how to care for creation one inch at a time
by Stan Faryna
I explained in the comments of the previous post. That I was going to do my small part in caring for creation. To summarize, I’m planting flowers and bushes that will feed and nourish the pollinators: bees, butterflies, fireflies and hummingbirds.
That post is here:
Here in my neck of the Northern Virginia suburb, we have many varieties of pollinators. Of bees, we have wild European honey bees, bumblebees, and carpenter bees. I think that my favorite local butterflies are the orange-speckled, brush footed butterflies (Nymphalidae). But any bright colored butterfly makes a heart smile.
I planned eight flower beds – a work bigger than me infact. It was easy to imagine, but proving a beast in the execution. But that’s how I roll – throwing myself at the impossible. Or improbable. Success promises immense satisfaction and upliftment. Failure, of course, threatens at every inch. That’s how I think of God’s work – however erroneous that conception may be.
The fourth bed is hard to see; it’s at the top of the picture.
Beds one through four were supposed to be 6 foot x 6 foot plots. The second ended up 6 x 8 as I got lost in the work. The grass sod tops had to be removed and I tried to loosen the hard clay soil about a foot deep with a shovel. I had to sharpen the shovel for every plot. I did one every few days.
The plots were tilled and then 48 square feet of moist, organic manure-based compost was added and mixed in. I threw up a few times – my body just wasn’t used to this kind of work. My friend and author of One With The People, Jack King, helped me remove the grass top of plot 4, 5 and 6.
Thank you, Jack.
Then, I found out that I hadn’t planned the lilies right. You’re supposed to plant three lily bulbs per spot – which meant that I had only half of the lily bulbs I needed. Ouf!
Beds 5 and 6
Beds 5 and 6 posed three challenges. It’s partial shade. It’s the front of the house; it’s got to look good. And there were some lilies of the valley that naturally ended up by the doorway and I would hate to wreck mother nature’s good work.
Each plot is 4 foot x 16 feet. The lilies of the valley occupy 4 x 4 on one side closest to the entrance. I’ll replicate that 4 x 4 on the other side.
Unfortunately, the usual suspects for pollinators need six hours of direct sun (butterfly bushes for example) and I’m more interested in ground cover than a tall plant for the front. Suggestions are welcome.
Beds 7 and 8
Bed 7 is for the Butterfly Bushes (Buddleia) and, perhaps, Sweet Woodruff as ground cover. Bed 8 is for Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias) and Yarrow (Achillea). You can see what the native, unamended orange clay soil looks like in the old vegetable garden. But I don’t think there is time, energy or money to do anything about it this year.
I practically crawled on my hands and knees back to the house – after preparing these big beds. Being in full sun, the clay was really hard to break.
25 April 2013
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