Remember that scene in “Bambi” when the father deer warns his son, “man is in the woods?” You could play the Darth Vader theme under those words.
Well, this man was in the woods briefly today, and they don’t seem to have suffered much from my presence.
I was doing some minor yard work—I installed a new swing set not long ago, and today put some paving blocks under the legs to keep them from digging into the soil. I spread some wood chips, too, and put some new sand in the sandbox.
I also weeded, a bit, which for a forgetful gardener like me can be a bit too exciting. “Is this supposed to be growing here? Did I plant it?”
Anyway, I noted a young oak tree in my back yard, and rather than just leave it and mow it off, I decided to move it to what I call the “deer salad bar,” aka, the woods behind my fence.
Man is in the woods. Planting tasty trees that Bambi and his deer tribe will shortly take advantage of. I’ve planted hundreds of volunteer oaks in the woods—doomed ashes largely comprise those woods—and deer have feasted on them.
And I just walked about the woods a bit, and was a bit taken aback.
I’ve lived in this house for 15 years, and in that time I’ve wasted countless wildflower seeds and young oak trees in these woods. Whatever I plant seems to not germinate, get chocked out by the competition, or is eaten by Bambi and friends.
What took me aback was evidence that I had been here before—in the form of three plants that would not be in these woods without me.
A coneflower is getting ready to bloom. I’ve never seen coneflowers growing in these woods before, but I’ve planted many a seed—one must have finally sprouted.
A Catalpa tree has reached a height of 5 feet. Again, there were no Catalpa back here before, but maybe they don’t taste as good to Bambi as Oaks do. I’ve collected some Catalpa seeds from a neighborhood tree, and put them back here among the many other seeds I’ve planted.
Finally, and most exciting, at the edge of the woods in the sunshine and tall grass, a Milkweed is growing. Well, cool. I’ve been scattering Milkweed seeds at the sunny edge of the woods for years, and this is the first plant I’ve seen.
May it spread by seed and roots.
Finally, after planting my Oak and photographing my woodsy baby plants, I made a few photographs in the yard of flowers and insects, just because I can it and was that kind of day.
Man has been in the woods, and the gardens. And I hope that both are better for it.