[permaculture] temperate low hedgerow guild for spring inundation and dry summer in sun?

Paul Cereghino paul.cereghino at comcast.net
Sat Jan 27 22:19:35 EST 2007

A sound leading...

>are both based on opinions and belief systems not facts
>or reality; they don't seem to contribute to permaculture design
So back to reality...
I am propagating and purchasing for several microsites for this years 
growing season, and am LOOKING FOR SPECIES SUGGESTIONS for the following 

SETTING: Coastal temperate, 100 feet above sea level, ~46 degrees N 
latitude, USDA zone 8 (bit of a frost pocket), silty loam soil, 50 
inches rain a year mostly from fall to spring with 5 months drought 
common. I am adding complexity to a roadside ditch (soils not compacted) 
that gets inundation for 3-7 days following heavy rain due to surface 
runoff, but with no real groundwater driven hydrology and full sun there 
is real potential for serious dry spells in summer. soils are currently 
poor. It is SW of the main vege garden (hence low height and pole 
production) and will fade into a lightly irrigated orchard area (support 
for beneficial insects would be good - doubling as cut flowers is better).

PROBLEM: I have gotten a little curious about the combination of low 
oxygen soils during the early growing season (particularly in wet 
years), but followed by drydown, and potential drought... no irrigation 
for this area and we can have 5 month without measurable precipitation. 
I have never found a good plant list for this hydrology, and am not sure 
what can take the bouts of standing water during that spring growth 
spurt while remaining competative under the summer drought. Lots of 
creeping bentgrass to struggle with (Agrostis stolonifera (=A.alba)).

CONCEPTUAL DESIGN: zone 2 1/2 - 3 ish, hedgerow+coppice, deer barrier, 
no irrigation, max height around 15 feet (to protect vege garden light), 
plenty of woody mulch available. I am considering some subtle earthwork 
to increase capture and percolation of surface runoff into a series of 
step pools which would accentuate this spring wetness, and so am trying 
to flesh this intermittent spring pool guild idea, am chewing on 
exagerating high spots and low spots in some kind of 
micro-springtime-chinampas thingy to create more niches. Any ideas to 
beneficially alter this microclimate are also of interest.

The current plant list is something like this:
(+ = primary, o = secondary, - = minor)
+ native willow (Salix scouleriana) for fiber, osiers, poles, medicinal
o native nootka rose (Rosa nootkana) for hips and thorny barrier, 
rhizome propagation.
o native lupine (L. rivularis?) for nitrogen, insects, flowers, 
restoration seed.
o alder intercrop for short term soil improvement, slashed in year 3 for 
o native camas (Camissia quamish) - carbo bulb, nice flower.
o nettles (Urtica dioica) - fiber, vege, butterfly host
- native cascara (Rhanmus purshiana) for medicine (coppices well but no 
weenie roasts.. its a good laxative)
- mt ash? (Sorbus sitchensis) for forage preserves
- ornimental willow for florist pussies (S. gracilistyla or S. discolor?)
- native black gooseberry (Ribes divericatum) for nibbling fruit and 
thorny barrier

Thanks in advance for all your ideas and words of wisdom.

Paul Cereghino, Olympia, WA

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