Nita Leland's Woodland Restoration 2004
© 2004 Nita Leland

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end." Ursula le Guin

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Browse my new Nature & Gardening Books page for listings of books I've found helpful in my woodland project. There are some great books on gardening with native plants, plus field guides to wildflowers and trees.

Welcome to my quarter-acre woods

March 13: I didn't get into the woods early this year, being laid up with assorted health problems. But when I did get out, I was greeted by this brave little Snowdrop. Things seem to be starting later than last year and I was disappointed that only a few of the snowdrops made it. Probably the squirrels have been feasting all winter.
winter aconite


March 13: Same day--I found Winter Aconite and Hellebore (Lenten Rose) blooming. I put several of these in last year and all but one are blooming. We have seen deer in the area on occasion, but so far they don't seem to have done much damage. There are still a couple of large patches of Garlic-mustard that need to be cleaned up, but I can't get to it until it is warmer and I have a bit more stamina. This is hard--I'm not used to holding back when there is work to be done.
snow March 16: Fiddlesticks! We had seven inches of snow last night and today. The woods looks beautiful, but I'm so disappointed not be be able to see the flowers that have come up. It isn't cold enough to freeze them out and warmer days are ahead, so the snow won't last. This is Spring in Ohio!
birdhouse March 16: The little wren house is weighted down with snow. I hope the house-hunters don't come early.
daffodils in snow March 16: At the bottom of the hill near the edge of the woods I've planted drifts of daffodils, now buried in drifts of snow. I'm sure they can use the moisture.
bloodroot March 30: The snow is gone and things are starting to pop in the woods. It's still cold, but this little Bloodroot is wrapped in its leaf, keeping warm. When I started this project two years ago I hadn't seen a bloodroot in the woods for years. Last year there were two and this year several more, plus some I transplanted from a woods on my daughter's farm. There has been an increase in Toothwort, Isopyrum, Waterleaf and Virginia Bluebells since we took down the invasive honeysuckle.
hepatica This little patch of Hepatica has bloomed faithfully ever since I got it twenty years ago, but never more than two or three blossoms. This year it was loaded with elegant blooms. It doesn't seem to spread, though, and I'm afraid to try to divide it for fear of losing it.
isopyrum March 30: Through the years I've divided my one Isopyrum (False Rue Anemone) plant a couple of times, but with the woods getting more sun now, it seems to be self-seeding and is popping up all over the place. I love this plant. It blooms early and stays late.
Virginia bluebells April is the big month for the native wildflowers like Virginia bluebells. They are all over the place and I'm really feeling very pleased with the results of my restoration. I expected it to take at least five years to get the kind of display I have this year. It still has a long way to go to fill in the woods, but it's pretty exciting to see what has happened so far.
mountain laurel April 23: My tiny shade garden glows in the early spring with Mountain Laurel and three flourishing Azaleas that I've had for some time. To the rear of the garden on the left is a little nursery for wildflowers that don't seem to grow well in the woods. I have a few Great White Triliums, Toadshade Trillium, Jack-in-the-pulpit and Twinleaf here, plus some Corydalis that also grows in the woods.
woods-azalea May 3: This azalea was pathetic last year, but has recovered beautifully. Behind it, as you look up the hill, you can see a spread of Sweet Woodruff groundcover. The purple flowers are Bugle Weed (Ajuga) and Jacob's Ladder.
May 3: In the upper woods I have several Shooting Stars that are delightful. To the right is a clump of Wild Blue Phlox I bought at the Cox Arboretum wildflower sale, hoping to reintroduce them to the woods. When we bought this house, the woods floor was carpeted with phlox and except for this cluster, they have disappeared. Another flower that used to be prevalent is Ohio Spiderwort. I've found two that have survived the honeysuckle invasion and are looking good.
woods-mayapple May 3: This spread of Mayapple is intermingled with Virginia Bluebells that have finished blooming. Behind it on the down-slope is a large patch of groundcover consisting of Myrtle (Vinca Minor) and Euonymous that we started years ago to wipe out a little patch of grass that wouldn't grow in the shade. It has been good erosion control for the hillside.
buttercup May 3: This bouquet of Buttercup came from my daughter's woods. Last year I didn't think it was going to make it, but it fooled me. I have a "rule" about my plantings. If the plants don't make it, they don't get a second chance. I'm trying to let the woods be as self-sufficient as possible, although I do water during summer drought in areas that get really parched.
wild geranium May 3: Wild Geranium is one of the most successful plants in the woods. There were little patches of it here and there even when the honeysuckle had overgrown everything else. Now they are really flourishing in big bouquets like this and they are spreading into areas where I haven't seen them before.
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