Today we tackled one of the worst areas of the garden, which could no longer be avoided, as it sits between the circle and the long rows of beds. It is the transition between the spaces and has been a dumping ground for rocks, dirt piles, and some moldy hay. Behind it you can see some old falling-apart compost piles and more dirt piles–which have served as nurse-beds for a most excellent crop of our biggest weed: galinsoga. Joy. (I hear this is a food-crop in other parts of the world…we will not starve.)
Luckily it was a balmy day, not too hot or buggy and we were a good sized crew. We all focused on working this bed, first weeding, then flattening it out. Our plan was to make a lasagna of layers of the original soil (lots of clay), the decomposing hay, and then some compost and soil on top. We planned to create a low rock wall to contain these layers and to define the bed. This is especially important, as we intend for this bed to be home to many of the herbs that are considered invasive: comfrey, nettle, rhubarb, horseradish. We wanted to give these important medicines pride of place in the garden, while being realistic. They need a barrier!
You can see the weeds are starting to give way, but the giant dirt pile in the middle still needs leveling out. Once we got into it, we realized this would be no small bed…good thing because these will be no small plants.We ended this stretch of the day by covering about half of the hay with soil/compost and putting in the nettle roots we got from Sage Mountain (a delight to have that magical energy in our garden). We’ll finish the rest next week.
After lunch, our friend and neighbor Fearn came for a visit to the garden. Fearn and I used to live just across the road from this garden (how the world goes round and round!) where we had a similarly large and herby plot. Fearn now lives at the end of the road on a beautiful piece of land where she does all sorts of magical good things with the nature spirits and earth energies. She’s a geomancer and dowser and came to talk to us about the energy lines–like acupuncture meridians on the earth’s body–in our garden. She used some of her fun tools to identify where we have some yin energy lines, also called serpents, and noted that we didn’t have any dragons, or yang energy. Now we know why our stone paths have been turning out so snakey! She talked to us about how we can use dowsing to find these lines of energy and to make decisions about our garden (like soil amendments, bed and plant placement).
Fearn discoverd that we have two strong serpents that cross in our garden in the circle. This means there’s lots of grounded, moist, deep, condensing energy along these lines, and especially where they cross. This is wonderful energy to support root growth and super moist and juicy, watery plants. But, as in all things, the garden needs balance! With no dragon, we were lacking in outward, upward, hot, firey, diffusive energy, which might support aromatic plants grown mostly for leaves and flowers.
At the end of our day, we stood in our circle and asked the garden spirits if there was a dragon that might like to come into our garden and indeed, said Fearn, there was! So we all toned a sound together and held the request for some yang energy to come into our garden. We also each got different ideas about what the dragon might like for us to put in the garden to make it more welcome: crystals, bee balm, feverfew, “things to make pie”(!), fruit trees. Good thing we have all of those things (especially rhubarb and strawberries for pie!) We’ll check back in using our pendulum next week to see if a dragon arrives…