food, farming, friends and family: a meditation on chosen simplicity and (in)voluntary complications – life.

earthday souljoy continued

Trees and shrubs seem to be the long-term relationship to the quick and steamy affairs of annual vegetables.  Tart little tomatoes and plump eggplants come and go several times over before the proud Douglas Fir has time to enter its infancy.  As a planter and a grower, I’ve been a swinger in the plant world, preferring the quick cycles (and overt edibility) of the veggies to those plants that return year after year, growing slowly, signaling the seasons, persevering.  Or at least I’ve felt more comfortable in my (admittedly small) knowledge base of the vegetable world.

But I’m starting to get excited about getting to know and love new plants, creating guilds of plant communities, becoming both a farmer and a steward.  And a designer!  With the help of several native plant landscaping books and the unending inspiration of my favorite plant-o-phile,  Rosemary, I recently completed my first landscaping design project.  I used most all native plants.  Not that I’m a purist necessarily – After all, I’m a member of perhaps the most invasive species … ever, and I myself have certainly uprooted myself from my native soils and managed to thrive.  But 1) once established, natives should be able to take care of themselves with little maintenance 2) they’re what I know  and 3) how do you say no to a deer fern?

I’m happy with how the project turned out, though already growing impatient waiting for the plants to sprawl out and fill in the gaps (How many successions of radishes could I have had in this time? my antsy farmer mind thinks to itself).
Some before and afters: 

What I’ve enjoyed most about this project is knowing who it’s for: John and Lee, the sweet couple who have made this garden I’ve planted their gift to one another for their 40th anniversary.  
Happy Anniversary you two!  If that’s not cause for souljoy, I don’t know what is. 


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