February, 2014 Archives

This winter has been an exceptional one for much of the country, with sub-zero temperatures and heavy snows. Here in the PNW, however, we have had a rather typical winter of rain and wind with occasional dips into the 20’s. Now, as February creeps slowly by, the rain has increased and the ground has become so saturated that stepping off of the beaten path results in sinking up to the ankles in mud. Up until January, I have been diligently toiling at my greenhouse landscaping project, but now the weather has driven me indoors to ponder my landscape design business restart. The next major element – paving stones – must wait for higher temperatures and less rain, hopefully in March.

Before and after shots from September and December are encouraging:

  September –  bare ground with weeds    January – stone path completed with some plantings

I am waiting until March, when I anticipate the chance of a deep freeze to be much less, to put out the ground covers and grasses that will border the path. Selections include red thyme, woolly thyme, winter savory, and California fuschia (Zauschneria california). The piece of square metal visible just past the Mugo pine will hold one of several cordylines that will add a directional emphasis to the scene.  In the background is my revised deer fence, intended for beauty as much as functionality.

Below the greenhouse, the plan is for a terrace garden that will put to use a barren hillslope where my horses once roamed:

Using the rototiller, I’ll break about eight five-foot wide terraces into the slope, and line each with a 12″ wall of stone laid over landscape fabric so I can avoid the weedy disaster that plagued my earlier work.  Another stone wall will line either side to create a contained area for growing flowers, strawberries, and tomatoes, leaving a path to the side for access between greenhouse and garden.

The idea is consistent with my desire to apply permaculture principles to my landscaping by putting most of the open areas into production. The area between the barn and garden, though shady in the mornings, may provide enough light for some shrubs and dwarf fruit trees. The garden will produce most of our vegetables.  I’ve also added cherry and plum trees to the existing orchard and hope to add a few medlars as well. The key to success, and to some extent the bulk of the entire effort, will be keeping the deer away with hundreds of feet of fencing.

 

 

 

 

Landscaping in a Northwest Winter