People often ask us what plants they should plant in their garden. We could rattle off a long list of our favorite plants and their many attributes. Here are some plant profiles as a start and there are so many more we haven't gotten to profile yet. However, it's difficult to recommend specific plants without a site visit and/or consultation, as we'd need a fuller idea of your growing situation and goals. We must acknowledge that garden design is a site-specific practice and what might work well in our space may not necessarily work in yours.
There are certain principles that you can apply when planning a design that suits your unique vision. We intend to make a more comprehensive guide in the future, but for now here are some tips to get started. We also host gardening classes from time to time, with a focus on permaculture, plant propagation, and seed saving. Join our newsletter for invites to on-site events.
Planning Your Garden Ecosystem
The first step is always to observe. Your space is a unique, fluid, ever-evolving ecosystem, and because nothing grows in isolation, we must look at it holistically. Be a mindful observer and consider:
Goals and intentions. What is your vision for your space? What is the vibe you are wanting to create? What kinds of activities are you hoping to do there? What kinds of things do you want to eat and grow?
Stakeholders. Consider those who live with you, but also others who are affected by your space -- the plants and animals, your neighbors, your family and community, etc.
Flows. How does the sun/wind/water flow through your space? How do the people and wildlife move through it? What are the different microclimates and how do they change throughout the day and in different seasons? Noting patterns that already exist and working with what the land wants to do naturally will make for a better garden design.
Factors that influence a space. These are things you can't necessarily control, but they're things you can design around. Every space is different. For example, in our case, we consider things like established trees and shrubs, cow neighbors, harvester ant colonies, street lights, neighbor activity, intense winds from the north, scorching hot afternoon sun in most areas, heavy clay soil, compaction and erosion issues, and frequent visits from deer, raccoons, armadillos, and foxes. Making a base map to scale where all your existing trees, structures, and flows are drawn in can be hugely helpful in this process too.
Once you've considered some of these things, you can start to design your garden around them. Implement small and slow solutions. Reassess, adapt, replicate what works well, and make tweaks as you go. 🌱