When we first started out at the farm, the whole place was dominated by blackberries, bahia grass, cactus, and weedy laurel oak trees. The bahia isn’t so bad – the cows can eat it, and it isn’t thorny. But it seemed so monotonous. I missed my favorite little herbs and wildflowers. It stayed like this for a long time. I tried planting lyre-leaf sage and spiderwort, two plants that seem to thrive everywhere else, but they withered and died. The front of the garden was kind of a joke for Ethan and our former squatter, Miles.
It was when we had the chickens moving along the grazing lines, and finally the grazing animals, that seemed to make a break in the botanical monotony. They stirred things up. Scratch daisy came first, and then clouds of agalinis and daisy fleabane.
This spring I was charmed by the appearance of lush chickweed and cleavers in the garden, black medic and henbit among the rye. And although I have tried so unsuccessfully to grow plantain out there, now the second line is full of it, and it was practically taking over the garden. Lyre-leaf sage is spreading itself out the grazing lines, alongside a native skullcap. I feel so charmed and blessed. It’s like they moved themselves out there to meet me, so I wouldn’t miss them.