I visited our permaculture orchard early this afternoon. We’re having a thaw after a couple of weeks of hard freeze conditions. Last night and this morning, the rain has been plentiful. In the little video posted below, you will see:
hybrid plums and black currants and asian persimmon planted on the raised berm,
a swale catching melted snow and water running down the slope of the land,
black alder (Alnus glutinosa) which I planted in the swales because they tolerate wet conditions and help manage water, fix nitrogen and build soil fertility, provide early pollen to the bees (see those catkins?), provide habitat and food for many creatures, and can easily be coppiced,
wild perennial weeds (especially aster and goldenrod last fall) and grasses growing in the swale which stabilize the soil, help water to percolate into the soil, and provide food and habitat for many creatures, and
a 3-d deer fence in the background which allows most every animal to sneak into the orchard but is excellent for preventing deer from coming into the orchard and damaging/eating our plantings.
I, also, found this hardy character growing cheerfully in the rain! We planted plenty of rhubarb last spring once we found that we liked rhubarb mead so much. They are doing well!