Nature

Dark matter and stardust

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I love it when black hollyhocks appear, having self-seeded. It’s like having Edgar Allen Poe or Neil Gaiman popping in for a cup of tea. Sometimes, they cross with other hollyhocks, and appear more of a dark purple. The darkness can be variable each year, so when you get a true deep black emerging, it […]

Growing food

Backyard permaculture – pre-design thinking

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Now that I’m half way through my Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) theory, I’m about to take a really good crack at some intentional design in terms of applying permaculture principles in an average sized garden. Below,  is the layout of the productive backyard that we now have after five-six years of ad-hoc design with permaculture principles in mind, […]

Ecology

Hyper-linked

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In the breath-held beauty of night, every leaf seems paused as if painted in still life, branches striking shapes, shadow-shifting in the moonlit corners of my sight. Crickets sing a rhythmic chorus under the waxing glow of gibbous moon, inciting beetle feet to tread their forests of towering grass blades. The dance of Diplopoda feet, […]

Permaculture

PDC – Permaculture Design Certificate

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After taking a short one-day course on permaculture design in 2006, I’ve been pining to explore formally studying permaculture again, but this time, to go deeper. Ideally, that would look like signing up for a two week intensive residential course on a permaculture farm somewhere, in the traditional way, learning with a bunch of other enthusiastic […]

Growing food

Upfront-worthy veg

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We’re the hippies of the hood perhaps, with our mostly native rambling front garden but I decided to forge on a bit further and gently introduce some vegetables as it’s a great growing site. It’s a first for me in an Australian garden growing vegetables in the front (did it in the UK as we […]

Ecology

Ramshackle insect shack hacks

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I’ve been keen to try building nest blocks for blue-banded bees, by packing a clay/sand mix into rectangular PVC pipe after hearing about this technique and seeing it online.I’ve looked at a few ideas for insect hotels and made a list of materials required. However, perhaps because of my recent sessions at Onkaparinga’s Living Smart […]

Ecology

Blue-banded bees (Amegilla) – native Australian bees

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This is where I am logging the first sightings in my garden (McLaren Vale, South Australia) of native blue-banded bees (Amegilla) each year,  going back to 2014 which is the first year I noticed them and fell head-over heels in love. To find out more about these incredibly beautiful bees, start with Australian Native Blue […]

Permaculture

How trees interact with rain

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I caught a glimpse of something small and magical in the trickle of first rain and how a small fig tree catches and redirects the rain to efficiently distribute such a precious resource. It’s incredible to imagine the full interaction of water on earth, taken up into clouds, and cycled down into the soil, roots and fungi, […]

Permaculture

Ritual as yield

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It’s easy to fall into a yearning for more space when you have your head in permaculture thinking, yet with just a backyard sized space to play out your zones. When I see field-sized rows of vegetable beds I have to admit, sometimes my thoughts stray to wishing  I had vast fields to lay down beds […]

Rewilding

Messy edges

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River rewilding Riffles, rough edges Human lines softened Safe margins Beckon long-lost faces Dipping, building, thriving.