Growing it with Greywater

A friend came over recently and was astounded by my front garden.  “You must water like crazy!!”  That I do NOT, but there are a few elements that help this garden abound in the spring time.

Lush spring garden green

First I credit the Plants; Edible, Medicinal and Beautiful…This garden is mainly self-sown  (plants that like it here, drop their seed every season, spread and thrive) like Catnip, Clary Sage, Columbine, Lamb’s Quarters, and planted ones like Tarragon, Horse Radish, Yarrow, Mint, Jupiter’s Beard, Loveage, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Valerian, Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Day lily, Comfrey, Iris, Bleeding hearts, Hummingbird Sage, Bee Balm, Garlic Chives, Chervil, Ground Geranium and Tulips, Daffodils, Snapdragons, Clover, Poppies, & Rue, to name a few.  The annuals are put in other spots around the yard.

Shady now most of the day

The Sunlight….The garden is in full sun in the spring, until about May 1st, when the trees above it leaf out and create a very shady garden, cooling it in the summer months.

The Time….garden is old, about 10 years of adding compost & mulch makes a big difference in getting it established, enriching the soil and covering up any bare ground, and of course keeping that moisture in!!

And of course the Dishwater.  Yep– year round, every day, sometimes twice a day this garden gets oh,  maybe 4 gallons of dishwater dumped here and there.  I let the days dishes gather, neatly by the sink, organize from cleanest to dirtiest.  When the time comes, either in the quiet of evening or along with morning coffee, but strictly ONCE a day, (who wants to do dishes more than once a day?) I fill up my bins, squirt a little sodium free soap in and wash.  When complete, I dump the bins out the front door and begin the dish gather again.

The basins in the sink get filled once a day and dumped in the garden

The garden soaks it up like sponge and come spring just booms with delight.  I do water it with the hose too, but not very much.  In the hottest days of summer maybe once a week, and from November to April, not at all.  I won’t claim to be a radical water saver myself, but let’s face it, the stuff is sacred, the bearer and giver of all life on the planet, it is not to be wasted, and we each must do more to honor the water we have.

Every Drop a Miracle

A friend of mine, Amanda, is in fact totally radical water keeper, using and reusing only rainwater for herself and her family to drink, bathe, cook, wash, live in the high dry desert.  Totally an inspiration when it comes to, well everything, but we do what we can, as we can…….so little by little I am trying to reuse, conserve, respect and honor our sacred water by dumping it in the garden and watching it grow, and who knows, maybe someday it will turn into, more water!!

Catch every drop

Each Peach, Pear, Plum, I spy….Which one?

The world abounds with blooms right now, no leaves just pure bloom!!….at least where we are (In Northern Colorado), and the bees and I are in heaven.

Bursting with blooms- Nan King Cherry

While my husband teaches (a Permaculture Design Course) babe and I wander the blooms, bathing in their glow, snapping shoots and smelling the fragrant air.  It truly is dreamy, I must say…But oh so interesting as well.  I am sure you have noticed blooms along the road, on forgotten farms and maybe even in your own backyard and wonder Who are they?‘…

Well maybe I can share a few tips for at least narrowing things down.  Plants are identified by their leaves, bark, habits, structure and of course flowers.  All these characteristics are important in truly knowing who you are dealing with.  When I was learning plants someone along the way told me you can do all you want to I.D. a plant but the truth is in the flower…

Can you guess which Rosaceae this is?

So now is the perfect time to figure out just who those blooming guys are.  I won’t go into and thorough Botany lesson, as I am no expert….but here is a great book if you want one.

Botany in a Day- Great resources for teaching yourself Plant Identification

What I can share is some basics…. the trees and shrubs right now that are blooming abundantly are the Stone (ones with big pits) and Pomme (ones with little seeds) fruits, all in the Rose Family.  You can tell because the all have five petals, five sepals and lots of little stamen (the little tiny hairs with pollen at the tips).

Rosaceae is the third-largest plant family. This family includes many ornamental landscape plants, fruits, and berries, including apples, cherries, raspberries, and almonds, characterized by the shape of the hypanthium (the part of the flower where the seeds develop) and by petals in groups of five. Roses are members of the plant genus Rosa.”

Interesting right?  So here are a few Rosaceae that are blooming right now…..

Apricots

Bloom first, light pink, almost white petals with very rich red pink sepals that are very distinct after petals fall, creating a dark pinkish red glow. They are often bigger than other fruit trees, and even when young have a distinctly tree shape with a few thick branches and the rest smaller

The next to bloom are the Shrub Cherries, which are bushes really, producing clusters of tiny cherries that the birds love– great for hedgerows  and wildlife habitat, & tasty too…these are Nan King Cherries

You can tell this cluster of little flowers will produce a bundle of little berries

Nan King Cherry

Next you have the Pears

Pears have large white blossoms with fewer in a bunch than other blooms right now. Pear trees are often tall and skinny, pruned to have one thick branch at the middle like a christmas tree, called the central leader

Then we have the Peaches and Nectarines (just peaches without the fuzz)

Peaches have super pink blossoms and big round petals

Another Peach, possibly even a Nectarine

then you have the wild plums

Beautiful white flowers that almost look green because of the light green stems. Cluster of many flowers and smell like welches grape juice,truly pungent

Next come the ornamental plums & pears, the tree cherries, apples, strawberries, quinces, raspberries, black berries, and then by June we will have what we all know as the classic roses. Maybe I will document those as the bloom next too, but in the meantime enjoy those gorgeous blooms, many the bees find them and the frost not, may it be a fruitful year!! If you want to plant some Rosacea of your own this year, might I recommend Tooley’s Trees in Truchas, NM. Good folks, Good trees!!