Thursday, February 23, 2017

Front Yard: Simple, More Simple

Seems so simple, below.

tuinontwerp Maastricht Zuid-Limburg:
Pic, above, here.

More simple, below.

 Ooohhhh yes please...I'll take it ❤️ @decorpad:
Pic, above, here.
Austerity of great depth.
Richness in choosing 'no'.
A garden must say who you are from the curb.  A garden must say you really do want to come inside.
Amazing array of good choices, that list is not short, made for both houses & gardens.
How simple can you make your landscape while giving it, and your home, deep riches ?
Garden & Be Well,    XO T

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

Comments are closed

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Feng Shui: Journaling, Garden, Life

Smith & Hawken had a lecture series at their store on Peachtree Street for years.   Much anticipated was a Feng Shui speaker.
Wildly, and pleasingly, the talk was validation for all I was already doing for Garden Design and aligning it with home & life.  A trinity.
Later I met Tracy Miller of Gazelle Feng Shui.  Have enjoyed being on her email list, Gazelle Feng Shui Tip of the Week, arriving Fridays for years.
A few nights ago I was googling information, and this pic, below, was in the large response.  Ironic, it's a pic of my own garden.  My 30 year Cottage Garden.  Soul satisfying, this pic is taken in my sideyard in a cluster home subdivision with at least 10 houses stuffing the view.  See them?  Didn't think so.  More, if I must give any sort of accounting for my time on Earth, that garden will be on the list.  As accomplishment, and in thanks.  (Slow, 'washing of the servants feet', but I got-it !! )
In addition to having several books published, I write journal books for myself.  They have quotes, passages, lone words by the hundreds, pairs of words, torn fragments of photos/art, torn more, into collage pieces taped onto many pages, processes of thinking, myriad methods of finding your way out of the woods Dante's Inferno describes, yet we arrived in those woods of our own free will.  The books are not linear, and fresh items are put into whichever, no scheme, other than heart, and a passion that is broad and still hungry for understanding, much.
Apparently, journal books are a type of methodology of Feng Shui in Tracy Miller's world.  The power of intention.  My journal books are not wish books, more potent, action step books.
I see this pic of my garden, below, and cannot believe all that was given to me.  Given.  Yet it was my effort of mind/heart/body/checkbook/time/bruised-bloodied, creating the garden.  It feels, totally, freely, given.

Pic, above, shot in my garden.
A journal entry, below, ca. 2007.  This darling sassy man, and his home.  Had no clue who he was at the time, merely adored his sass.

Pic, above, from my journal, via, NYTimes.
2015 arrived, less than 2 years ago, and I found a house on Zillow.  Knew it was the wrong house driving to meet the realtor, too far, located in nowherevilleruralusa.   E.M.Forster awoke when I walked thru the front door, every fiber of my being 'knew', this is my home.  A few minutes later, I walked into this room, below, now my office.  Already a mass of jello from E.M.Forster communing at the front door, now, in this pink room, below, (as Forster did with the charwoman meeting the 2nd Mrs. Wilcox at Howard's End for the first time), I got the 2nd memo, as if the 1st memo wasn't beyond galaxy realms huge.  Offer was made for the house within 24 hours.
Image may contain: indoor
Pic, above, shot in my office this morning.
Soon I will begin the hunt for kaki blazer/pants, purple shirt, pocket square, and stand with sass, at my office fireplace, with a good photographer.  No, I didn't want a pink office, white fireplace, kaki pants suit while journaling the photo from NYTimes.  
More than this has arrived into the present, from my journals.  And, I had merely been saving/journaling to help my methodologies, and understand, from Dante's, Inferno, Line 1, "Midway on our life's journey, I found myself in a dark wood, the right road lost."  James Hollis has a great question to ask yourself, if the right road to take is unclear, and options are myriad yet opaque, "Which path enlarges me, and which path diminishes me?"  More, "This means leaving behind what's comfortable but confining.  Like Dante, we need to find the path to our best, freest selves.  If you get stuck...We might be frightened by the answer, or intimidated by what it asks of us.  But it will always tell us which way to go."
Garden & Be Well,   XOT
Tracy Miller of Gazelle Feng Shui, below.  (Tracy gave me permission to share her work, and I am receiving nothing in return. )

The Two Energies of Feng Shui

Hi All,

Feng shui as seen through the eyes of most people consists largely of manipulating the tangible (physical) environment. Most of the time, we are looking at the layout of the land, buildings, the position of furniture, trees and roads, and also colors and shapes of things. Sometimes referred to as "Sying" energy, this physical practice is a very good way to make adjustments to an environment to support the chi of the people who live there. But it's not the only way.

There is a second aspect of feng shui that isn't as well-known but that is also a powerful way to change the chi of a person or a place. This energy is known as "Yi", which can be translated loosely as a wish, or an intention and/or an imposition of will. This type of energy might be accessed through a house blessing, through reading intentions daily, and by adjusting our inner feng shui to align with what we are desiring in life. It is the reason we like to look at a house's history and the way a person arrived at a place to see if there is a pattern of energy present there that needs to be considered. What intangible elements are impacting the space? This Yi energy is equally important as the physical aspects of the space.

By tying these two energies together, a level of success can be attained more easily than by using one or the other by itself. For example, it's great to read your intention every day to find a new relationship. It sets your mind on the purpose at hand. You might even meditate or pray on this desire which helps align your inner world with this intention. But to bring a turbo charge to this desire, you will also want to adjust your physical world by enhancing the relationship areas in your home, by getting out to meet people, and creating a nurturing environment around you. In this way, you are in essence 'covering all the bases" to take you where you want to go.

Of course, life isn't predictable. There are no guarantees. By using feng shui methods, we are simply trying to increase our chances of attaining our goals by tapping into the best energy (chi) possible to take us there. All gardeners know that if you plant a seed, water it, use the best soil possible and have great weather that you have a very good chance of growing a wonderful vegetable or flower. On the other hand, perhaps at the height of harvest time, a deer jumps the fence and eats the whole thing. We're not in charge of the universe, but we do our best to live in it. That's a very important feng shui concept.

Until next time,
Like Gazelle Feng Shui Tip of the Week: The Two Energies of Feng Shui on Facebook

Tracy Miller
Gazelle Feng Shui