One of my strongest beliefs related to this flower farm project is that if I am asking something of the earth, i.e. provide the necessary nutrients to allow my plants to grow big and strong, well then I need to give back to the earth in some form or fashion. The way I plan on doing this is, other than with compost and organic farming practices, is with my pollinator project.
On my property, I have a 30’ x 100’ drain field for my septic system. And while there are hard and fast rules about growing edibles, there are not so many related to ornamentals and flowers. Since the drain field is positioned on my property line, I designed it with two ideas in mind. The first is that it should support our local pollinators and have some native plants. The second is that it should create a little bit of a privacy hedge between me and the neighbors. And if it also provides a bit of a windbreak for the fierce winter winds, all the better.
This photo shows some of the plants I have installed (after mowing and tidying up a bit). The grasses to the far right should grow to be five to seven feet tall. The next row of grasses is different and should grow to three to four feet tall. The next row is a bush called Beauty Berry and has the loveliest lavender berries in the fall. The final row is supposed to be Japanese Anemone but we are having technical difficulties at the moment and I am not sure if I will get any to survive. Finally, in the front I have planted 6 different patches or clusters of flowers including Shasta Daisy, Milkweed, Black-eyed Susan and Purple Coneflower. My thought is that the grasses will provide interest, height and mass while the clusters of flowers in front provide color and will be hosts for our local pollinators. While I did buy the grasses, bushes and anemone, I grew the flower patches from seed. With all the water this Spring, it has been touch and go for several of the plants but I think on the whole I will have more survive than fail.
One other place that I would like to show you is along my front walk. Last fall, about fifteen minutes after I moved in I planted 13 lavender plants. I watched them all winter and kept my fingers crossed and to my absolute delight, they have all succeeded and flowered. As we speak, they are a host to at least a half a dozen bumble bees.
All in all, I’m faring better with landscaping than actual flower farming but I will keep plugging along and keep you posted. Until next time…