I started this blog March 2016 with a desire to write about my small 0.15 acre urban corner lot permaculture garden and the vegetarian meals I make using herbs and veggies from my small urban garden....but I never wrote anything because I got busy. Then I did something scary. I covered my front, back, and side lawns around my house with cardboard and wood chips.
I was done with spending hours every day weeding the grass out of my beds. When spring came, my garden, which was so beautiful with grassy paths and flowers beds, now looked horrendously brown, scruffy, and bleak. I regretted the mulching and wondered if I just devalued my house by $50k. But I pulled myself together and reminded myself how great it would be to hear the humming of honey and bumble bees in big bushes of Anise Hyssop and to see sweet goldfinches eating echinacea coneflower seeds from my kitchen window in the fall. Once some of my bulbs began to explode, I found the motivation to just get out there and start doing something...anything!
I really didn't know where to begin, but the little voice said, "just grab a rake." As I raked, I could see soon that it was the larger pieces of wood chips that made the garden look so ugly. Then I realized I could plant clover to get back some of the green or have the beautiful color of the dark earth contrast with brick borders. Now, the garden is starting to look amazing again, thanks to a very rainy spring. Now, I can't wait to get up in the morning to get my cup of tea and stroll through the garden! But even better than that, there have been many surprises which I will share and report over time in this blog.
Now that I am switching over to more native pollinator and bird-friendly plants, I love my garden even more and would live out there if it didn't get so darn hot at times. I miss the gargantuan Silver Maple - with eight foot girth - that was my nemesis for twelve years, but I am now growing to love the new serviceberry tree the City planted and the wildflower garden I planted around it; and my interactions with nature seem to have increased exponentially! There seem to be more varieties of beetles, bee-mimics, butterflies, and moths showing up than before, and that makes me want to go outside more often and stay outside for longer! Being outside longer means I see more going on, more comings, more goings, and the inter-relationships of everything.... For example, today I noticed two gorgeous red beetles (photo #1) mating on the milkweed leaf and ants all over the milkweed flowers (photos #2) with my outdoor "office" (photo #3). Was all of this going on before? Probably, but it just seems to be more intense, more frequent. Have the changes in my garden really made a difference to the birds and bees; or am I just more excited by the potential that I see that the garden has for me as a writer, educator, and artist, and photographer? Yes, and all of the above can be true! Today, I re-launch this blog by sharing an observation of a Hairy Woodpecker pair who are nesting in a 100+ year old Sugar Maple in my yard. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!