garden design evaluation

What went well?

  • starting with a small, manageable area allowed us to gain some good experience
  • permaculture design process, design tools and input from courses and permaculture teachers greatly helped the design of the garden
  • doing two designs in one place and going round the design cycle again for the whole garden after a year of observation gave us
    • time to gather experience and information about the garden and garden design to create a better design
    • time to gain more skill in growing
    • more experience of using the design process, in particular deepening observation and analysis skills and tools, which made for a better design
    • the ability to see more connections in the garden and to make better placements
    • more experience in mapping and technical drawing
    • the satisfaction of seeing a design come together and work well
  • building the soil by raising beds and mulching really improved the soil
  • ensuring plant cover or mulch cover reduced the need for watering
  • using a bowl in the sink to collect kitchen water to water the pots on the kitchen/garden edge
  • beginning with the fruit trees and bushes in the design and implementation to be able to create plant communities around them and get them off to a good start
  • tight planting allowed for loss, good ground cover and abundance
  • creating plant communities with care for water, the soil, animal life, plant life and human needs led to a beautiful garden with earth care as its main aim nurturing the people in it
  • bringing in high quality local materials such as community compost, biodynamic manure, reclaimed wood for the beds and organic soil improver nurtured the garden
  • buying seed and plants from high quality suppliers further afield again nurtured the garden and we have healthy plants
  • tips from experienced biodynamic and permaculture gardeners gave reassurance and inspiration
  • the whole family involved in creating the garden: sharing our vision, building trellises, constructing raised beds, planting, harvesting and enjoying
  • tasty fruits, herbs and veg encouraging the children to forage in the garden on a daily basis

What was challenging?

  • feeling my inexperience as a gardener
  • relatively little experience in land-based designs
  • no experience in drawing maps
  • doing the heavy work, I relied on my partner and sons
  • the peach tree so badly affected with peach leaf curl, which we tried to move and then died
  • lack of water in the waterbutts in hot periods to water the whole garden
  • very cold weather in spring and very hot and dry in the summer of 2013
  • pruning and tying from books
  • getting into the garden year

What is my long term vision?

  • to be in the garden more and more

What are my next steps?

  • continue the implementation of the design: the woodland area and the wildlife homes and the workshop area
  • begin plant studies of the plants in the garden
  • begin collecting recipies for the plants in the garden
  • visit herb gardens
  • review and plan the garden year in the winter