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Pru Phillips works as a volunteer at North Devon Hospice and in the permaculture garden at Tapely Park, Instow, North Devon. Tapely Park is a private country estate owned by Hector Christie. It describes itself as a 'sustainable stately home in the making'. Hector Christie has a strong commitment to conservation, environmental and sustainabilty causes.
Permaculture has as its goal the design of an integrated evolving system of perennial or self perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.
Permaculture is about regenarative policies that can restore global environments over time in aliving and changing way. This was the basic plan as seen by Bill Mollison who wrote Permaculture One in the 1978, since then many people have experimented successfully with this method of gardening.
A good example of this is Tapely Park permaculture garden run by head gardener Jenny Hayes. Everything in the garden is sustainable ( no F1 seeds) and every plant, soft fruit or trees are edible or medicinal.
Permaculture seems to embrace many sustainable and environmentally, kind to the soil, methods of gardening. Some parts of the garden have raised beds, others are no dig, biodynamic, organic and of course companion planting and a conscious effort to plant insect loving flowers etc
Permaculture has a strong explicit ethical base, but can also appear haphazard and messy. Look beyond that and it is a more relaxed way of gardening. Bill Mollison advises ” start with your nose, then your hands, your backdoor, your doorstep. If you get all that right then everything is right. If all that is wrong then nothing can ever be right. Obviously this method is not for all, but the food produced is unusual and sometimes a really new taste. Who would think frilly sprouts, stripey tomatoes, strange dark kale, edible flowers in salads would now be so popular.
This spring I am creating a small permaculture garden in my large vegetable garden, no more serried rows of carrots and onions! I will be in a good position to make comparisons of taste and productivity between the two gardens. Permaculture to me is a way forward to create sustainability and environmental awareness, a low carbon footprint and kindness to our earth. We have to push the boundaries of gardening. I have gardened biodynamically and organically for over 30 years and have had amazing results and I’m sure the same will be true of permaculture.
There are many different kinds of gardens and landscapes that facilitate health and wellbeing. The network embraces all projects and examples ranging from hospices, hospitals, care homes, clinics, prisons, community gardens, cancer centres as well as nature based therapeutic work such as Ecopsychology and horticulture therapy. Landscape is taken in its broadest sense, embracing the natural and designed environment, highlighting its many relationships to human health and wellbeing.