Gardens are now in the fall season, and with winter around the corner, I enjoy looking back and reflecting on the gardening period that has quietly slipped into a restful phase. With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to Diane’s garden in this third and final installment of the “Friends in the Garden” series.
Diane loves living a life of sustainability while nurturing nature in her one-and one-third-acre garden. She plans her garden to yield outcomes that often have dual purposes. She enjoys propagating volunteer plants that come up, adores all of the bees in her yard, and can be found grazing on edibles while outside. Her favorite flower is the daisy because it’s happy.
The style of this plot is low maintenance with an unstructured naturalized result providing as many edibles and natives as possible to feed her household and the surrounding wildlife.
Herbs are a favorite, and a myriad of them are found throughout this pleasantly wooded space. Some of them include pineapple mint, spearmint, peppermint, catnip, fennel, nasturtiums, sage, rosemary, lovage, lavender, parsley, and sweet woodruff.
The variety of berries on the premises — blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and huckleberries — all provide a wonderful treat that’s shared with the furry and feathered friends.
Other plants of notable interest include bay leaf, comfrey, hawthorn (which has berries in the fall), Oregon grape, various sedums, love-in-a-mist, feverfew, lipstick plant, pansies, and violas, to name a few.
The goal for trees on the property is to produce nuts and fruit for people and wildlife. Fruit trees that have been planted include six young apples, one cherry, two nectarines, a Santa Rosa plum, and a wild plum. Future varieties will include hazelnut, maple, and oak for the seeds, nuts, and acorns. Two living Christmas trees bought years ago are now growing and thriving in the yard.
Birds are especially favored and loved by Diane’s husband. He has built flat feeders that border several windows, creating a perfect front-row seat to birdwatch up close. The hulls and shells from the birdseed provide excellent mulch and fertilizer in nearby beds.
A massive ongoing and time-consuming project is the reclaiming of the backside of this property. Rock stairs were built leading down to this level. In addition, the area has been cleared of blackberries and ivy and is now planted with low-maintenance understory plants.
Another undertaking has been tree propagation. Last year, twelve fir trees were started, but the squirrels got to several of them. Of those that survived, some will be planted on the property. The rest will be included, along with volunteer cedar starts from their yard to be donated to the Cove in Normandy Park. Diane and her husband are involved with Stewards of the Cove and plant the plants themselves.
There are upcoming plans to install barrels or cisterns to collect rainwater. Also, since only natural biodegradable soaps are used in the home, putting gray water to use is a consideration.
With a love for all things sustainable, Diane has achieved an almost zero waste home and yard. Items that can’t be picked up curb-side go to companies such as Ridwell and TerraCycle. She has the smallest garbage receptacle offered, and it has rarely ever been filled.
It’s been wonderful getting to know Diane. Her home and yard are a warm and welcoming environment. I got to stop by recently and see how things were going. With the onset of Fall, there are abundant berries and rosehips, along with soot and birdseed — it can truthfully be said that the outdoor residents are quite happy.
In concluding this series, I’d like to thank the three ladies that I interviewed for so graciously working with and welcoming me into their spaces. I hope that in reading this series you have been inspired to get to know a friend who gardens. There are so many things that can be done with each other such as trading seeds and garden tips, touring each other’s yards, or simply having tea or a picnic in one of your cozy outdoor spots.