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April at the permaculture garden

The months of February and March saw some good changes at the Root permaculture teaching and display garden. Volunteers showed up to help me on every other Sunday morning and on most Tuesdays, late afternoon.

Six of the ten tree guilds planned for the two large terraces have now received their tree: two heritage apples, two black elderberries, a fig, and a mulberry. The four remaining trees have yet to be sourced, but hopefully will be planted this coming autumn.

Companions are beginning to be planted in these guilds. So far we have more skirret (an edible perennial root) to hold the slope, some flowers to attract the pollinators, like this beautiful pasque flower, a lupine to fix nitrogen, and some comfrey as a dynamic accumulator. I am hoping to get many more companion planted this spring with help from volunteers.

Native plants have begun to be planted along the perimeters of the upper garden as well as in the lower garden. We have added pearly everlasting, trailing strawberry, Saskatoon Berry, fireweed, red flowering currant, and Oregon Grape, and more wooly sunflower.

Native plants are also the focus of the newly constructed rock wall terraces in the upper garden. In time, this will showcase a Garry Oak tree with camas bulbs, sea blush, a second red flowering currant, gum weed and more. The oak tree is planted but it is less than a foot tall at this point. Gardens require much patience!

Berry gardens are developing on the upper terraces. Eight black currants were planted one sunny Sunday, plus two Josta berries, an Aronia berry, and more raspberries. More berries will be added, but perhaps not until the fall.

Some companion sedums have been planted at the edge of this rock wall.

The lower of these terraces is planted to medicinal herbs. With volunteer help, the lemon balm has been moved to the pond area where it can stretch out more comfortably, as it likes to do. Instead we will plant motherwort, echinacea, and arnica there sometime this spring.

Eventually many of these herbs will be incorporated into the tree guilds, but the idea of having an herb section, with signage, to teach about the herbs is also desirable. Both are possible with time.


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