Permablitz #180 – Thornbury
It was a pleasant and sunny day; perfect weather for gardening. The blitz site was easily located thanks to the signature pile of mulch at the entrance – a massive thanks to The Green Centre for generously donating much of it! I had turned up a little late, but not so late that I missed out on the introduction session when we got to know the names of us blitzers and a one or two liner on our background and favourite plant.
I may have missed the design brief but I was impressed by the layout and design scheme that was prepared and pasted on the back wall of the house. It was funny how when I just arrived, even before the introduction I so easily
met Kathy (the host) and Ben (the designer with Terry) and got onto the shovel to fill the mulch into the raised bed that was already in place.
The interesting part of this blitz is that there was a hands-on variety of aspects of the design implementation that I got into and I think it was the best way to get briefed on the design. Apart from the raised beds, I helped with digging the trenches for the espaliered trees. I did not know what an espaliered tree was until I googled about it on receiving the pre-blitz brief. These are trees pruned and trained to grow on a framework, like a screen; in two dimensions.
During the break Terry handed out a sketch of the scheme, complete with colour coding indicating how the bottomless potted saplings of the apple and pear trees will be planted and arranged on the ties of the frame. The scheme also had suggestions for understory plants like comfrey, borage and asparagus.
Kathy had prepared some very interesting lunch and even had the recipes up for grabs. The pumpkin soup was a taker with its hidden ingredients that made it oh so much more delicious. After lunch I helped out with digging out the soil to place the water chestnut pond. We dug out a mini channel in the soil that allowed the overflow of the pond to water the citrus hedge that we had planted by the chestnut pond. I found this feature really interesting as it helped me zoom out and think of it as a mini swale where mint can be grown. It helped me visualize a mini food forest with the espaliered fruit trees, the understory of comfrey and asparagus , the citrus hedge by the chestnut pond and mini minty swale with a foreground of the raised beds for vegetables. Thanks to Terry was popping in the word “mini swale” which triggered the visualization.
We also built a herb spiral in the front of the home and Ben gave us a briefing on how the placement of the herb spiral at the entrance allows Kathy to pick the herbs on the way into her home from work – a way of zoning based on activities and sequences. Ben also explained how the Mediterranean herbs go to the top of the spiral that needs driers soil than herbs like mint. This was my first blitz and was a very good experience that made me want to go for more. I did note that it is very easy for a gardening starved person like me (who has just returned from wwoofing
in farms where permaculture freshness and greenness abounds as against a city) to get fully into the design and implementation of the blitz. These blitzes are also a ground where we can connect with a great network of folks with similar interests.
A big thankyou to guest documenter Pooja Mallya.
You can see a full gallery of pics from the day here!