I had the good fortune to finally visit my friend Sam’s place somewhere out in the Florida scrublands.
Out in the scrub, the soil is hot and dry and looks like this:
Yet with some applied permaculture, it can look like this:
And Sam tells me I’m inspiring?
In order to transform this piece of scrubby pastureland into a permaculture paradise, Sam added buried lots of tree debris in hugelkultur mounds and piled up truckloads of tree mulch on the surface.
He also built some really cool trellises… which I’m totally going to rip-off and copy at my place.
But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the entrance of this beautiful permaculture garden and move in from there.
Out in Sam’s neck of the woods, deer are rampant. In order for him to have a garden, he had to put up a deer barrier, hence the fencing around this permaculture plot.
The fencing itself is a fine woven mesh which looks a bit flimsy but manages to keep the deer out regardless, perhaps due to its height or the fact that deer are stupid.
Inside the garden are a variety of pollinator species, nutrient accumulators, herbs and even pokeweed and wild pawpaw (which Sam built around without disturbing – you really can’t transplant pawpaw!).
The chewed-up portions of the pawpaw shrub above were caused by zebra swallowtail caterpillars. The zebra swallowtail is a lovely butterfly native to Florida which only lays its eggs on pawpaws.
|Photo credit Greg Gilbert.|
In my book, it’d be worth planting pawpaws just to have these attractive butterflies winging about in my yard.
Of course, once they emerge from their cocoons, they need something to eat, right? Sam’s got the pollinators covered right here:
That’s bee balm, a useful herb as well as being a great plant for the insects. A permaculture garden can be anything from a mixed-bed to a food forest. Sam’s is a mix of everything and is one of the most beautiful gardens I’ve seen.
Want to see more? Here’s Part 2!
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