Monday, December 11, 2017

Garden Report: Katherine's Water Drop Shaped Hugelkultur Bed

Daughter Katherine loves flowers. 
The Water Drop hugelkultur bed is dedicated to Katherine and will be covered in flowers.

The Water Drop is tucked in beside her sister's feather-shaped bed.
They are both partially under the canopy of a Douglas-fir and in the first spring, they were planted with their lower canopy trees. Katherine's is a white flowering pear tree.
Comfrey has been planted around the base to both build up the nutrients in the soil and to hold the soil in place.

Katherine's hugelkultur bed is water drop shaped because she studied fluid mechanics and works at managing the flow of water on the land.

A garden bed full of flowering plants can become a magnet for insects - an insectary.
"Not only will insectary plants improve your garden's health, but the flash  and shimmer of multicoloured buzzers and flutterers will both delight the eye and attract many varieties of birds to eat them, further increasing your yard's biodiversity." Gaia's Garden a Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway, p. 109.

Katherine's favourite flower colours are pinks and whites so I added that to the plant list criteria.
Almost any pollen or nectar producing flower will attract pollinating insects needed to set fruit and seeds. Predator insects are needed to gobble up unwanted bugs. I needed to find a variety of different types of plants to attract many different insects to this bed.

Another design goal was to have something flowering throughout the year.
These chives are pushing the colour scheme into purpley pinks and are something Katherine remembers helping to deadhead when she was very young. They are an early spring bloomer providing nectar when there is little else flowering in the garden.

A fall bloomer is this Autumn Joy Stonecrop Sedum that can be covered in different types of bees when the sunny days are getting shorter.

Behind the Liatris and Echinacea/Cone Flower is a Russian Tea (Camellia sinensis) plant forming the shrub layer in this ecosystem. It fits the criteria having masses of white flowers from September through to January as long as it gets enough hours of sun. This bed is south facing but our winters can have many cloudy rainy days so we will wait to see how much it flowers. 
It thrives in slightly acidic soil conditions which is a good thing with the bed being under the Douglas-fir. 
Bonus features are it is a nitrogen fixer to the benefit of plants around it and one can make tea from its leaves. 

It is the early stages of developing this Water Drop hugelkultur bed...

...while I have this picture in mind of Katherine with her wedding flowers.

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