Comfrey, thyme, and a localnative called snake root surround this cherry tree. Thyme attracts beneficial insects and acts as an edible ground cover. Comfrey is a wonderful mulch plant. It pulls up valuable nutrients from the soil and makes large leaves that can be cut back and used as mulch. The snake root turns out to be a really great attractant of beneficial insects and can be seen covered in good bugs during the summer.
Plum Tree Polyculture The plantings around this polyculture are mainly sun loving, though this will change as the plum gets bigger and shades the ground below. Violets, wild strawberry, anise hyssop, bee balm and green headed coneflower are some of the plants. Some are edible, various wild strawberries will produce a small edible fruit and violet leaves and flower can be eaten. The coneflower, bee balm and anise hyssop flowers will attract beneficial insects to the garden that can help control plum tree pests.
Multiple Dwarf Fruit Tree Polyculture
There are four fruit trees along the top of the slope here. They are planted with helpful understory species. From what I remember, chives, French sorrel, echinacea and comfrey support hte fruit trees. Chives and sorrel are both edible, comfrey is a fantastic mulch plant, accumulating valuable minerals from deep in the soil and echinacea is beautiful, medicinal and attracts beneficial insects
Peach Tree Polyculture
This is my favorite! It still needs some more understory plants, but shown are wild columbine, chives, yarrow, garlic, and maybe milkweed. Wild columbine is a pretty addition to a fruit tree understory, especially when the fruit trees are bigger and cast shadow. Wild columbine thrives in shady spots and is delicate yet holds its space, adding color and suppressing weeds. Chives and of course garlic emit that wonderful garlicy/ oniony scent that can help to deter some garden pests. While yarrow attracts beneficial insects, is medicinal and accumulates valuable minerals.
Join me, Juliette Olshock, Seth Nyer and Jonathan Chen at "Edible Ecosystems Emerging: A 9-day Forest Garden Design Intensive" at Heartwood Institute, Garberville, CA June 24-July 3!
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