My animals, the insects, the pond, and tree and bush trimmings create a lot of organic matter. More than my Compost bins can usually absorb. I can funnel some of it into my garden beds for developing lasagna compost beds to grow vegetables and herbs into, but that still leaves organic matter. That’s why I have reframed Rick’s formal gardens as “The Carbon Sink” in the fall and winter. I can amend that soil with mulch and compost and get it back the following year.

Hydrangea and hornbeams along the allee. Jim Bruner | Mezzacello

Most people assume the Formal Gardens are there for s show — and they are not wrong. But in nature ecosystems rarely have one role. The same is true at Mezzacello. It’s not enough to be pretty; you also have to absorb waste and provide nutrients back to the larger ecosystem. Even the most beautiful bouquet of flowers will be compost eventually.

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