Fall Flora and Fauna


aster ericoides
     I've been so busy with family things (a couple of minor surgeries, buying a house), that I've missed blogging for a few weeks.  We won't be able to move into the new house until mid-to-end of January, but I hope I can get some photos of what is growing in the lovely yard in a future post.

     We have had our first frost/freeze in the surrounding area, but not in my immediate area.  I have observed the gradual march of fall into the area, starting with the acorns falling at the end of August, then the pine cones in September, now the leaves in October.  The trees are just about at peak color here.  I took some photos of what is happening in the woods on the flood plain in my neighborhood.  I have seen only two of the aster ericoides bushes at the edge of the woods.  This herbaceous perennial is soil and drought tolerant.  There are many bushes with berries at the edge of the woods.

     I am not sure what the above bush is with the yellow berries.  A type of bush honeysuckle?

bush honeysuckle
     This is a bush honeysuckle.  There are several species that grow in the area.  Some species, from Asia and western Europe, are considered invasive.

wild grapes
     The wild grapes continue to ripen throughout the fall.

box turtle
     This box turtle has been spotted a few times in the back yard.

white-tailed fawn
     I have seen lots of fawns come through the back yard.

two fawns and mother doe
     Most of the time the fawns roam the back yard woods with their mother.  There are two fawns in this photo, one in the very center.  Mom is at right.

grey tree frog
     I took this photo in August.  The frog is sitting on a branch of the Japanese laceleaf maple in the yard.

     There is at least one and possibly two chipmunks that live in the yard, but they have always managed to scurry away before I could photograph them.  Every now and then I see a fox trot through the back yard, but it is always to quick to photograph also.

Ladew Topiary Gardens


hunt scene
     This past weekend I visited Ladew Topiary Gardens north of Baltimore, Maryland in the hunt countryside of Harford County.  The Garden Club of America called it "the most outstanding topiary garden in America."

     Harvey Ladew purchased the 200 acre Pleasant Valley Farm in 1929 and created flower and topiary gardens on 22 of the farms's acres.  Mr Ladew grew, trained and maintained the topiary shapes himself and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal of the Garden Club of America.  Once a year topiary trimming begins in July and takes three months.  As you enter the gardens, the first topiary is the hunt scene with horse and rider, hounds and fox of clipped yew.  It has become the international symbol of the Ladew Topiary Gardens.

swans on waves
     The Great Bowl is a 2 acre bowl-shaped lawn where summer concerts series take place.  It is surrounded by topiary swans swimming upon waves of yew.

sculpture garden topiaries
     The sculpture garden contains several topiaries such as sea horses, a heart with an arrow through it, and a butterfly on a flower.

Chinese junk topiary
     Many statues, fountains, and pools are found throughout the gardens.  This Chinese junk floats in a pool with many fish.

pool with fish
the Terrace Garden
     The Terrace Garden contqains three terraces of Canadian hemlock hedges sculpted into obelisks, windows, and garlands.

part of the Terrace Garden
     In addition to the topiary gardens there are also 15 flower gardens.  Harvey Ladew was one of the first in America to create garden rooms, each devoted to a single color, plant or theme.

The iris garden conatins 65 iris varieties and 770 plants
The yellow garden contains all yellow flowers and shrubs

The rose garden contains shrub, climber, and china roses
        Mr. Ladew was a self-taught gardener who died in 1976.  The Manor house, in which he lived, and the gardens are on the National Register of Historic Places.  I am so glad I finally visited these gardens.  The topiary gardens were spectacular and delightful, and the flower gardens were among the most beautiful I have seen.