I'm relieved that there is snow on the ground again. After an unusually warm period, it's a comfort.
Last fall I made about a $5000 investment in biennials who are supposed to bloom this spring, giving us a boost of beauty between the tulips and the agrostemma.
While the ground was thawed last month, I visited those plants (whose ranks include delphinium, yarrow, foxglove, campanula, and about a dozen varieties of rudbeckia). They were all looking quite well, except for the delphinium. At least 80% of those plants seemed to have rotted away into nothing.
The bright side of this is that therein opens a bit of ground that is all ready to be planted with some early excitement.
That area (the east side field, with its early light) will also be home to the earliest direct-seeded cosmos, calendula, and others. The spot where the delphinium were planted is directly under the big catalpa tree, and get quite shaded by the time summer gets going. In 2016 the ammi I planted there suffered from lack of sun and water both - though it's shady, it's also quite sandy and thirsty.
2017's drip irrigation installation, made possible through the NEIdeas award Fresh Cut got last year, will make that area as productive as it can be, by keeping it well watered even throughout the summer, when the catalpa's canopy redirects all precipitation in its path towards its own trunk. We can hardly begrudge it this water, as it provides us with such fleshy leaves, dramatic white blooms, and artistically rendered seed pods. As if that weren't enough, at the base of this particular catalpa lies a bed I'm sure you've noticed, a raised bed created lovingly by Fresh Cut crew member Shelbie, lined at its sidewalk-edge with a beautiful collection of river stones that must have once landscaped the home that once lived in that lot.
This small spot that the delphinium's absence provides may be a good location to experiment with annual production of some types of ferns. I'm particularly fond of the 'blue rabbit's foot' (I believe it's phlebodium pseudoaereum) fern and would love to practice growing it here.
The farm is home to so many unique tiny environments, whose light, rain, wind, and other natural resources vary so much. The facts of how humans have interacted with each square foot influences what is there now. Sand fill, to broken concrete alleyway, to deeply rooted antique apple tree.
Within the balance of forces we cannot influence, and the legacy of what came before us, and the impact of what we do each moment... that's where we all live.