Saturday, December 31, 2011

First Gardening Casualty of the Year

Although it's not quite 2012 yet (still have an hour to go...).

I was checking on things on my land in Kansas a couple days ago and noticed that a tree I had planted earlier in the year, a tree that I carried gallons of water up a hill twice a week for the whole summer, was....gone.

Oh wait, there it is, flat on the ground.

It's not like there aren't thousands, thousands of other trees to choose from, big and little.

My pretty little "Cherokee Princess" dogwood was no more because of one bad bunny, or some other little varmint with overactive chewing equipment which gnawed around the trunk and then down into the roots.

I had this awful feeling that other things had happened while I was away (it had only been two weeks!). And.......they had. I had planted three little shortleaf pines (Pinus echinata) in a row and it was a regular Goldilocks situation with the three of them. One was left alone. One had a little bit of its side branches removed. And then there was one that had been sliced in two, totally destroyed.

The top was discarded and left on the ground.

The bottom was discarded in a sense too...because it had not been eaten either. Just a casual chew...for no reason. I don't think pines recover when their main leader is broken so that poor little tree is a goner. Bad deer. Bad, bad, bad deer.

However, the thimbleweeds (Anemone virginiana) I planted were doing just fine.

Even the ones that grow there naturally were untouched.

The Blackhaw Viburnum fruits from early November...

...were still there in late December.

Wahoo seeds? Nobody seemed to like them either.

Odd thing. I plant for wildlife but when the wrong wildlife gets in there and chomps them down, I get a bit peeved. I guess it's because those deer and bunnies are so darn thorough when they take things down, literally.

Another mystery was what was going on with the tomato cages I had used to mark other things I had planted in the woods. Nearly all of them had been pulled up and tossed. What the heck? Not sure who to blame on that one...bad raccoons or bad dogs who were not paying attention to where they were running.

Oh well, I had enough of brown plants, both living and not so much living, but all of that was forgotten on the drive home because things became extraordinarily colorful at sunset.

And to punctuate the prettiness, a check mark (not quite a "v") of geese flew across the pink spotted sky.

It's not the dramatic sunset you see in the southwest or the dramatic ones you see at a coast but what was happening behind me while I was driving away still had a lot of drama for a sunset happening on the "plains."

While I was taking pictures, an approaching car stopped because they felt compelled to watch the beautiful sunset too.

Even the place that Rex calls "the messy house" because of all the abandoned cars and trailers surrounding it, looked beautiful.

Not sure where I'm going with this but it did fortify me. If I can garden with turtles, I can garden with other animals that are compelled to take things down. They might have teeth but when I return, I will have chicken wire.


abb said...

Damn bunnies and groundhogs ate my entire garden this past summer. I certainly feel your pain.

Just left MO to come back home to CT. The sunsets in MO the last several night have been just incredible! Glad you got to see them as well.

Pix at Under the Oaks said...

Maria Mr. Pix put chicken wire around lots of plants yesterday because of DEER! Beautiful sunset pictures. Happy Happy New Year!

Country Girl said...

Beautiful sunsets, Maria. Sorry to hear of your losses in the plant world. But Happy New Year to you!

Maria said...

Hello TSAnnie!!! I expect deer to nibble at everything but that bunny!!!!! I didn't expect to find a tree on the ground! Oh the baaaaaadness.

The sunset that day was incredible. Everything facing east was covered with a pink glow and behind me, every other color (except green) was up in the sky. I wish my camera could have captured all the crazy contrails at the horizon line. They looked like fireworks. You visited the eastern part of the state, right? You sure picked some pretty weather. 66 degrees yesterday! Absolute heaven.

Pix-That's what I'm going to do next week. I hope my pink dogwood stays intact until then. Errrrgh. The tomato cage thing is still a mystery though. Who took them down and flung them? :-/

Kate-Happy New Year to you too. Thank you for your sympathy over my losses. sigh

Leenie said...

Oh MAAN!! Dang varmints!

The vee of geese against that pink cloud is a stunning photo!

Maria said...

Leenie-I KNOW. It was pretty enough as it was and then those Canada Geese just happened to soar on by. It was an astonishing sunset.

Ellyn O. said...

Happy New Year, Maria. What a beautiful sunset and reminded me of the same colors and beauty as I look west in the evening. Last week the sunsets were so gorgeous. When I learn to post photos, maybe we can compare sunsets. I'm just at the end of the prairie and close enough to the mountains for some gorgeous skies. I'll write soon & stop here a little more often. I always love your photos. So sorry your work was for naught re the desecrated plants, trees, etc.

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