Wednesday, May 1, 2013

After the flood - the herb garden

We have had several warm and sunny days so I finally dragged myself out to the garden patch to see what it looked like now that the flood waters have receeded.

In some places there is just a lot of dirt and mud deposited that makes the plants in the hills and rows look non existent   There are plants there, they are just the same color as the dirt so you can't see them in the photo.  I was going for the ghost plant look but the photos do not do it justice.

In other places there is the deposit of what looks like straw but is actually grasses, probably river grasses.  I went through with the rake and pulled it away from the plants, but I have not raked it all out yet.  These are the ornamental flowers or moth repellent herbs: yarrow, wormwood, artemesia.  It was soothingly fragrant to do this raking.

I raked out a few of the drier areas careful to leave anything green, but I swear these look like sweet peas which I have never grown in this garden so I'm not sure what is going on in this corner.  This is where the annuals grow and normally by now I have cilantro and dill volunteers from last year that are popping up.  I think they were all washed away.

This is what I mean by that river grass.  It is like a thatch that is caught in all the fencing and any place where it would be snagged while flowing through with the swift moving water; like this staked area I have around the tarragon.  Tarragon comes back from the root and there were a few small soldiers popping out of the ground once I cut the string and pulled away the thatch.

From a distance everything looks like grass, but you can see the rows and the path and the plant s turning deeper green, so the restoration is beginning.  I think most of my hills were leveled, shortened and in some cases washed out.

Raised Beds
I use a style of raised bed that does not need walled sides.  I created it by digging out dirt in long rows and piling the dirt up.  Then I plant the plants in the tops of the rows of hills.  It makes weeding easier and you can add more soil and compost toppings while targeting the actual plants rather than treating, watering or fertilizing the spaces between the plants.  It is also a great way to conserve water.  In some cases I covered the hills with wood chip mulch to preserve the moisture.  That mulch is all gone now.  I am sure someone else is raking it out of their garden.

It is still too soon to tell how many of the perennials have been lost.  The sage looked so sickly that I did not take a photo so it could preserve its modesty, but there were two new green leaves on the very ends of the upright stems so I think it will come back.  The thyme beds were thick with mud and debris and I worked on them first.  I was impressed that these low growers seemed to be less damaged.  I guess the water just flowed over them rather than depositing debris in their stems.

Here are my littlest thyme plants all safe and sound.  The big ones need a washing, they are suffereing from mud.

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