Boscage is an old French word for a mass of trees or shrubs; wood, grove, or thicket. And, indeed, we have a bosky patch of land. We have done a lot to it over the past 24 years, but every time I look, there is more to do. It is compelling and giving shape to my retirement years. We have left most of the property wooded. Over the years we have fenced in a series of raised beds, cleared some of the shrubby growth away from the stone walls, installed a mucky little pond for the spring peepers,and established garden beds around the house. Two years ago, we put an addition on the front of the house and changed the foundation planting. Now I am making lazy beds in the front yard and planning gardening projects for next spring. The expanded deck on the side of the house is almost done and I have plans for planting around it.
How to garden on the edge of a woods challenges me. First, the woods harbor deer. As you know, they make their rounds nightly. I am not interested in fencing the property although I am planning new kinds of ways to fence off smaller patches inside the vegetable/nursery garden. The 5' fence surrounding those beds was effective only when we had a dog. Deer can jump 8' from a standing position. I understand that that they are leery of a series of barriers and that is what I intend to create. I am not interested in spraying my plants to discourage the deer. My primary defense is to plant deer-resistant plants. My garden, like any garden, is always an experiment.
The second challenge is the invasive plants: garlic mustard, Japanese stiltweed, oriental bittersweet, barberry, and Winged Euonymous. Japanese stiltweed seems to be winning. This year I am aggressively addressing this problem. I am trying to wipe out the plants before they seed. If only I could convince the deer to eat these plants!
The third challenge is to keep the yard and garden manageable. I am not getting younger and I am concerned about creating something that I can't manage in the future. In my favor, and one of the joys of Westchester (NY), is the lack of manicured lawns and gardens.