Permaculture gardening – part 1 of 3

A couple of years ago I met Hannah Maloney, well known in Tasmanian permaculture circles, when I participated in a workshop devoted to composting. I was super impressed by her ability to enthuse, provide credible information and to educate. She was a powerhouse of knowledge and experience. Since then, I have heard others speak her name with enthusiasm and respect. Good Life Permaculture provides information about Hannah and colleagues.

Since then I have visited the Heemskirk Community Garden in Warrane a few times to help with weeding on a Permablitz; this is a work-in-progress garden that has been set up based on permaculture principles. Previously, I blogged stories about some visits which can be searched for on this blogsite.

More recently I remembered Hannah’s skills and knowledge and recommended her garden planning business to a couple of friends whose gardens needed reshaping or new work. Then a monthly newsletter from Good Life Permaculture popped into my email inbox with an advertisement seeking an assistant garden designer; one of my gardening friends said this was not for her and that her previous training with Hannah had focused on other activities. When I learnt another gardening friend was applying for the position I wished him well.

Meanwhile, the active Eastern Shore Permaculture group recently scheduled an open garden tour of a garden which is in development based on a plan devised by Hannah. I was fortunate to be able to attend.

I set out on a glorious winter day, with an expansive bright blue sky above and a smidgin of snow glistening on the top of kunanyi/Mt Wellington, to walk to E&S’s house block located nearby.

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Clearly I had found the correct address when I saw their front yard sculpted with swales, planted with new trees and covered in metres of mulch – it stood in strong contrast to the green lawns of neighbours. Once members had arrived, sanitised and been reminded to maintain social distancing, our attention was drawn to the basic principles of permaculture. We were encouraged to see that these principles, while applying to food gardens, have a much broader application.

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Our hosts E&S proceeded to explain that Hannah Maloney had designed their garden; we were pointed towards a professional, colourful booklet that showed and explained the plan. From there, we toured first the back, then the sides then the front gardens as E&S showed what they had achieved, explained their decisions and processes, and discussed future plans. This garden tour, on a sloping block, offered a rich and fascinating experience and one from which I learnt a great deal.

Out the back, the mixture of pathways and swales was carefully planned; the former designed to be wide enough for wheelchair access to the top of the block and the latter separating raised garden beds as holders of moisture.

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The garden beds were edged with wood from discarded pallets that S had methodically and carefully deconstructed. Later he gave a mini workshop showing how to remove the wooden planks from pallets with minimal breakage.

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The large herb garden was sensibly located close to the back door of the house for easy access. The blue flowers of the large borage bushes attracted bees and in so doing supported the growth of the herbs.

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Uphill were beds of green manure and beets and brassicas.

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An outdoor patio with fireplace, constructed from recycled bricks, concrete and stones, topped the block.  Eventually, a cover for the area will be built with the intention to allow colourful wisteria to grow and drape over for shade in the summer.

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In tomorrow’s blog post, you will see their worm farm, the extraordinarily impressive chicken coop and much more.

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