Transformation is hard. Particularly in a culture that demands instant gratification. Nothing is more grounding for me than working in our yard. It reminds me that nature works at its own speed. This has been the way of things since the first nucleotides combined with amino acids. It will be this way long after I am gone.
I was thrilled earlier this week when I discovered several peaches on our tree. We planted it the first year we lived in our house. It’s taken four years to bare fruit, and I
could not be more excited. To me, this is a reward for continuing to do lots of work with little to no grand results. Sure, our annual vegetable garden does well each year. But every now and then I need a reminder that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
This peach tree is more than just a plant. It represents the last four years of hard work, planning, consideration, life changes and overcoming unforeseen obstacles. And I love it.
As it turns out, that ludicrous idea I had about trying to create my own fruit tree guild seems to have worked too. The last post about our garden had a photo of the rather barren mini-swales we dug around our planted trees. Those little hills have proven useful for planting squash. I’ve also seeded it with clover, yarrow, comfrey and lavender to grow into a beautiful, insect-friendly guild. We added some bee balm as well as phlox to help give it some early color. So far there is a mix of cantaloupe, zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers; roughly thirty plants in all I think.
You can’t see them, but on the right edge of the guild are trees that I planted last November. They were saplings, as in, they looked like tiny sticks with a root. There is a dogwood, a hawthorn and a crabapple tree. All of them are doing well. Much better than the other trees from the same bunch that were planted at the same time. Part of that is due to a lack of protection from nibbling wildlife and I take full responsibility. Still, others in the yard are doing well, if not taking a little longer to grow.
Against my wallet’s pleading, I decided to plant rhododendrons next to the blueberries in the swale at the south end of our yard. These plants love really acidic soil too and are excellent companions for blueberries. They’ve bloomed into a beautiful purple flowers (not pictured yet) that make the swale itself a little easier on the eyes. Now that both the blueberries and rhododendrons will fill in, I’m hopeful that entire swale will be full of fruit and color in another year or two.
We’re well on our way into another season of sweaty labor. But what better labor is there than that from which you can literally reap the benefits?