Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Loose Ends and Erosion

I really need to find time to update more often! We’re still busy chasing loose ends to tie up, but I imagine that’s a never ending process. We lived in the Old House for 15 or so years and never ran out of them. Hopefully as time goes by, we’ll find fewer and those we do find are more fun. Like replacing plants that disappear over winter. Which has been an issue this year. Last winter was an old fashioned uphill both ways in 10 feet of snow type winter, and despite a generous amount of patience which is completely against my character I have found no evidence of the return of several key plants from the front garden. For some reason, it seems my favorite local nurseries didn’t have the two I most wanted to replace-Agastache and Butterfly Weed. Now I have some uneven holes in that garden. In addition, the bee balm got REALLY tall to try to compete with the bacopca and made a big green blob between the holes so it looks even worse.  AND the one day lily, the yellow one, shrank along with most of the lavender (that was winter die off, I have no idea why the daylily clump is not only smaller but it's also not nearly as tall as usual). So, I’m not sure this year’s photo update of the front garden will be a super awesome "even better than last year" follow up. Sigh. I’ll try to fill in with some things I can split and maybe next year I can find something to plop in there. I am going to try to start a new Butterfly Bush or two from existing plants that made it (we lost a lot of those too) to fill in where bicolor and purple emperor left holes this year at least. I might not get many (if any) flowers from new starts but at least it won’t be a blank spot!

I just spent the better part of three hours weeding, watering (because as a follow up to a cold winter with lots of snow we are now HOT and dry with a steady wind) and moving plants.  And...it looks about the same. UGH. Maybe I won't post pics of the front this year!

Here's the garden where the $8 birdbath ended up instead!

Last weekend we went to some open houses and saw a stark reminder of what life on the South Shore of Lake Ontario is all about. It’s a peril every structure here will face at some point and there’s not much we can do about it (including buying insurance, which is not available). We purposefully bought a home that wasn’t too close to the shoreline, even though it was a compromise on view. This is why.

We spoke to the neighbor, this all happened this past winter and spring. The realtor didn’t bother showing up for her own open house, we are guessing the biggest chunk fell recently and she figured it wasn’t worth it. Surprisingly, a lot of this isn’t from lakeside erosion (although that also causes a few feet of loss a year). It’s from groundwater erosion. We’re putting in (more) drainage to help slow this on our property, but unless everyone along the shore does it, it’s a hard battle to fight.  Even the drainage won't be enough to save our old Apple Tree.  I'm looking out the doors at it silhouetted against the lake as I type.  I'll miss it dearly.  We figure between lake side erosion from the water beating our bluff and groundwater erosion under washing the topsoil as it runs along the top of the clay layer it has about 2-3 years, maybe at best 5.  It's just too expensive to put in a stone revetment.  Back in the 70's there was a grant to put in shoreline erosion control, I wish the folks that owned the place than had taken advantage of it!

Our tree back in 2010 when we first "found" the Cottage, before it was even for sale on the MLS (so about a year before we made the offer to buy it).  It was the only photo I took when we walked down to check it out from our rental (about 6ish houses away) after a real estate agent told us to look and see if we'd be interested since he knew the owner planned to sell.

The bluff has eroded back about 10' since this photo was taken :(

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