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rocky bed on bad soil illustrating an article about permaculturePermaculture intrigued me ever since I first read about it in a gardening magazine.

It particularly caught my attention because I have a ‘difficult’ rock filled garden.

Over the years I have done my best to implement at least some of the principles of permaculture in my own rocky meadow.

So what is permaculture?

Well, apart from a few weekend workshops, I have no training in permaculture but I have done a little reading on the subject.

The definition floating around in my mind was something around the idea of sustainable design for living and growing food – without damaging the environment.

The word Permaculture itself means permanent agriculture but in reality the principles of permaculture encompass a much wider ethos and set of principles than just sustainability.

To obtain and share a FREE 21 card set of the original permaculture ethics and principles click here.

home-grown vegetables illustrating an article about permacultureFrom my reading so far I have learned a little about growing food forests and plant guilds.

But what I lack is a knowledge of what constitutes a good design on which to start basing my planting decisions.

I have particular concerns about water. I worry about how the new water charges in Ireland will affect my garden and would love to design specifically to counter these problems.

But it’s not just about water. There are of course wider issues which also concern me and of which there is much more to learn.

But at the moment I am juggling a heavy work load and am struggling to barely manage the garden.

Despite living here two years, my accident, leg injuries and subsequent mobility issues delayed my progress.

I am currently mobile but I always feel like I’m in a catch up position.

Sometimes I really feel overwhelmed and I know I need more support and information than I can get from books alone.

With this in mind I recently completed a one day course in permaculture. The course was run by two people, Bruce Darrell and Davie Philip from  Cloughjordan – which is an Ecovillage in Tipperary.

Davie Philip also runs the Community Resilience programme at Cultivate.  and is a board member of GIY Ireland.

Davie’s definition of permaculture was broader and more inspiring than the one I had been thinking about.

In his article, ‘Learning From Nature,’ published online at www.cultivate.ie  Davie describes permaculture as:

‘An approach that takes us beyond sustainability to a truly restorative design for creating human habitats and healthy ecosystems. It helps us to protect and enrich soil, boost biodiversity and use natural resources in a healthy way. Underpinning this is the simple idea of working with, rather than against nature.’

herb path illustrating an article about permacultureAt the course he also talked a great deal about resilience – ‘to a world characterized by surprise and challenge.’

I found this hugely interesting. If we are to remove our blinkers and really focus on the facts of climate change, peak oil and all those other things we prefer to keep a blind eye to, then the idea of resilience has immediate appeal as well as a sense of optimism.

As someone who loves growing food this is a wider challenge than simply planting.

But…with limited time and resources I must focus on what I can do.

Most of my garden has been planted around permaculture principles but maybe not so much around design.

You can read about the process I used to create my first permaculture garden here.



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