It’s pouring outside this morning, so, of course I couldn’t resist heading out into the yarden! As I’ve written before, gardening in the rain has lots of advantages and it’s in many ways an ideal time for maintenance.
The yarden definitely needed the tending and I was finally able to clear out the radishes from the mediterranean/olive tree guild. I pulled numerous grasses that were encroaching on some of my young cherry trees, a reminder that I need to remulch the collars around all of them. In general, I think a BIG load of mulch is in order for the orchard. Now that there’s a lot of biomass ready and willing to decompose with the help of worms lured to the surface by the delicious scent of rotting vegetable matter, I think I can safely cover it over in straw and wood mulch. (Which will help keep that awesome scent underground and not in my and my neighbors’ nostrils!)
My long socks and wellingtons did a fine job of keeping me dry while I turned the compost pile—itself in dire need of some more browns; I may add some straw bales tonight after work. My Hokie hat got soaked though, even under my very smart looking “water resistant” hoodie, which was not up to the task and I’m soaked as I write this now, waiting for fresh clothes to come out of the dryer before work.
Despite the damp, my big reward was seeing how much life my yarden now supports. When it was mostly lawn and boxwood, the only reptiles I saw were little garden snakes (still present, thankfully) and the only birds were robins and the occasional cardinal. This morning, though, I saw a brilliant little gold and black bird hanging on the drooping head of a sunflower! Just a few feet away, there was a little chickadee-looking bird waiting it’s turn for a go at the seeds. And while pulling grasses in the Rainier cherry guild, my eye caught a small hopping thing—a frog! This is the first frog I think I have ever seen on my property!
Some of what I’m seeing now may have always been here and I’m only now noticing it—that’s entirely possible. You can’t know something until you know it, and as I learn more about gardening, permaculture, and nature I am certainly more “attuned” to it and likely to notice it. But I also believe that as I’ve increased the diversity of plant life on my property, I’ve also increased the health of the overall ecosystem in a small way.
Wildlife is hard-pressed on all sides by people, and signs like the little frog and birds tell me I’m doing something to help.
Update: ID’d those birds!