What used to be barren ground is now loaded with both wild and cultivated flowers that provide habitat and forage for insects – be they beneficial or “pests”. Cultivating the ground with hardy perennials will protect and build topsoil for years to come, establishing a buffer zone or “edge” that borders the forest and fenceline. What we have observed is that not only are plants able to grow in the garden area, but the borders of the garden are also established, making way for pioneer plants such as yarrow, lupine, forget-me-nots, sarsapareille, rudebeckia, and buttercup.
Your climates and conditions can be quite different from ours here in SW Québec (hardiness zones 4b/3) and results will likely differ from ours. Like I stated in the original post, many of the plants were either splits or leftovers from a client’s house (we’re “professionals”) and planted rather willy-nilly. Our goal here was to establish a prairie/wildflower field Pollination Station that would serve the more heavily cultivated areas of annual vegetables and perennial fruiting shrubs (permaculture zones 1&2).
With the exception of the White Pearl Currant I plopped in there, along with the occasional mint and oregano grazing, the aim was to have a purely wild area (permaculture zones 4/5) with as many differing species of plants as possible. No, that’s not entirely true – I wanted a garden full of blue, yellow, and white flowers to look at from our living room window. No, I actually wanted the best of both worlds and am really pleased to be able to fulfill that edge of the dream. The fact that the currant has doubled its new growth in the measly 2 months that we’ve had it is bonus.
In the original post, there is a photo of a flowering monarda pink variety that I’m not even sure is still there. In this year’s post, there is a photo of an unknown plant that I do not remember putting there. As I garden on and on and on, I am wondering if the knack I am chasing is not the results I am trying to achieve but the surprises I find along the way…