A gentlemen is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.
~George Bernard Shaw
I never know what new things I’ll discover when I visit local garden shops. On a recent trip to our favorite nursery we not only found several native plants to consider for our yard when we move the vegetable beds this fall, but we also discovered we have a rare gem of a garden friend living very close by.
It was serendipity when a conversation about native plants with the owner of the nursery, Dave, led to his surprising me with a calling card. The gentleman listed, Robert Hellmann, generously invites others interested in native and wildlife gardening to his home and property to “see what he’s doing.” What he’s doing is nothing short of incredible. Bob is in the lengthy process of restoring six and a half acres of abandoned farmland to a native state representing Western New York. Bob’s gardens and property include naturalized areas representing wetlands, ponds, transitional forests, the Adirondack Mountains and Alqonquin peak. He’s named his property: ‘Die Seimal’ German for both ‘The Homeland’ and ‘The Habitat’, quite fitting as his log home is centered in the habitat he’s re-creating.
A two- and a half hour tour of his acreage along with multiple native plant quizzes (I passed) and tree quizzes (I failed) was only the beginning of everything he had to share. I’ll be posting a few of his most valuable tips with hopes to inspire you to take a different look at the way we plant and grow with (and sometimes against) nature. The things he’s shared are true for every yard and garden (including vegetable gardens). I confess, there’s still much more to learn and Bob has generously given me an open invitation to study his work in progress. I will be visit again soon… but first I’m studying up on trees!