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.
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.
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.
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.
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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