While exploring the gardens of the south meadow, you will discover the following:
Ditch Hügels: The entrance to the south meadow garden is bridged by a series of rectangular hügelkultur beds. Hügels are carbon capture raised beds constructed from mycelium rich decaying wood debris and overturned turf from freshly dug garden beds. Hügels improve soil fertility, retain water and provide soil warming for a longer growing season. The hügelkultur beds solved a particular situation which was the collection of water in this particular area. The hügels collect that resource during periods of peak abundance and with the absorption of water then use that moisture sustainably on drier days. Our hügels also provide a warm composting home to many a garden critter.
Scarlet Beebalm: Humming Birds love bergamot (beebalm) and so do we. The two-tiered flowers are beautiful and the leaves are fragrant making a lovely tea.
Stinging Nettle: Cultivated for about as long as humans have cultivated anything, stinging nettle is a super food containing a wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Harvested prior to its flowering for a yummy Nettle Pesto, stinging nettle is also harvested after it has seeded for use as a heavy-duty pumped-up fertilizer. Please do not touch the nettle because it stings prior to boiling.
Native Trail Tree: A sugar maple sapling was shaped possibly a century ago to be an Indigenous Native Canadian marker tree. This marker tree points towards a grove of leatherwood shrubs and beyond it, Miller Lake.
Compost: Behind the trail tree is the compost area. Compost accelerates soil building and is used to bring forth robust growth. EM (Effective Micro-organisms) and compost are added to the soil to create a friendly environment for microscopic fungi and bacteria. These tiny creatures have a symbiotic relationship with the plants. The micro-organisms bring rich minerals directly to the plants’ roots in exchange for the sugars they seek for their own consumption.
Roses and Sunflowers: Strolling west down the length of the garden, are the roses, sunflowers, and hostas. A variety of other garden flowers can be discovered including lupins and hollyhocks.
Comfrey: The three main fertilizers we use are stinging nettle, EM (effective organisms), and comfrey. All three of these are made in large batches as concentrates. While some comfrey will be harvested as fertilizer to boost the flowering of garden plants, other comfrey plants will be left to flower themselves. Stinging nettle helps a plant’s growth, comfrey helps its flowering, and EM is effective bacteria made from rice and milk for overall good plant nourishment and health.
Hay Road Hügels: The first hügel built at Leatherwood Garden runs the length of tractor wheel troughs. Found between the roses and the hostas, its foundational logs poke out from under mounds of sod and soil. Hügel strawberries join a mixture of crop including kale, soya, chilies, and more.
Tomato Patch: A variety of tomatoes are tied with twine to keep their heavy heights and load off the ground. Other garden fruits and vegetables are huckleberry, tomatillos, garlic, and more.
The Ruins: High winds on the Bruce Peninsula bring many a shipwreck. Four dead trees were joined by a hand-knitted garland around a vernal pond. The wind blew one tree over and the other three attached went down with it. Our interaction with nature created a chain reaction. Traditionally gardens have had ruins. Our ruins come to us from toppled dead trees pulling on taut hand-knitted garlands. Within the ruins are traditional cottage tiger lilies, marsh marigolds and bulrushes.