Some of the best indicators of spring are perennials. When I came to the farm, there were well-established patches of rhubarb, blueberry bushes, and some daffodils, lily of the valley & purple iris around the house. I admit, I used to be a bit envious of folks who had gorgeous displays of flowers in their yards. Dan was always quick to remind me that these people had invested years in creating such a display...or landscapers did it for them. So, over the years I've planted things that add beauty to the farm, but also have purpose beyond just looking pretty. Planting a variety of flowering plants that bloom at various times over the year attracts pollinators, which in turn make the garden more productive. Once established, most perennials will spread, so when I thin them out I can either plant more or offer some for sale to our farm stand customers. Herbs can be sold fresh, or dried for sale or for my own kitchen. Heirloom seeds can be saved, and I can be a part of preserving the genetic diversity of our gardens and flowerbeds.
It's a joy to me to walk around in the spring and see things starting to sprout. It's absolute confirmation that the worst of winter is behind us, and another season of fresh food is nearly here. As I make my rounds these days, I'm seeing perennial herbs like oregano and chives; flowers like lilies, hollyhocks and daffodils; and a beautiful crop of heirloom garlic all showing signs of new growth. Before long, things like lemon balm, mint, purple coneflower, and bee balm will follow suit. Last year was probably the first year I was able to look out and feel like I'm really making a difference and seeing the years of digging around in the yard really starting to look like the picture I'd like it to be. I've planted lots of things, and they are growing & coming back the next year. I get periodic compliments on how nice the farm looks, and I take great pride in that. Like anyone else, I want my home to be beautiful. But I also realize people make assumptions about a place based on appearances- and honestly, do you want the farm that grows your food to look like a postcard or a junkyard?