Rose Flower Essences, the Arbor Garden, Weeds and Mulch

It’s hard not to wonder what happened to June here at the farm. How could it go so fast? How is it July 2 with nary a post in June?

One reason June went so quickly was because most of the time I had my head down trundling a load of mulch to one garden or another. If May is about weeding and planting, then June is about more weeding and mulching.

Thank goodness I love weeding because it is my main activity in the gardens. Take for example the Red Shiso crop. The whole crew helped plant it this year and we had great germination.

From left to right, Vicki, Sydney, Elizabeth, Sam, a friend named Kimberly and Jen prepare the beds for planting the Red Shiso

Since then I have needed to meticulously weed through the baby Red Shiso plants three times already and the plants are only an inch or two high. I don’t mind spending this much time with the Red Shiso. In fact, I enjoy my hours tending it. After all, Red Shiso is our one indispensable crop. I am so happy that the crop looks so healthy and strong this year. Last year was a near endless battle with slugs.

Yes, I see the weeds I missed. I’ll get them next time!

Weeding is necessary everywhere, even in mulched beds. Crab grass is relentless. Big weeding projects this June included the three enormous Rose beds running along the backs of all the perennial gardens as well as the Rose Garden itself. These places always get weeded, but this year I tried to dig up every last crab grass root ( or so I hope).

What have I noticed so far? The deer now enjoy the pristine weed free spaces to stroll on as they seek plants I have forgotten to spray with Deer Off. Some days I think I should just leave my Deer Off garlic sprayer on my back to spray everything all day. (Yes, I suspect I smell of garlic spray all the time anyways- thank you deer!)

Now I am weeding my way through the section of the garden that begins with asparagus then moves on to raspberries then red and black currants then gooseberries finishing off with the blueberries. I have finished with the asparagus, raspberry and blueberries, leaving the gnarly center section of currants and gooseberries. For the record, I am about a third of the way through this part of the garden.

Photos of mulch are not very interesting, but here’s a shot of the mulch between the asparagus patch and the raspberries

I had 20 cubic yards of mulch delivered to the farm in two truck loads and most of that has been moved wheelbarrow load by wheelbarrow load to various well weeded gardens. Elizabeth gets all the credit for the blueberry patch mulch. After I weeded, she covered it in mulch. The blueberries are everyone’s favorite, so when I asked for help with the mulching, she was motivated.

Everywhere else I am the mulch hauler. Fortunately the mulch pile sits uphill from all the gardens so most of my runs are me controlling the wheelbarrow in a downhill run. Some routes contain a lot of twists and turns that keep me on my toes as I barrel along with my precious loads of native bark mulch.

I swear I am getting to more interesting photos.

Another reason June goes fast is that I need to make a lot of Flower Essences in June, especially from the Roses. I took the staff goddesses out on a Rose tour this week, and by the time I had finished showing them all the blossoming Roses, I am sure they were thinking that eventually every garden on the farm will be swimming in Roses. It is sort of like that already as this year I have even planted Roses out front of the vegetable garden.

Here is a new Rose planted outside the vegetable garden. Its name is Grace. I planted it for granddaughter, Grace, but it has proven to have a wonderful vibration and is now an Essence.

So most days see me carrying bowls of water to points all over the gardens to make Flower Essences, especially Rose Flower Essences as this is when they bloom with such abandon.

Sarah Van Fleet at her most sublime
Alex MacKenzie, such a friend right now as it offers support to have courage and fortitude
Goldfinch Rose, so restorative when we are friend from too much computer time. Will Baffin, a Rose in the Sacred Feminine custom mix, is in the background

One other thing which has been a bit of a project this month, especially for Jim, newly released from his eighth grade classroom, is the Arbor Garden. After thirty years of glory, the Arbor collapsed in a high wind. We knew it needed to be rebuilt this summer, but the wind confirmed this.

You can sort of see all the grapes on top of the collapsed arbor. It was sad to cut them back but had to be done.
Grapes removed, it was then time for Jim to remove the wood, one beam at a time. Cross beams had been removed by this point leaving just the heavy stuff.

By the time everything was cleared away, the garden was a big mess. It will now have a chance to recover its mojo in the remaining summer months. I have started to mulch it like crazy. Let’s just say, I am glad I made Arbor Garden Essence before the Arbor collapsed and when the garden was in its full May glory.

So heading into July, there will be more weeding, more mulching, more Flower Essence making and more stopping to smell the Roses. I hope your July is peaceful and full of Flowers.