Garden Photo of the Day

The Year in Carolyn’s Garden

Highlights of 2021

Carolyn Hirning, in New Albany, Ohio, went through her photos from the year and is sharing some of her favorites with us today.

chickens roaming the yardTo begin with, my neighbor’s chickens were unexpected (but welcome) visitors to my front yard.

milkweedI 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!

milkweedThe 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.

garden bed with native perennialsI 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.

very old apple treeThere 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.

oak treeAnd 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.

bee pollinating the flower The best part of my summer was sitting on the deck watching the pollinators.

harvested tomatoAnd finally, I didn’t harvest many vegetables this year, but this goofy one made an appearance.

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  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/20/2021

    You are a lady after my heart with the planting of trees.

  2. User avater
    bdowen 12/20/2021

    Love the honeybee (?) photo. The wildlife in your area must be thanking you for all the new trees.

  3. user-5117752 12/20/2021

    Love your pictures and story line! You're such a loving, thoughtful caretaker of your land! In the hopes that you'll share with us again, I'm looking forward to what spring brings you. (The caterpillar on the tree and the apple tree with all those holes were my favorites.)

  4. btucker9675 12/20/2021

    Love every bit of this!! In my garden in northern NJ, cosmos would also sow themselves around and it was also a delight to see where they'd come up next. Haven't had luck with them here in NC but am continuing to try!

  5. User avater
    simplesue 12/20/2021

    Great photography, love the neighbor's chickens in your yard, and learned a lot of interesting useful stuff from you, and saved a two of your photos to Pinterest! Thanks for a cool post!

  6. [email protected] 12/20/2021

    Thanks for the pix! I keep planting milkweed, and cosmos, hoping they will volunteer around, but no luck yet- will keep trying. Love that caterpillar, and all the others as well.

  7. User avater
    cynthia2020 12/20/2021

    Carolyn - I enjoyed reading your gardening story and looking at all the photos. Thank you for sharing!

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