For two years I’ve been waffling about what to do with the last corner of my own garden that hasn’t been attended to. Like the plumber with leaky pipes and the cobbler whose children have no shoes, I spend my days making good decisions about the gardens of others, but simply cannot commit to a plan for this particular wasteland that I own.
The area in question is tiny, perhaps 75 feet long and about 25 feet wide. It is a gully that runs under a cluster of pines and sweetgums, and was filled until a few months ago with ivy and wild raspberries. During the process of cleaning out the scrub, I’ve had a few different ideas, one of which was simply filling the gully and planting a few understory trees. It has become a really convenient spot to throw the miscellaneous pieces of a couple of trees we’ve cut down, big branches that have been pruned, etc. Since we’ve lived here there has never been a sign of this being an active water route or anything like that…..until the rains of this past season! Now I’m clear that I can’t fill this gully in any serious way that’s going to affect the passage of water across my property and into the creek down the street. The obvious solution? A “STUMPERY!”
I first read about the Stumpery at Highgrove (Prince Charles’ estate in Cornwall) in 2007, and it seemed appropriately eccentric for my tastes. I allowed myself to be talked out of the idea and into the plan to fill the space. When I recently read that Prince Phillip (Charles’ father) asked, “When are you going to take a match to this pile?” I realized that the stumpery was just perfect for me…..that is exactly what Frank asks with some regularity when I start a new project!
In any case, I have officially committed to this area being my new stumpery, a collection based upon tree stumps that provide shelter for birds, chipmunks, snakes, and whatever else may choose to utilize the space (It’s far enough away from the house that I’m ok with that idea). It will also provide haven for shade loving ferns, perhaps a few hostas, trilliums, hellebores, and the like.
I’ll keep you posted about progress, but for the time being, I’m delighted to have finally made the decision to move forward!
This, incidentally, is a great book! I purchased it two years ago fully expecting it to be just a great coffee table decoration, but it is filled with very practical information. I think it was well worth the somewhat expensive price tag!