There was a lot of touring of the farm and then we walked back to the house along the base they had dug out of the extra soil, past the vegetable garden, where corn, peas, lettuce, courgettes and other vegetables were growing in neat little boxes framed with old metal.
We returned past the house, stopping at a small plant near the milking shed that glistened in the afternoon sun. “Oh, it’s Prairie Shining Star,” I said. Dan shook his head in disagreement. We briefly discussed how it grows along ditches and forest clearings in Texas. Planted here are Sporobolus heterolepis, which grows well for me, and Bouteloua gracilis. In the background are Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ and giant fennel. They rose over the third sink, softening its hard edges.
Then we walked up the steps and posted the parked car onto a long linear grassy path that stretched between the roadside hedge and their perennial garden. Dan talked about the history of the space. They established their first vegetable garden here and tried plants like ground elm and various asters to get a feel for what they would do on site. A selection of plants are being planted, all with aster waiting to emerge in autumn underneath the foliage.
Dan paused for a moment, bent down and pulled some weeds along the edge. I asked him about mulching and he said he used a lot of it. He commented that some of the weeds were growing back into the bed. I said, “Well, everything looks great,” thinking I hadn’t seen the weeds yet, and in typical gardener fashion he did.
About midway through the hedge, a path to the garden appeared and we stepped into the middle of the plants and found ourselves surrounded by cool pinks, purples and blues, surrounded by a sea of green textures.