Carolyn Hirning, in New Albany, Ohio, went through her photos from the year and is sharing some of her favorites with us today.
To begin with, my neighbor’s chickens were unexpected (but welcome) visitors to my front yard.
I planted a patch of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca, Zones 3–9) in a small garden bed a couple of years ago. Oh boy. I learned the hard way that it’s best to keep this plant away from the manicured parts of your garden. The milkweed tunnels underneath the soil and comes up everywhere!
The milkweed is great for the pollinators, though, which was my goal. I collected a pound of dried seedpods and donated them to the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation. This is the third year the organization has collected milkweed seedpods from the community. The seeds are distributed on conservation corridors along designated highways that have been planted with native prairie perennials.
I had to have a large garden bed repaired, which gave me an opportunity to plant new things. I focused mostly on native perennials, but these crazy cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus, annual) from just a few seeds were all over the place. In late summer, I let Mother Nature take over the rest of the garden, which you can see in the background.
There is a very old apple tree in the far end of our backyard that always has something interesting going on. These holes look like damage from sapsuckers, which are woodpeckers that, as their name suggests, feed on the sap that oozes from the holes they make in trees.
And one of the oak trees I planted had a visitor. (Editor’s note: I think this may be a hickory tussock caterpillar.) Since I moved to this one acre 16 years ago, I have planted over 25 trees: oak, hickory, maple, tulip poplar, and basswood/linden.
The best part of my summer was sitting on the deck watching the pollinators.
And finally, I didn’t harvest many vegetables this year, but this goofy one made an appearance.