The redbud bed, and zone 3B

The bed I planted the redbud tree (Cercis siliquastrum) in last year is coming along very well, so I thought I’d show what’s happening in that bed and that zone.

Most of the photo shows a Hills Hoist clothesline with live and dead grass underneath. Around the outer perimeter of the hoist is a garden bed.

You can see almost all of the zone from here as it curves around the clothesline. Tecoma tree to the right, redbud behind the line, grape to the left.

Zone 3B is one of my watered zones, but the intent is that it will eventually be irrigated with greywater. It’s not directly productive in the way that vegie beds are, but it’s not unproductive either. It’s planted with perennials and self-renewing annuals of various types, with room for me to add a few bits here and there each season should I wish. The zone curves around the clothesline, making a thick border along the fence and along the side of the old shed pad (where it’s also going to become a screen). The idea is that it marks a cool(er) place and space during the warmer weather, but also an area that’s bright, cheerful and ornamental much of the year. The plants in it have uses around the rest of the garden ecosystem, mostly related to helping attract good insects and repel bad ones.

Curving lines of different textures of plants - big flat silver-leafed cabbages, small bushy bright green basil plants, silver narrow-leafed pinks. All jammed together a bit randomly.

Such a small little corner, and not very well laid out – I’d rather have plants clustered but I ended up with lines by mistake. Redbud tree, purple-leaved basil, purple-flowered basil, red cabbage, bronze fennel, society garlic, pinks, golden sage, purple sage, purple alyssum, and at the back are some Black Pearl capsicum/chilli plants with variegated leaves (they help keep the couch grass from reinvading from next door).

The redbud bed is at the centre of the zone, and has a pink and purple flower colour theme over a tendency towards silver and purple foliage. It’s planted with, mostly by coincidence, entirely plants with edible uses, and almost all of which have edible flowers. While I didn’t plan that, a recent work conversation about selling edible flowers makes me think that this bed would become a good model for cluster-bed farming of edible flowers. The plants are working very well together and growing beautifully, and I could probably supply a single cafe with flowers and decorative garnish from that bed alone for 3-6 months of the year. A single cafe doesn’t sound like much, but the bed’s really quite tiny! It would fit almost anywhere, and would be easy enough to multiply out into a decent-sized distributed system. Right now the only flowers are the purple basil and the redbud itself, and I’m not sure if the redbud is meant to be flowering yet or if it’s having the same seasonal confusion I see elsewhere in the system and has started a couple of months early. In ten weeks though there will also be pinks, society garlic, sage and alyssum all putting up pink, white and purple flowers.

A curving garden bed along a standard backyard fence, about 1.5-2m wide.

This bed is a little narrow for the Tecoma but needs to be that shape so you can walk or run or gallop around the clothesline. Planted here are two different blue salvias, dyers chamomile, lemon verbena, golden marjoram and a golden yarrow. I’d like to plant more yarrow, chamomile and Mexican tarragon, and I am hoping that california poppies and parsley will come up from seed.

Elsewhere in this zone, I’ve got a deep/sky blues plus yellows and oranges colour scheme going on. There’s also a salvia connection – every part of the zone has at least one salvia or close relative. Between the redbud and the Tecoma tree is an area that typically flowers in late summer and autumn. I planted agastache there last year – both hummingbird mint and anise hyssop – and I’m sad to say it’s not survived, so I will try for that again but perhaps in a different part of the zone. The Mexican Tarragon was lovely and grew well but hasn’t made it through the summer seasons either, so I hope to replace it. There was parsley there for a year and a half which finally finished up this autumn, and I’ve been hoping it will reseed but have seen nothing yet. Aside from my blue salvias, what’s currently growing in that section is a lemon verbena, some yarrow, golden marjoram and a dyers’ chamomile plant (which I think I will pick up more of). My youngest child (three years old) also helped me plant a packet of mixed-colour California poppy seeds there yesterday to help fill in the spaces. I’m not sure how well they’ll do – the bed is a bit shady for them – but it was his pick of the seed packets so… hopefully we get a couple.

Two squares of garden, each about 1.5m x 1.5m, various bushy plants scattered in them.

The square to the left is still undergoing soil conditioning and won’t really be rehabilitated for at least another year. It has a couple of plants in it “for now” which will probably stay though – the Russian Sage and the lime verbena. Purple King beans are growing up the wire at the back. The square on the right is self-renewing garlic at the front, bronze fennel at the back, and a grapevine rescued from a friend’s backyard that was being bulldozed to put in a unit behind. I hope to try the grapes next season but know it might be the season after.

On the other side of the redbud bed is a red-fruited grapevine in the middle of a perennial garlic patch, with the beginnings of my tall screen behind it. There’s bronze fennel forming part of the screen for now and I’m hoping that seeds throughout the bed and chooses its own spots. Next to the garlic and grape bed is an area where the soil is still being formed and will need some good work perhaps around next autumn, but which does have some plants in it. In particular a lime verbena, and a Russian Sage. Also, the screen continues with Purple King bean vines climbing up the wire – fewer than I’d hoped, but I had some issues with seedlings this year. OK, I have issues with seedlings every year, but this was the first year I lost seedlings to the cat jumping into the seedling box and being too fat to get out again. (She is now on diet biscuits. Diet, I tell you!!!)

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One Response to The redbud bed, and zone 3B

  1. Pingback: Bunuru, or secondsummer | AgriTapestry

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