as if I am in very good company! I thought I would wait until some of the trees had grown up some before adding shrubby evergreens. So many of them need shade and I don’t have that yet. I’m afraid they would burn up in our hot, sunny summers. But Holly does sound good. Any suggestions for shrubby conifers? Keeping in mind that the soil here is a. clay and b. alkaline and that we are officially in zone 6a, but recently was 5b and I still don’t quite trust the change.

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