A mixed bed in all it's late summer glory

A mixed bed in all it's late summer glory

Monday, April 12, 2010

Before pictures and ambitions, continued

I should be out there digging instead of yakking about it, but it is just 4 degrees Celsius out there in the morning, and it is fun to have a record.
Details about what needs to be done later, first, let's set the scene.

The garden work consists more or less of three sections, each of which needs major overhauling. They vie with each other for priority status.
There is the FOOD garden. It lives in a fence up the hill, right in front of the old house. It will get top priority this year. Think of it this way: plants for the farmers' market may or may not sell, for money that may or may not keep its value. But potatoes, carrots and kale will sustain us. For a more thorough treatise on this topic see Terry Pratchett's "Making Money".
Even before The Great One elaborated on the theme I have for years proclaimed more faith in the potato standard than in the gold standard.
The mess above is the Middle Garden, on the other side of the dwelling from the sunny border. So named because I used to have a garden at a lower level as well. The Middle Garden was originally meant to be an extra veg patch, especially for labour-intensive things like salad greens. The exploding deer population put the kibosh on that use. Dreams of more fences are starting to dance in my head, but meanwhile the space is used for herbs that don't get deered and as nursery beds for market plants.

Above: Campanula Conglomerata and Yellow Loosestrife, two of the tough-as-nails perennials that I divide, pot up and sell.
The sign says:

Heirloom perennials
Adapted to local conditions
Resistant to deer
Easy maintenance
Garanteed to thrive or another plant free.

 Few things make me happier than standing behind a table of glowing plants and have people buy them up. I have quite a few return customers. But I must find ways to be more efficient at it.  This year I will make plant-sized divisions, and let them grow out a bit more in a well-manured bed instead of in tiny pots. Why did I not think of that earlier? That way they are easier to water as well. I have spent way too much time moving plants from one pot to another, not to mention dunking each pot in a pail with PLANet Food once a week.
Below: Siberian Iris.
Another favorite: Lungwort, AKA 'Boys and Girls' or 'Youth and Old Age', because it shows one pink flower and one blue one. This is a member of the forget-me-not family, to which Comfrey belongs as well. It is a generous soul that spreads from the rhizome and self-seeds for good measure. Deer may nibble the young plants but they simply come back. They bloom for weeks in spring, do well in shade, and the leaves look nice all year.
It makes a nice substitute for finicky hostas.
As for the name: I didn't take it seriously as a herb, but my friend Maggie's horse knew better. One spring Goldie had bronchitis. He ate all her Lungwort. By the time the plants were gone so was the bronchitis. By the way, Maggie is a  herbalist who makes amazing salves. Her healing salve has soothed severe child eczema, and her liniment is superb for helping broken bones to heal once the cast is off. Her horses are hardy curly Bashkirs, good for people with allergies.
Section 3 is the flower gardens around the dwelling. This is a part of the border around the 'lawn'. It is not really a lawn, just what happens to grow here cut short. It needs to be peed on more systematically for lusher grass.
The picture at the top of the Blogspot blog is repeated here for the Multiply gang. It is of one of the rare moments a section all came together. The trouble is that the best designed garden is not static: the Iris collection that is just perfect one year needs to be divided and moved next, and so on. And now I have to get off this addictive machine and water the babies under the grow lights. To be continued.

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