Garden Notes


I took copious notes as I went around the house and studio with the previous owners this past weekend. I wanted to know what everything was! And I knew I’d never remember, so I wrote it all down.

Here are a few highlights.

I have a lilac! And it’s blooming!

This is a hydrangea. I should have pruned it in the fall, but it will have to manage. I’m not sure I should cut that back now. I’ll take care of it properly this fall.

I’ve been wondering about what is to either side of the steps to the front door. Those are laurels.

This is a cherry here to the side of the front porch. (And you can’t really see it beyond the cherry tree in this photo, but the other tree in the front yard is a mimosa.)

There are two apples trees along the creek. (There are another two apple trees way back in the second upper pasture, but I’m thinking those are deer apples, due to location.)

It was a good time to nail down what I’ve got because I want to get some more trees planted this spring. I’ve ordered plum, peach, apricot, fig, mulberry, paw paw, hazelnut, and sugar maples. (And yes, in the case of those that need pollinators, I’ve ordered more than one of different varieties.) I will be adding some berry bushes also, but I’m not quite ready for them yet.

I’m going to plant the sugar maples along the strip between the two access roads. Good thing sugar maples are so gorgeous in the fall, because that will be it for me. It takes approximately 40 years for a maple tree to grow big enough to tap. I’ll have them put “I hope you like the maple syrup!” on my tombstone!


  1. Hrist says:

    Have you thought of planting some asparagus this year? It’s another delicious thing that takes a few years to get going.

  2. StuckinMiami says:

    Congrats on getting some mysteries sold. We used to have a huge lilac tree/bush that was our favorite. It has the most delicate and beautiful scent which only lasted for maybe a week in the Willamette Valley, no idea how it does in your area.

    Also, I’m not sure about hazelnut’s characteristics in your region but we had one that started to take over. Don’t know if that is normal but the bugger was a pain at times to keep back. Just an FYI.

  3. StuckinMiami says:

    I meant “solved” not sold.

  4. Maybeth says:

    Just love all of your trees and bushes, Suzanne … and hummers love mimosas … thanks for sharing :wave:

  5. wildman says:

    Go ahead and cut off the old dead blooms and any other dead wood on the Hydrangea. We have one and I have trimed many times in spring. Just cut only dead parts.


  6. Glenda says:

    I was just going to say what Wildman said about the hydrangeas! I just pruned mine. I leave the browned blossoms on for winter interest.

  7. brookdale says:

    Ditto to Wildman and Glenda, re the hydrangeas. You can just snip off the dead blooms and any dead branches, right now. Just let the dead blooms drop to the ground for extra mulch under the bush, or put in your compost bin.
    You have a lovely variety of shrubs there! And so lucky to have some of them blooming already!
    Do you know what kind the apple trees are? Your very own apples…yay!

  8. CindyP says:

    You have something to look forward to learning in 40 years!!! And you’ll tell us how to do it on your blog. LOL!

    Love all the bushes and trees…it’s going to look so beautiful around Sassafras Farm soon :happyflower:

  9. stacylee says:

    Maybe in 40 years you’ll be a hologram that pops up in our kitchen every morning! You can read the blog in person! Or maybe you will be able to beam us hologram chickens and goats for our yard! Hopefully by then I have my own, but it would still be really cool. Very Star Wars, but farmish.

  10. knchock says:

    The mimosa blooms are gorgeous! Last year our midwife let us dig up some volunteers off of her volunteer mimosa (it blew over from the pasture across from her house). And one of ours has new green on it now. Yay for spring blooms and new life!
    -Kimberly in NC

  11. holstein woman says:

    I love lilacs. I was told by a friend that you never want to cut the blooms because it won’t ever bloom on that stem again. I don’t know if she was correct or not. I don’t really think so, but you might ask someone with more lilac savvy than me.
    The farm is really looking beautiful, espacially the mimosa tree. They are a fun tree.
    You should be able to grow hazelnuts with no problem as your climate is about the same as Oregon. Another tree you could grow is chestnut. You could have a very good crop to sell to the stores or on Craigslist in 5 or 6 years. It does need two trees for polination and gets BIG. I’d plant them in the fall and far from the house because of the burrs on the outside. They take care of themselves as the burrs fall back on the ground and reseed. If you leave the nuts you can harvest tne new trees and sell them also.

  12. Merryment says:

    Don’t you love Spring? I’ve got a viburnum flowering on the side of the house, and I can smell it as soon as I get out of the car or go in the back yard. Spring gives such a robust promise of life, you can’t help but be charmed and enlivened yourself.

    I was a professional nursery woman and landscaper for the University for seven years. The rule of thumb on pruning flowering trees and shrubs is to do it right after they bloom. If they flower on new wood, take them back pretty drastically. Forsythia can be pruned almost to the ground. WIsteria can be pruned pretty hard up to June 1st, then don’t touch it till after it blooms. I’d leave your hydrangea alone until after it blooms.

    What a beautiful farm you have, Suzanne! Thanks for your generosity in sharing it all with the rest of us.

    PS Thanks to you, I had the courage to make hard cheeses. I love it! And I make darn good cheese, too. Your bravery inspires me regularly; you know, bravery isn’t about not being afraid. It’s about being afraid and going forward in spite of it all.

  13. Karen Patrick says:

    How I envy you. My husband and I did this 20 years ago and almost every year after. The planting of trees I mean. Hundreds of trees of many different varieties. Flowering ornamentals, fruit trees, nut trees, pines, spruce and more. It has been a real treat to watch them grow. I love trees. We are in our 60s now and will leave this place soon and it will break my heart to leave all my trees.

  14. cabynfevr says:

    Many of my favorites! Lilacs, hydrangeas, apple blossoms! Glad they told you about the hydrangeas…if you cut them back now you would lose the beautiful flowers for this year! Just dead head and cut any dead stems out for now. Other than that I never cut mine back at all. Trim the lilacs back after they’re done blooming and they will be all set for next year too. Your yard will be stunning completely greened out and blooming!

  15. shirley T says:

    Reading about the paw~paw tree brought back childhood memories.As a young girl I would play in the woods close to home. There was a paw-paw tree not far from the house.When the paw-paws ripened I would sit under that tree and eat and eat and then I would lay down under that tree and look up through the trees and at the sky and sometimes I would fall asleep. I can still hear my MOM calling me for supper. Of course I would be too full to eat supper and my MOM would say “you been up there gorging on them paw-paws again?” I haven’t tasted a paw-paw since.but I do love very ripe bananas and they are a good substitute.

  16. shirley T says:

    By the way~have you thought about pecan trees?? They would be a good seller. Next to paw-paws I love pecans best.

  17. Barbee says:

    Your lilac is a very pretty color. That is a color I do not have.

  18. copgrrl says:

    I have to ditto Merryment. I made Robiola cheese and through your experiences I am getting more and more brave to take on hard cheeses. I am actually going to spring for a cheese press this month. Yay! Next will be a wine cooler (refrigerator that is, not drink 😆 ) so I can build my cheese cave. Well on second thought MAYbe I will need a wine cooler… Oh well, happy days to all!!! :snoopy: :moo:

  19. beforethedawn says:

    Your tree plans sound wonderful. I can’t wait to someday have a place to plant whatever I like! This rental house has no trees on the property. :no: I miss trees.

  20. mds9 says:

    I love your tractor! Thanks for including it in your picture.
    Next year you might want to prune your apple trees. One of your knowledgeable helpers could tell you how. If you want to do it yourself, Sunset garden guide or mother earth news are good sources.
    I love to trim, it is very zen. Do you know what kind of apple? When you get apples note what month and take pictures (like you won’t). Love your farm!

  21. knititblack says:

    Ooooh, fresh plums and peaches and apples? I’m so jealous! Husband and I really want to plant fruit trees when we buy our dream farm, but that’s a few years down the road. So for now, I’ll just live vicariously through you, ok? 😉

  22. rhubarbrose says:

    I know what you mean about slow growing trees. You are so funny about putting a note on your tombstone – so true (especially at MY age!!).

    I love your blog Suzanne – you are inspiring and a wonderful writer.

  23. Abiga says:

    Oh my, you have got to go out on that front porch, sit in a rocking chair and pretend you are me for 30 seconds. Then send those vibes to me to see all that beauty and smell those country aromas etc. Then go back to being you and relax for a bit!!!! :happyflower:

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