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Gazebo and Hidden Meadow 

From the northwest corner of the side yard, there is a marked trail leading to the gazebo. Walking along this trail into the woods, you can see a hedge of cut tree branches. This is a “dead hedge” which provides safe shelter for small critters, birds, and insects. Peter brought the idea of a dead hedge with him from England, where it is widely utilized to promote habitat preservation. The Gazebo serves as refuge to relax and just enjoy nature. For safety, the Gazebo is closed during the open garden; thank you for your understanding. The Gazebo overlooks the hidden meadow, which is actually the septic field for the house. After the septic lines were installed, the field was seeded with a wildflower mix. From year to year, and season to season, the flora in the wildflower meadow changes. Our maintenance of this meadow consists primarily of removing dead stems in early spring as the new growth emerges, and weeding out the pervasive wild blackberries and sweetgums which would quickly take over the space if allowed. At the far northeast corner of the hidden meadow in a small (ok, teeny tiny) pond. Although our land includes a tributary creek which feeds into the Etowah River 1 mile away, that creek is 100 feet down in the ravine. We wanted to provide a water source in the upper garden area for small wildlife, so we built up a small earthen berm, lined the shallow pool with a pond liner, and buried a 100-foot drain pipe from the rain downspout of the house to provide water to the pond. In 8 years, we have had to fill the pond with a hose only twice during droughts. As you leave the hidden meadow, you will pass a pollinator garden on the left. This garden features a 3-year-old Bracken’s Brown Magnolia, the blossoms of which provide nectar for honeybees. Among the butterfly bushes, we planted swamp milkweed. Last August, we counted 17 monarch caterpillars on the milkweed. This garden is also planted with Benary’s Giant Zinnias, a variety which is mildew resistant and blooms gloriously until frost, much to the delight of butterflies and bees.

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