Friday, February 22, 2019

Cooking the Landscape

The steep bank across the front of the property is a typical Seattle feature. It was the very devil to maintain. One could mow one's toes or engage in an unrelenting two-fisted struggle with weeds that had backed themselves into the granite bunkers known as a rockery. I opted to copy the flowering road cuts on the Olympic peninsula, reasoning that Capitol Hill was urban enough.

The plan was to amuse the many tenants who walk by in the course of a day. I hired a fellow to strip the sod off the bank. Doing so exposed soil in pitiful condition. I broadcast Alaska daisies, dug in some native iris, and added a few miscellaneous imports before I committed entirely to native plants. The first four years of weeding were punishing. We cut the bank to the ground after it dried out and went to seed in late July. We mulched it with fallen leaves from the noble native hardwood shade trees across the street. Forty years on, the soil is so obliging that I can simply lift a weed whether the ground is dry or not. 

Last fall's layer of mulch settled in with October's rain. Recent snow set it in place, and recent flickers of sun promise to accelerate the composting process into visible morning vapors redolent of the burst of  spring to come. Last year's casual survey of bee species turned up five varieties, all buzzing and happy -30- 

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