Friday, October 25, 2013

Great Gardens!

My father-in-law, Ansel Malcom is a fantastic gardener, and while we were visiting we enjoyed all the lush greenery.  Mom & Dad Malcom moved to their ten acre hide away over 30 years ago.  In fact, it is the same house and woods in which Jacob grew up.  Ansel started out with a more traditional vegetable garden, apple orchard, and lawn but the garden has progressed into a maze of native and ornamental plants.  When Jacob and I were first married, Ansel gave me two books that helped influenced his conversion to planting more natives and creating wildlife habitat: Bringing Nature Home: How you can sustain wildlife with native plants, and Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to your Backyard .  These books talk about how a traditional lawn is void of life, and how planting native flowers and bushes can attract lots of critters including insects, birds, and many other animals.

There are so many treasures in Ansel's gardens.  Both the natives and the exotic plants provide beautiful flowers and foliage.  Many of the exotic plants are tropical, and some like brugmansia have enormous night scented flowers.  The natives are not out done creating thickets of flowers.  I saw butterflies, bees, tons of birds, eastern box turtles, chipmunks, and squirrels. Another treasure were the 50 foot pine trees that Ansel and Mary Carol planted when they first moved to the property.  The apple trees in the orchard have all grown past their prime, and Ansel is letting the field go wild.  He has planted many native trees in the openings, lets the wild flowers and grass fill the area, and mows pathways through to create a variety of fun walkways for spotting birds, and bunnies.  When I see vast empty lawns and compare the rich life of Ansel's gardens, I wonder why more people aren't letting their places go wild.  

While I was in Virginia for this visit, I had a fun time following Ansel through his garden and hearing interesting facts about each of the plants.  I enjoyed getting advice about some of the plants I like to grow, and I left Virginia with twice as many plants as I started with on our move from Austin to Connecticut.

Some of the Tropical species include: Elephant ears, Banana Trees, Brugmansia, Bouganvilla

Animals below are Carpenter and Honey Bee, Milkweed bugs, a female Ruby-throated Humming bird, and Bambam

 Jacob next to a pine tree about the same age he is!