Now that the back slope is semi-planted, and the new evergreens are in, I can turn my attention, such as it is, to the rough patch that lies more or less on the property line between us and the next-door neighbors. (More or less is all we can say; these are old houses and the deeds tell us to measure from stones that aren't there any more or from the railroad tracks which are twenty feet wide. The two families get along very well, which is a good thing.) We've traditionally used this area, which is under a line of maple and black walnut trees, for piling brush and logs that never became firewood (neighbors used to have this awesome Guy Fawkes Day party), and then last winter when we had trees taken down, a lot of it went into a chipper and became the mulch that I was slithering in on the back slope a few posts back. There are still rotting logs and lots of vines and roots and weeds, but the soil is lovely.
I have always meant to plant some native shrubs along there, and did in fact put in a Carolina allspice years ago, which has had to fight its way along between strangling vines and dumped Christmas trees, but is still alive. Now I hope to get somewhere with this project. I grabbed three winterberry hollies at American Plant's 40% off sale, and have now cleared enough space and got them planted. They are Southern Gentleman and his two Winter Red consorts; the females are the ones with berries and need a male pollinator.
(If this sort of thing makes you snigger, and who isn't occasionally prone to that, you might amuse yourself (if you can tolerate 18th-century poetry) by reading The Loves of the Plants by Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles), which is based on Linnaeus's system of taxonomy as derived from plants' sexual parts, and goes along like this:
With charms despotic fair CHONDRILLA reignsWhich apparently is by way of saying that in flowers of the genus Chondrilla there is one female unit (pistil) to five male units (stamens), that the male parts are confederate, or linked at the top, and that everyone has a good time together. Both Linnaeus and Darwin were considered quite racy.)
O'er the soft hearts of five fraternal swains;
If sighs the changeful nymph, alike they mourn;
And, if she smiles, with rival raptures burn.
So, tun'd in unison, Eolian Lyre!
Sounds in sweet symphony thy kindred wire;
Now, gently swept by Zephyr's vernal wings,
Sink in soft cadences the love-sick strings;
And now with mingling chords, and voices higher,
Peal the full anthems of the aerial choir.
Where was I? Oh, yes, winterberries. So they are planted; here's one in a bad photograph:
A real wow factor, bird food, and native, plus the benefit of chuckling about plant sex! What could be better?
I'll put the viburnums back there as well, next spring when things are cleaned up a bit more, and we'll see what else I can come up with.