Showing posts with label Pollinator Habitat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pollinator Habitat. Show all posts

Friday, October 27, 2017

Engine of Providence

Low Tara Turf, below.  From 1st meeting adored its charm, character, function.  Here, perfectly balanced with formal pruning, canopy, open, woodland beyond.
Did you immediately understand all these things too?

Âme vagabonde
Pic, above, here.
Oddly, decades after falling deeply for Tara Turf, an epiphany.
More than 'aesthetics', pure function.  Engine of Providence.
Tara Turf next to canopy/understory are maximum pollinator habitat.
My adoration/desire no different than the attraction a bee has for flowers.  None.
Life at its most basic.
Tara Turf, indeed.  Drama. Bees have known, since bees have been.
Maximum pollinator habitat can increase crop yields by 80%, do the math.
Garden & Be Well,     XO T


TARA TURF, in GA, is a mix of grass-moss-clover-mondo-ajuga-dandelion--mazus-and what the wind blows in. Add crocus, dwarf daffodil, thyme if desired.
TARA TURF is mowed at 1-2-3 heights, below. Beneficial to wildlife, organic, sustainable, fragrant, low maintenance, eco and only uses rainwater.

                           Pic, above, I shot at Sissinghurst.

TARA TURF, mixed heights, above, in England.
Studying landscapes in Europe I noticed, NO LAWNS. TARA TURF is used commercially and residentially.
New neighborhoods lack smell and mixed insects. Did you know there are more good bugs than bad bugs?
Old neighborhoods smell like my childhood. Clover, grass, bugs, dirt, all the good things.
Most new neighborhoods have deed restrictions outlawing TARA TURF.
TARA TURF, I shot, in England, above.
The outlaw label, against TARA TURF, should be amusing but the stakes are too high.
The cost of mow-blow-go is too high. Lawn mowers are not regulated. One hour of lawn mowing is equal to 11 hours of driving a car.
Fertilizer, insecticide & fungicide kill machorizal fungi, and are toxic to groundwater.
 TARA TURF, I shot, in Italy, above.
And drain into groundwater. Atrazine in our drinking water was on the front page of NY Times 8-23-09. TARA TURF uses no chemicals.
Yes, I design lawns. Preferring TARA TURF but using what deed restrictions require. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bunny Mellon: The Weeded Stone Terrace

Do you know, below, what you're looking at?
Seeing stone terraces with 'weeds' in the cracks, was a moth-to-a-flame epiphany.  "Got it", immediately.  Never saw a stone terrace with 'weeds', by choice, in USA, discovered them studying historic gardens across Europe. 
Soon after discovery, learned 'why' they originated.  WWI took most of the labor force for home/farm.  Stone terraces had been pristine, maintained yearly, with repointing between the stones.  No labor, no repointing, 'weeds'.  Of course decades had passed before my epiphany and those 'weeds' in stone terraces across Europe were mostly Lady's Mantle.  WWI created a new Garden Design conceit. 
A few years had to pass for my stone terrace budget to align with wanting a stone terrace.  Once the stone terrace was installed, another 3-4 years passed getting the variety of  'weeds' perfected. 
That stone terrace was hedged with Tea Olives, the Tea Olive Terrace.  Gave me years of joy, now, moved into a ca. 1900 home for 2 years, I miss my Tea Olive Terrace as I would a dear friend.     

Friendly Weeds
Pic, above, Oak Spring Garden Foundation.
Before I moved, Vanity Fair had a garden article with a stone terrace filled with weeds.  Almost an exact replica of my Tea Olive Terrace.  Who is this person?  Had to know.  This was my introduction to Bunny Mellon.
Bunny is the only gardener in America I know of to purposefully design/install a stone terrace with 'weeds' too.
The weeded terrace.  Takes 'weeded' to a new level. 
Later, another epiphany arrived. Unbeknownst to me, adding 'weeds' to a stone terrace increases pollinator habitat, in a zone already rife for pollinators, high density with low density. 
Garden & Be Well,    XOT
No worries, well aware a weeded terrace is a love it or must get rid of the weeds venue.  Heart on my sleeve for weeds in stone.  Even if Bunny wasn't good company for loving a weeded terrace, the beauty and pollinators are more than enough joy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Beautiful: Form & Function in an Orchard

Aside from the obvious, below, young fruit trees, do you know what you are looking at ?
For decades, I didn't.  Knew I loved the style, and copied.
Not merely pretty meadow, below, under the fruit trees.
We've truly been too long from the land not to know.  No sense whining about how things should be, genie is out of that bottle.  (Some have already labeled our era, "Anthropocene, adjective relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.", Google.)
So, the pretty meadows, below, are form and function.  Targeted mix of plants, feeding the soil & attracting a wide array of pollinators during a specific window of time, increasing yield.  Money.
Done correctly yields can be increased 80%.  Serious money.  More than money in yields, less time in labor.  More money.
You're looking at a guild.  That tall gorgeous meadowy tapestry under the fruit trees is called a guild.
Back to the anthropocene.  I do believe it to be true, yet pulling to the macro view I know Wendell Berry is speaking of a greater truth, and Earth will take care of our anthropocene era, " Whether we & our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals & decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do."    

Looking back, and forward - Ben Pentreath Inspiration:
Pic, above, here.
Guilds are a way of planting eternity in the moment.  Guilds are a small patch of wilderness, if you 'see'.  "Wilderness is beauty beyond thought.", John Muir.  "The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.", Carl Sagan.
Garden & Be Well,     XO T
A guild planting list, below, from here.
SOUTHWOODS FOREST GARDENS: Patio Polyculture Orchard Design:

Article, below, from here, describing parts of a guild.  An exception, for me, to this list, below, I would use no human scat.

7 Parts of an Apple Tree Guild

Guild, or companion, planting is one of the fundamental techniques of permaculture gardening. It taps into permaculture ideas such as self-sufficient systems, plants providing multiple functions, and maximizing the productivity of a plot. Guilds are typically set up around a central fruit tree. Each plant species in the ecosystem performs one or more functions that benefit others in the vicinity, as well as interacting with animal species and soil microorganisms to create an ecosystem. Below are examples of species that can be used to make an effective guild planting around an apple tree.
Apple Tree
At the centre of the guild stands an apple tree. In a permaculture design, it is preferable to get your fruit trees into then ground as soon as possible, as they can take several years to mature. For instance, if you plant a one-year-old specimen of a standard sized apple tree, you can expect to start harvesting in around five years. Dwarf varieties will take a little less time, producing their first harvest around year three. When planting an apple tree, make sure you add plenty of organic matter and, if possible, some animal manure. This will give the tree all the nutrients it needs to make a robust start in your plot. The addition of organic matter will help keep the soil well structured and so well drained, something apple trees prefer. Most apple trees do not self-pollinate, so for the trees to produce fruit, you need at least two specimens. They don’t necessarily have to be the same variety (you could get some interesting flavours by including different species on your site) but will require pollination between individuals to produce fruit. Golden Delicious and Granny Smith trees are renowned as good trees to pollinate with many other varieties, however, do a little research and find out which species of apple tree are native to your area. They will be best suited to the local conditions. The apple tree obviously provides the permaculture gardener with food, but also offers protection to the plants around it. They may need to be pruned to allow sunlight to reach the ground where the other plants in the guild are sited.
Plants that have bulbs are characterised by short stems and fleshy leaves, besides the underground bulb that acts as an energy store for when the plant is dormant. They are good additions to an apple tree guild as their shallow roots help to suppress grass growth. Grass would compete with the apple tree and the surrounding plants for nutrients, so keeping it at bay is essential for robust growth. The bulbed plants have the added bonus of going dormant in the summer, and so do not take valuable water away from the thirstier apple tree when rainfall is likely to be scarcer. A circle of bulbs should be planted underneath where the drip line of the apple tree will be when it is fully-grown. Alliums such as chives, leeks and garlic are good choices, but arguably the best plant for this role in the guild is the daffodil, because they have the additional benefit of deterring deer and rabbits as the animals find them poisonous.
Attracting a variety of insects to the guild is beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, it helps to pollinate the plants (and so, in the case of the apple tree, producing fruit), while secondly, it prevents any one species of insect becoming a problem, as different species predate on one another. Dill, fennel and coriander plants are known to be particularly effective at attracting insects in an apple tree guild. (The apple tree itself will also attract birds to the guild, which will also help keep insect populations in check, as well as filling your permaculture site with beautiful birdsong.)
Of course, besides attracting predators, the guild can also include plants that repel potentially damaging insects. In an apple tree guild, nasturtiums are the go-to species for this function. They seem to be particularly adept at keeping insects that may damage apples away. Indeed, many commercial apple orchards plant nasturtiums around the base of the trees to help protect their crops. Nasturtiums also provide colour to the guild, while their flowers are edible too.
Adding plants that naturally provide mulch to the guild will save the gardener time and energy. Utilizing species that you can slash the foliage of and leave on the ground to rot into the topsoil means the soil retains good structure, helping aeration and water percolation, and provides nutrients that all the plants in the guild can access. Comfrey, artichokes and rhubarb all work well in this regard in an apple tree guild.
The permaculture gardener can add species to the apple tree guild that will increase the nutrient content of the soil. Like the mulching plants, this lessens the need for manually adding nutrients (by composting, for instance) saving time and energy. Accumulators are plants that send roots deep down into the soil profile to bring up nutrients such as calcium, potassium and sulfur. These nutrients are used by the plant and by neighboring specimens as well. In an apple tree guild, planting yarrow, chicory or dandelion can perform this function.
Besides the nutrients secured by the accumulators, it is a good idea to add plants that will up the amount of nitrogen in the soil. After apple tree guildwater, nitrogen is the most important element to plants, as it is essential for key activities such as energy production and photosynthesis. Leguminous plants have special nodules on their roots that form a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria to help ‘fix’ nitrogen Clover, vetch, peas a, beans and alfalfa are all regarded as fine nitrogen-fixers.
Besides the plants in an apple tree guild, the permaculture gardener may also want to consider adding (or, at least, not removing) stones and logs in the vicinity. These can create habitat nooks that will attract animal species. A pond will do the same, attracting frogs, different bird species, and insects, which will add to the effect of keeping insect populations balanced and protect the fruits of your apple tree guild.
Robin saysOctober 25, 2014
Thanks this was very helpful. I would like to see more very practical well laid out guild ideas like this!
David Cameron saysNovember 2, 2014
Great suggestions, just need a bit more space to fit it all in
Karen Pusin saysNovember 3, 2014
I have an apple tree that survived a tornado…
Red Brady saysNovember 3, 2014
We’ve just planted the first two native apple trees in what will, we hope, be our forest garden (currently a large grassed paddock). Working out the rest of it is proving to be fun!
dhalsey saysDecember 8, 2014
Here is a polyculture page at the Natural Capital Plant Database:
Ground cover whatever the plant is important in all these guilds. Occupy the soil space and absorb the sun into organic matter. Dan
Keshet Miller saysDecember 8, 2014
Mmm some very useful knowledge here…. they didnt mention the importance of a gazebo though! Heheh 🙂
Jock McClure saysJanuary 17, 2015
My tree might certainly benefit from this info! I owe it some consideration.
Betsy Beard saysJanuary 17, 2015
What kind of guilds are they talking about here? Do they mean to say ‘guides?’
Bernice saysJanuary 17, 2015
Would like a natural way to spray or keep worms from cherrys and to keep robins out of my cherrytrees
Daniel Laporte saysJanuary 17, 2015
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haecklers saysApril 11, 2015
How do you prevent insect pests by picking up dropped fruit to break the lifecycle with all those plants under the trees? How to you get to the fruit to harvest it? Those two are what’s been keeping me from planting guilds under my trees!
Anonymous saysSeptember 20, 2015
Very helpful.I have learned much

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