While I grow a lot of my flowers in my suburban home garden, I was loaned an extra bit of land out in the country near the lake at the start of Covid. The whole family was drafted in to prepare it for growing in 2020, since there was no work, and school was out. I grew lots there in 2020, and ramped up the beds over the winter, but in March 2021 the owners asked me to return the land to them at the end of the 2021 growing season.
This was a bit of a blow - for about 30 mins - and then I remembered that a good friend had an acre going a begging out in Coole - a little further away than the lake field, but with oodles more potential. So we cooked up a joint venture plan - more about that later - and I started to prepare the Coole field - I needed to get my biennials in before the end of September. No-dig beds were created, and I learned some key lessons about ground preparation. All this while still growing flowers in the lake field, picking them, making bouquets, going to markets….
Next up was the perennials - I have been digging them out since October and putting them into pots for transport to Coole. Lots of them have been planted out there in some additional no-dig beds, but lots more to plant. The mild weather has been very helpful, so progress has been good, but still a lot are in pots. All of those perennials will be better in the ground; the ground is warmer than a pot would be, and their precious roots will grow even though the plant will appear to be dead. But there’s only so much that I can accomplish in the (increasingly short) day.
How the lake field looked in July:
So lush! It's good to revisit these pictures, it can be hard to remember what midsummer looks and feels like at this time of year.
And now, with all the plants gone…
Sad. But I have left the soil in great condition, and nourished the ecosystems there for 2 years. We saw all kinds of birds and butterflies there over the years, and countless earthworms had a cosy home.
This big pile of organic material is being left behind. So I’ll need lots of composting space in the new location, if I’m going to generate this much material annually. Normally I wouldn’t tidy up this much at this time of the year, all the hollow stems are good overwintering homes for critters, and leaving this material on the beds allows nature to break it down and feed the worms. However, I need to make a clean break here. So goodbye lake field!
There are lots of other changes afoot - more about them in my next newsletter. My 2022 courses are filling up nicely - The links are below in case you are interested. Just in case anyone is asking what you’d like for Christmas. Giving the gift of experience is a great way to show your affection for both the recipient and the planet….
I’m also participating in a Christmas market which I’m very excited about - details here
And I’ll leave you with this excellent song, which I’ll be humming in my head for the foreseeable….
Can't beat David Bowie to help with the transition !! Lovely letter Anna, and looking forward to Coole Cultivations !!
Fair play to you Anna for turning a negative into a positive so quickly - I must remember that !! Best of luck with your new field.