Gardening is one of the best hobbies. Even with a not so green finger there are enough plants that just love to grow no matter what. One seed into the earth, some care-taking and whoooop hundreds of seeds or leaves or fruits or flowers. Some snapshots of the last season.
Salad from beet root and zucchini with borretsch and nasturtium (Kapuzinerkresse) flowers
Porridge with red currant and blackberry – great jams too.
Sunflower seeds – pure or roasted
Apples and pears in all shapes and tastes.
Blackberries and red currants. Fire beans and tasty wild tomatoes (green & yellow)
white, black and red currant. red and green gooseberry.
herb pesto and nasturtium.
the tastiest radish ever
flowers as gifts, for teas, for bees or just for the eye and nose
Insects pollinate flowers and regulate pests – it’s part of a natural cycle. Creating a habitat for a diversity of plants and animals supports this cycle (let nature do the work, she is more experienced with keeping a balance).
If you have trouble with aphids – commonly known as vine louse – you don’t really have an aphid problem, you have an earwig and Co. problem. Or rather a deficiency. By creating a habitat for these insects you can support biological pest control.
A really simple version of an insect hotel is build with a ceramic pot filled with straw and covered with a potato or onion net.
Hang it up on a tree or you balcony and talk about it!
In this series I would like to reflect on nature as a source of inspiration. There is diversity and abundance in nature – daily creation and transformation – in cycles, in motion, in patterns. Nature provides food for the belly but also food for thoughts.
Nature is a magical muse
Observing the ocean your mind drifts away staring at the water.
Reflecting on the past, planing for the future: Was that the right decision? Where should I go next? The sound of the waves brings your attention back to this very moment – The present. The salty smell of the ocean blows away all thoughts and clears the mind. Focusing on the breath, on the moment.
Taking time and focusing on the moment are key to observation. To hear, see, smell and feel a place from different sides. With no rush or to-do-lists pending.
Observation is like a meditation on nature
A meditation requires patience but is rewarding. Especially with nature as a mediator. Sensing the elements has grounding effects letting go of fears and worries. What does really matter?
In meditation mind and body by observing the breath. With this aware, clear and focused mind new combinations of the old can arise – Ideas are born.
For anyone interested in sustainable design of gardens and other human-environmental ecosystems I can recommend this free Permaculture design course www.permaculturedesigntraining.com.
Permaculture offers practical techniques to find sustainable solutions and promotes creation rather than consumption.
PermaWHAT? The word derives from Permanent Agriculture and was coined by Australian Bill Mollison and Japanese Masanobu Fukuoka. A fundamental aspect of Permaculture is observation and designing with nature. Some call it “edible landscaping”. Others include urban structures and housing as well as social aspects of community management (e.g. non violent communication). It is a holistic method – but you can pick and choose also and it is much applied in creating gardens. Well that is how it got me started – It really makes sense and has the tendency to inspire other parts of your life. I started off with a herb spiral in my own garden, took the online course and am now going to participate in a community project for rural food security in Madagascar.
Now back to the course: There are around 40 video lectures with different teachers on designs, patterns, plants, climates, soils and water. These will give you an idea about gardening the Permaculture way. One method presented is e.g. a plant guild which is a form of polyculture with plants of different function, size and needs (rather than monoculture where there is just one plant prone to diseases and soil degradation). Those plants exchange nutrients, attract pollinators, improve the soil and provide food. This is basically a way of imitating nature patterns – just that the plants are edible and at your doorstep. There is a beautiful free ebook on plant guilds e.g. the walnut guild here www.midwestpermaculture.com. Permaculture makes you look at nature in a different way.
Design to harvest sunlight.
Diversity of plants, local focus, resilient systems, perennial species and use of edges are some of the key principles. The other 40 course videos are on greywater system, housing, social permaculture, urban applications and offer some site visits. There is also a forum to ask questions and for those interested can take a test and get an official PDC certificate.
Permaculture sums up indigenous knowledge and many techniques where practiced by former advanced civilizations like the Mayas or Inkas. Nowadays the internet facilitates a global knowledge exchange and network. Be inspired.
Start creating abundance!