Everything is good out here. It’s only a year since planting our first trees and seed, and two years since letting the lawn and existing plants go a little feral, and already everything is abundant. Insect and plant diversity has increased, and I’m sure larger animals will follow. It is unexpected how quickly something like this will yield rewards.
We walk around our yard multiple times a day, when possible, just to see what’s happening. Often, we come inside and say “everything is good,” because there are so many wonderful things happening. Here are some of the things that are good:
The collard patch overwintered so we have greens all the time. The collards and kale are going to seed, so I’ve chosen my favorites to allow to flower and seed.
The dogwood tree is blooming a beautiful reddish pink. I used to hate this tree because its leaves turned red in the fall long before other trees did, reminding me early that winter was coming, but I’ve changed my mind.
The rain barrels are full from the storm a few days ago so we feel a sense of abundance. (Actually, I started this list two weeks ago and by now the barrels are empty. But its still fun to catch rainwater!)
The daffodils are blooming, almost to the point of being extra. We planted a circle bulb-to-bulb around each tree to protect the tree cambium from voles. I recommend a mix, because then you get a huge variety of flowers and longer bloom.
The time of year has arrived when I can bring a little bouquet of flowers as a gift anywhere I go, now until November. It’s an unintended joy that came from doing this project. And only some are flowers that we planted, many just came up on their own when we let things grow.
Nothing died last year during the June and September droughts when we were not too good about watering! We absolutely did not give our trees the inch or whatever they need per week. They still seem fine?
Native bees have built their various kinds of egg packs in our bee house.
A poof of insects flies up when I water anything, and many scuttle away when I pull back any leaves. I have no idea what any of them are, or what they do, which is a wonderful reminder of the mystery of everything.
We ate Hosta shoots for the first time and they are like asparagus.
Asters and goldenrod are coming up, and spreading. They look like this:
Everything is good but not everything is perfect:
Those asters and goldenrod are aggressive! I’m growing lots of other meadow plants from seed and I hope they’ll be able to compete.
Sparrows have moved in to our birdhouses. I debated for a while about whether to remove their nests and plug the holes as some websites recommended doing. In the end, I decided against it. If I came home and my house was covered in cement and I couldn’t get in, I would be despondent. And animals feel emotions too.
Just now, as I was lying on the deck in my makeshift nature-watching bed, a sparrow landed near me with something in its beak and left it there. It was a dead bug. Why didn’t it eat the dead bug? Was it a thank-you present for letting him live?
But I also made Adam go out and buy a wren house from the Fat Robin (I’m working during their store hours) and a wren moved in the very next day. I’m watching wren antics that I don’t understand.
A mockingbird has migrated to live around us. There is a healthy population in New Haven, and there were some that lived around our old apartment, so it’s nice to have a mockingbird around again. (Oops, that falls in the “Everything is Good” category)
Slugs ate the vast majority of the seedlings I planted in the front garden in April. (But not broccoli raab. No one likes it). I’ll save myself the trouble next year and plant only seeds there, and save my lovingly tended plantlets for containers.
The grass is growing so much it needs mowing already?!
None of the cover crops we planted winter killed! Radish was supposed to die and leave the soil nicely aerated, but it’s all bouncing back. Even some oat grass survived our lowest winter temps. I cant remember if our winter ever dipped below zero.
Which is of course a reminder that our world is changing, and we have to adapt. We can use our yards and the land around us to grow some food for ourselves and shrubs for wildlife. Can we grow all our food or house all the wildlife? No. That’s not the point. It’s about doing a little bit, and getting a lot of enjoyment out of it. Plant a persimmon or paw paw tree. Plant some raspberries. Let the oak seedlings that sprout in your lawn grow up. We are not helpless in the face of everything that is happening to the environment, nor is it too late to do something.