Up the path to the woods — creating a woodland garden

In April of 2011, I posted about the Angel and Woodland Gardens and our plans for the woodland garden. Since then we’ve been side-tracked by our Project Chameleon Ivy Eradication. Finally, this week Mark was able to begin working on creating steps up to the Woodland Garden. Gardening is  a reminder that we sometimes have to toil through unpleasant tasks to get to the fun, creative ones. But if we persevere, we will get there. Don’t get me wrong, we still have some ivy work to do, but we’ve made a huge dent in it.

This is my view when I’m standing on the side deck by our garage door. Along the right edge of the photo you see the sedum pinking up in the top edge of our St. Francis Garden that follows the slope down the hill beside our house. At the top of this photo, the curve of the Angel Garden runs horizontally along the base of a small hill in our side yard. The Woodland Garden is simply the top of the hill that we allow to grow more or less untended.  If you look between the two lawn chairs, you might be able to see a big oak leaf hydrangea. The path I describe below is to the right of that hydrangea.

I circled the round black nozzle of our sprinkler system so that you can orient the following photos. Mark has collected the pile of wood chippings you see from chipping and shredding the refuse of our yard clean-ups, tree-trimmings, and honeysuckle removals. We’re going to use it to mulch the path in the woods, although we’ll probably need a lot more. I doubt that will be a problem when I look up and see the dead ash trees we need to have removed.

If I stand behind our refuse bin and look up into the woods, I see the photo below.

It’s an overgrown mess, with a bit of poison ivy here, lots of Chameleon ivy there, and who knows what kind of insect life flourishing beneath. It’s not someplace I’m willing to tromp through for a meditative afternoon stroll in the shade.

Here’s a shot after Mark spent several hours working on the path. The sprinkler nozzle is circled. Mark is re-using materials found in the yard to create this garden path. In addition to the mulch, Mark is digging up stones and adding them to the area at the end of the drive where stones had previously been laid.  The path up into the woods looks inviting, doesn’t it?

Here’s a closer view. The logs came from the redbud tree that fell down this spring. Right now we’re just setting them in. I don’t know if we will have to add spikes of some kind later to keep them in place.

You can’t really tell from this photo, but each log functions as the leading edge of a short step.

Soon we will see the whole path clearly. As you can see, the top of the hill is not densely wooded. Many of the trees up there have died over the years as evidenced by the remaining stumps. And since we removed the overgrown honeysuckle and entangled hawthorn tree, it’s more of a clearing with a tree here and there. But flowering vinca covers much of the ground, irises I planted bloomed in spring, berry bushes we planted are trying to get a foothold, wildflowers put on a show, and a little garden gnome perches on a stump.

At our last house, with Mark’s help, I created what I thought of as a cottage garden with a winding looped gravel path. I used to  love meandering along, tending my plants, or just enjoying them. I hope to create a circular winding path here. I’ll continue to plant woodland perennials, and hope to install a bench. Eventually, as all the existing trees fill in, and new ones that we plant flourish, this will become a magical little woodland garden where gnomes stand guard and fairies play.

You gotta have a dream.

25 thoughts on “Up the path to the woods — creating a woodland garden”

    1. We’ll see. I was able to make my last vision for a garden come true, so hopefully this one will too. You can stop by and meander on your travels. Are you still going?

  1. You’re right about a good amount of work being involved in the creation of a welcoming habitat. It doesn’t happen on its own. Mark has made a lot of progress on it.

    1. He has, hasn’t he. I’m very lucky and grateful that he likes to work in the yard, and is willing to help make my visions reality.

  2. My goodness you have been hard at work! Everything looks great – I love a great naturalized garden and the wood you used to create the walking path is perfect!

    1. Mark has been hard at work. I’ve been primarily the idea person on this one. It’s too hot for me outside right now. I am a fine-weather gardener.

  3. So much love and effort is being put into you wonderful garden Christine. And its looking enchanting.. I just love walking the woods… What an inviting pathway…
    Sue x

    1. I love walking in the woods, too. Although to be truthful, our “woods” at this particular location aren’t much of a woods. There are seedlings up there that will grow to replace the dead trees we need to remove. If we are here long enough, we will see it fill in again. Thanks for stopping by.


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