Monday, April 7, 2014

HAPPY HUES AND HUGELKULTUR

My very favorite color-mad wildflower combo was spotted the other day at my very favorite Austin garden center, The Natural Gardener.  


How gorgeous are these bright red poppies scattered amongst a sea of bluebonnets?


These guys were a special added touch.


Speaking of bluebonnets, what a year we are having! It's been a long, long time since I've seen them this lush. Check out this field near the entrance to our neighborhood -- the same one those donkeys, up there in my banner photo, were standing in.


That property has gone through several different owners and incarnations since we have been here. It started as the B&B dream of a young couple who then fell out of love. That little shed has housed tree-climbing goats and some very fluffy donkeys. Then it was leased out to some very hungry horses, until there wasn't a speck of green left in that field! Fortunately for us, it was finally purchased by a family with a vision.


At our last H.O.A. meeting, one of the usual suspects started griping about the "unsightly" piles of tree trimmings these people were accumulating around their property, which, fortunately for the new owners, is not a part of our H.O.A. Some people are rather short-sighted, a bit too concerned with the "Me & Now", but not this new family. When they first saw this property, did they see it as sad and forlorn? No! They saw it as a food forest, and they are using a technique called hugelkultur to help them achieve their vision.


Hugelkultur, used for centuries in Eastern Europe and Germany, is a permaculture-style practice that uses woody debris including branches, twigs, and logs as the base to form raised beds, rather than burning or removing them. The woody debris acts like a sponge, soaking up rainfall and releasing it slowly into the surrounding soil -- a major advantage in an area like ours, where we get most of our annual rainfall in two or three torrential downpours, where it races across one's property before it has a chance to soak in or do any good! Our neighbors have constructed a series of alternating planting berms and swales that gently lead the water where they want it to go, slowing it down in the process. I think they've already planted at least 20 or 30 food-bearing trees and shrubs on those back berms. Know what's even better? They've got baby goats! I LOVE baby goats!


All in all, if I had to choose between neat and tidy people, and those who are actually making, and doing, and living, well, the latter would win hands down.

Come to think of it, if you've ever been to our place, you probably knew that already, huh?

2 comments:

Corrine at sparkledaysstudio.com said...

Love seeing everyone's bluebonnets. Fab. We do hugelkulter here with birch tree logs because they suck up huge quantities of water and hold it like a sponge. Stack them, cover with compost and voila, garden. xox

Hill Country Hippie said...

I'm so glad to hear that! We have lots of tree limbs that got knocked down in the last deluge, and hubby has decided to use them as the base for a few decorative berms on our hillside property, just to slow the water down a bit whenever we do get some rain.