It is a jungle out there right now. There is just enough rain that mowing keeps getting missed and the timothy is as high as Duende’s nose! But the daisies, red clover, and cinquefoil are tall and lovely. Tiny and ethereally delicious wild strawberries cover the paths in the backfield and the blackberries are blooming like crazy. Most of the garden has been seeded and planted, though there is still some parts that need tending like the chamomile bed, a new pole bean trellis, the ground cherries to be put in, and maybe some wonderberry (J likes them a bunch). The flower beds are also seeded and some little bits waiting in the wings for empty garden pockets.
I’d like to still build little companion plant annexes at the end of the vegetable beds; I do interplant some friends but I like extras. They are little gardens in themselves – borage, nasturtium, marigold, dill, oregano, chives, calendula, sunflowers, basil and other aromatics like lavender, chamomile, sage, thyme, etc. Some just bring in the pollinators, some bring in parasitic wasps, some confuse predators, and some emit magickal properties that enhance growth and flavor of their relations. I’m a nerd for companion planting. Red onions separate the rows of chard, basil of all colors are in between the tomatoes along with some sunflowers down the center row and marigolds on the corners, the cucumbers trail with nasturtiums, and calendula and radish grow in front of the peas, there is a bed of fennel (all by itself because it doesn’t like direct friends) that brings in good things, and the nitrogen from the beans will replenish the heavy feeding of the corn.
I make little beds throughout the orchard, too. Boneset, blue false indigo, comfrey, native bee balm and many of the mature trees are surrounded by various narcissus and alliums. The dear late Michael Phillips has taught us well and we will continue to use his brilliance for many years to come. I don’t know where we would be without such great ecological and environmentally sensitive practitioners – I’m amazed every day at the neighbors in New England who know so much more than I (and not just New England, but it is here that the terroir that we share is a specific knowledge). It is an honor to learn from and with them. Always learning. May we all be so lucky.