This year there’s a lot of planning that I need to do in the garden, but unfortunately, there have been a few roadblocks. I had a really bad upper respiratory infection during winter break that knocked me off my feet for three weeks. In addition to that, I need to get my property line surveyed- but the surveyors are overwhelmed by requests, so that still hasn’t happened. Since I don’t know for sure where my actual property lines are, I can’t yet get started on the hedgerow I want to plant and that’s made it feel like I can’t do anything at all!

But, this year is a really big year for the yard- I’ll be planting a lot of my perennial vines, bushes, and trees this year, because we’ve now lived here for almost a year. Living in a place for a year before you start planting gives you time to really get to know it’s characteristics- micro-climates, soils, drainage, sun exposure, and more. It also lets you settle in and think about all the possibilities and begin to narrow down and focus on what you really most want to do with your yard.

For me, the most important uses of our yard are growing food, providing pleasant hangout space, and providing habitat for native animals. The food that I want to grow in the front yard will mostly be fruiting trees, bushes, and vines, which will hopefully be planted in a way that provides a sense of privacy from the neighbors, while also being welcoming, and creating good spaces in which to hang out, have picnics, and play in the yard. I also have to contend with the power lines that run right over the northernmost edge of the yard, so I can’t plant anything that gets too tall, and that the front yard’s soil is not nearly as rich as the backyard- and it’s wetter to boot.

My general idea is to plant the taller plants to the north edge of the property, and have the heights decrease as they travel south, so that I can maximize the amount of light each plant receives. I will also be planting shade tolerant plants, such as evergreen huckleberry and salal as a hedge along the west and east sides of my property, between us and our neighbors.

So in reality it will probably look like a row of fruit trees (max height 12 feet due to power lines), a row of shrubs, and then smaller pockets in the yard created by ringing them with vines and smaller shrubs. Through the row of fruit trees and shrubs there will be footpaths, and shade-tolerant fruiting plants will be planted in edges and pockets where I think they’ll have a good chance of growing.

Now it’s just time to select varieties that meet my needs- and for that I’ll be looking to Raintree Nursery, Burnt Ridge Nursery, and One Green World. These nurseries are a treasure-trove of helpful and interesting information and people, and they carry varieties selected for the Pacific Northwest.

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