Pairing with perennials
One of the more radical moves Taylor made when he first arrived at K-J was to add masses of perennials to attract pollinators to pump up the garden.
“As you can see, they bring in a diverse array of insects which help balance things, and there are also more birds in the garden now. There is a hole in that tree over there,” he says, gesturing toward a walnut in the distance, “and there is a bluebird that makes a nest every year. ”
Taylor also declares an “all-time favorite” among his perennials: Rudbeckia Goldsturm or black/brown-eyed Susan.
“It’s just a workhorse and once it’s established can take the drought and take the heat. And it just keeps on giving. After it goes through its first bloom, we’ll cut those off and it will burst out again,” he says.
Taylor has planted large masses of varieties that paint the borders of the neat in-ground beds with color. Among them is a swath of blue bachelor’s buttons with blossoms that are prized by some chefs. Other edible blossoms in the garden also sold as produce range from calendulas and violas to nasturtiums and verbena. All do triple duty, by adding beauty to the garden, nectar for pollinators and edible blossoms for the plate.
Taylor stresses it all comes down to soil.
“We consider ourselves soil farmers, since that is the foundation of everything we do,” he says. “We add a lot of compost. We rotate our crops and plant cover crops in the wintertime. As a result, we have nutrient-dense produce,” he says. In fact, 10 percent of the soil is organic matter, he adds.
Another bold move Taylor made was to remove some of the old English walnut trees. A wide path was cleared through the middle