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So many options - where to start

 
Posts: 58
Location: Coastal Maine
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I'm looking for suggestions here, and while coastal Maine is zone 5b, I'm not against trying whatever folks think will work.  

My new garden area will be a bit like a one-sided hugel - I have a fairly steep slope along one side of the driveway.  As trees have fallen (lots of wind storms) and started to rot, I have been stacking the logs up that slope.  I have access to copious amounts of rockweed (breed of seaweed), evergreen brush, sawmill dust, wood ash and really poor dirt.  What compost we have been able to create from green table scraps goes into the pots for flowers or small veggies.

But his year we need to make things look nice - family wedding to be held there.  So rather than just bury the logs in dirt and hope that something I throw at it sticks and grows, I though I might get some suggestions from the more educated / experienced pollinators and growers on Permies.

The area on the slope will be about 20x60 feet, angle somewhere near 30 degrees sideways.  The long axis is nearly due south, but trees on either side of the opening block much of the light before 10 and after 3.

I'd like to plan for some "useful" flora, but we are besieged by white tail deer and the occasional porcupine.  I haven't seen any ground hog, but we suspect the red and gray foxes have a bearing on that population.

So, what can/should I plant to make the area pretty AND useful, that will look good summer and fall?

Thanks so much for ideas,
Randy
 
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Posts: 14155
Location: USDA Zone 8a
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Randy said, "I'd like to plan for some "useful" flora, but we are besieged by white tail deer and the occasional porcupine. ...

So, what can/should I plant to make the area pretty AND useful, that will look good summer and fall?



Rosemary. it is evergreen and smells wonderful.  Deer have never bothered mine.  I actually have cut it to put on a rose bush to keep it from getting eaten.

Deer don't like smelly plants and thorny plants.
 
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Hi Randy....i've used "crown vetch".....its great for soil erosion and the flowers are a beautiful blue.Christopher. p.s.Im in Boothbay
 
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Posts: 4212
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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I would throw down some white (dutch) clover or red clover and an annual wildflower mix.

These will look good, build your soil, and build up your native pollinator population.
 
Randy Butler
Posts: 58
Location: Coastal Maine
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Thanks for all the input!  Since I've lost about 30% of the rosa rugosa right at the shoreline, I figure anything that will grow there is better than letting the erosion go unchecked.  I will be transplanting a bunch of the rugosa from places they seem to be abundant (like the rhubarb garden).  But adding rosemary, clover and crown vetch might at least give me a little control!

Anne - While the rosemary and thorns may work for you, I guess I have aberrant deer - even at the peak of blooming, my four legged "friends" graze the entire length of the hedge!  According to local hunters, for our area, rugosa is one of their favorites!
 
Anne Miller
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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If deer are hungry enough they will eat anything.  

Maybe the rosemary didn't have a chance to get established.

Or it might be that as they eat the rosa rugosa they eat the rosemary by mistake.

If the rosemary was not established the deer will spit it out and since this is a shoreline, the rosemary just washed away.

What thorny plants have you tried?

If you are trying to stop shoreline erosion have you tried vetiver grass if it will grow where you live?

https://permies.com/t/20793/Vetiver

https://permies.com/t/26103/Feedback-vetiver
 
Randy Butler
Posts: 58
Location: Coastal Maine
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Had never heard of Vetiver grass.  Looks impressive.  My first concern was the deep root system - sounds ideal for erosion control, if only I had soil!  Yup, coast of Maine, good deep soil in my neck would be anything over two inches to bedrock. The salinity tolerance would work well, as it is the winter storms and extra high tides that are causing all the damage.  But I haven't yet found if it can be trimmed.  This would be right in front of the house and eight foot tall grasses would not improve the view!

Thanks Anne, I'll keep researching on the vetiver. Maybe there are different sub-species that are shorter.
 
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Posts: 262
Location: Western North Carolina - Zone 7B stoney
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When you mention steep slope, my thoughts go to suggesting Sepp Holtzer plateaus. I forget what he calls them, but he creates extra area to garden in.

He calls them terraces, and here's a video
 
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If you  want  to help with soil erosion,  I suggest using  colonizing the area with oyster mushrooms mycelium is a wonderful thing 😀
 
Randy Butler
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Location: Coastal Maine
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Hi Jamieson

Appreciate the feedback.  Afraid there isn't much hope for mushrooms - the erosion is the direct result of ocean water pounding the area in winter storms.  I haven't heard of many plants that will survive zone 5 with seawater incursions!  But I keep hoping!

Thanks again
 
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Location: Zone 6 in the Pacific Northwest
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A bunch of lupine would look beautiful for a wedding.

Deer don't prefer them, they thrive in poor shallow soil and are nitrogen fixers- so they would improve your soil for whatever you want to replace them with later.

You'd need to start seeds this year if you want flowers next year since they take a year to establish unless you buy big plants to begin with.

I have lupine trying to take over my wildflower bed so this spring my husband roughly tore some of it out of the ground and tossed it onto a rocky dead spot of ground. A month later it had got its roots into the ground and was huge and blooming!

They are usually purple but there are other colors available so you could even match the wedding's colors if you wanted to get super fancy. 😁

One last thing, someone has developed a variety of lupine with edible seeds so that could be even more useful but I bet that variety would be more appealing to deer than the regular kind.
Screenshot_20230717-103908-2.png
The many colors of lupine. I'm going to water water all the plants
The many colors of lupine. I'm going to water water all the plants
 
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