We started planting in 2020. We spent all of 2019 observing the yard without touching a thing. Here’s some commentary on 2020:
Everyone says good riddance to 2020 as if time were not linear and we now lived in a new universe. But everything about last year is still with us, the scary and the transformational. Along with heightening and dangerous flexing of white power. This article on structures of power in the US is very good. As for 2020, I can’t help but be grateful in a way. I have been lucky; I haven’t lost anyone and my living situation has been ideal.
Something happened in 2020 that I thought would never happen—the world slowed down to my quiet, reflective, introverted speed. I don’t have to say no to things I have no energy for—because they just aren’t happening. In life before the pandemic, I said yes to most things and ground myself into exhaustion.
A taste of a slower world has shown me what is essential and what I am willing to decline. I am reevaluating whether my paying job should define me, or whether other things I do are equally important, and how to allocate my energy accordingly. Is it ok to spend time enjoying my life, and is that fair to other people? Or is unfair to others not to enjoy my life, because it turns me into a pinched, hollow version of myself who hides my gifts from the world?
Anyway, those are interesting thoughts about my life but this post is about plants so let’s get to it. We started planting in 2020. We spent all of 2019 observing the yard without touching a thing. In the summer of 2019, I started intently reading about fruit trees and permaculture design. I spent the winter planning the layout and by spring we were off!
What we did in 2020
One of our favorite permaculture guys, the smart but humorless Rob Avis said that “you’ll overestimate what you can do in a year and underestimate what you can do in five”. This gave me permission to enjoy the process of our project and accept what happened. Who knows where we will be in five years!
Drought may have killed our honeyberry shrubs? And maybe set back our apple trees? There was a big drought in June but the killer was the second one in September. We tried to follow the recommendations of permaculture books and devise a natural system for watering our plants, but it didn’t work out and we didn’t try again. We also didn't get irrigation. I must say that the technical aspects of this project do not interest us at all. It seems like we only want to deal with things that are alive.
Always, I hope that hearing about what we are doing inspires you to try something in your yard, or in a pot on your porch, or to join a community garden. If you have questions on how to get started or what to do with what you’ve got, don’t hesitate to ask. It doesn’t have to be a formal consultation unless you want one.
For 2021, we will put in a few more fruit trees, blueberry bushes, a grapevine (I’ve got to build that trellis) and a lot more herbaceous plants. I intend to go with the flow again, since you can never predict what nature will do. Here’s to living in the moment and appreciating what happens!