As part of the design for my art room/office in my recently moved to new home, I upcycled this desk and chair I bought from a local charity furniture shop. I used some low toxicity Chalk Paint bought from the fab My Vibrant Home, an interiors design shop, 10 mins walk from my house and then decorated the top of the desk with a collage made from old copies of Permaculture Magazine -Not only does it look pretty lovely, but I now have a constant abundance of inspirational images in front of me for my permaculture illustration work
The second post in a new series of monthly blog posts sharing the journey through the design process in creating an urban permaculture garden at my new home.
Wild Garden - Early Design
About 75% of the area for my new garden is North facing and adjacent to a busy road with congested traffic at certain times of day. Even before I moved into the house 6 months ago, I knew that these limiting factors meant that I would not be able to use this area of garden for food growing or spending prolonged amounts of time relaxing of socialising. Instead I have created an early design for wildlife habitat areas to be the dominant function in this space.
Ideally I would have observed the area for a year before making any design decisions but I have chosen to take advantage of the turf laid for the lawn being very new, (about 9 months old), and so ideal for sowing additional perennial flowers, herbage, legumes and grasses within the existing new turf. Before this happens I have also decided to prune back, (and in one case, remove), some existing mature sycamore and lime trees edging the lawned area and roadside to allow a lot of extra light onto the lawn and prevent the trees from overhanging the house roof. In addition I hope that having the pruning and resulting wood processing done just prior to sowing the new seeds into the lawn, will have the added benefit of creating more bare patches on the grass, enabling easier, successful germination and growth of the new perennial plants. Last week this work on the trees was successfully undertaken by local tree surgeons.
The wood from the pruning work was processed on site into a variety of sizes of logs and then the smaller diameter branches either chipped for paths/mulches or left intact for creating wildlife habitat, all for other aspects of my garden designs.
Wild Garden - Seeds
I ordered perennial flower, grasses, herbage and legume seeds for the lawned/grassed area of the Wild Garden and also some annual cornfield seeds for the borders. The perennial plants won't flower this year but the annual ones should do, creating some 'pop up' pollinator and other wildlife habitat while the longer term design implementation is established. I can highly recommend Emorsgate Seeds, (suggested to me by my good friend and ecologist Jan Martin), for a fantastic range of seeds and advice for ecological restoration in the UK, on any scale. I'm aiming to sow all the mixes of seeds at the end of March is the weather/ground conditions are appropriate
Edible Garden - First Seeds Sown
....and then the first seeds for my Edible Garden got sown. These tomato ('Latah') and chilli ('Pretty in Purple' and 'Nigel's Outdoors' ) varieties from Real Seeds are some of my favourites and ones I had left over from last year. They'll be germinating and growing indoors until the summer.
I've also been researching info and ideas from Alys Fowler and Juliet Kemp for my pop up container garden design. These two books are great for designing gardens in a diverse range of small spaces.
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The beautiful, haunting lyrics and music of "I Killed the Bees" have been crafted in such a powerful way, that since its release last year, this track has been firmly stuck on a loop in my head. Tygermylk's vision is for their song to be part of the catalyst for regenerative planetary change.In my opinion, this track from the band's upcoming EP, is destined to become a core anthem in climate justice activism.
A stunning version of "I Killed the Bees" is also available on Spotify
This mini-review was originally written for the current (No. 103 Spring 2020) edition of Permaculture Magazine
Sacred Earth Celebrations is the revised and updated version of Glennie Kindred’s bestselling book, Sacred Celebrations. Whether you are someone who is new to learning about Earth-based spirituality and living, or whether it’s already fundamental to how you pass through the cycles of our existence and Glennie’s book can truly enhance and deepen your experience of how to meaningfully celebrate and honour the cycles of the Earth.
Sacred Earth Celebrations is divided into three parts: ‘The Wheel of the Year’ introducing the Earth’s year through the solar cycle and the connections with the rhythms of the moon; ‘Celebration, ceremony and ritual’ with lots of ideas for individual or group events; and ‘The eight Celtic festivals’, where each of the quarter and cross quarter festivals are explored in detail. This includes how the festivals were understood and celebrated in the past, the underlying energies they hold, and how we can use this experience and flow to create our own meaningful rituals and celebrations now.
As with all Glennie’s books, Sacred Earth Celebrations is filled with the most beautiful drawings and charts alongside perfectly selected poetry by others. All this gives the reader opportunity to pause, reflect, plan and perhaps meditate at the natural breaks in the text.
Glennie’s book includes an abundance of ideas of how to engage physically, emotionally and spiritually with the cycle of Earth celebrations, including: celebrating on our own, in small groups, in our community, creating Sacred Spaces, activities with children, interacting with our gardens and other land, creativity through song, dance, art, craft... It’s like having the best box of tools. Glennie very much encourages our celebrations, ceremonies and rituals to reflect our own individuality and unique life circumstances. I finished the book feeling empowered by the range of ideas but also in the knowledge that following my own inspiration is incredibly spiritually regenerating and connecting too.
For those who use The Earth Pathways Diary or have read Letting In the Wild Edges, also by Glennie, this is the perfect accompaniment, furthering and enhancing the ritual and celebration elements of both.
I love this book. I’ve just read it from cover to cover, but like Glennie’s other books, it’s going to be one that’s at hand for the year round to read, absorb and utilise the relevant sections, as the Earth turns.
This book review is also published in Permaculture Magazine October 2014
I'm really excited to be starting a permaculture design for an urban garden at my new home. In this new series of monthly posts I will be sharing some of my journey through the design process in creating my garden.
Design Process - Permaculture Design Companion
This will be the first land based permaculture design I have embarked on in several years and I'm really looking forward to using Jasmines Dale's recently published book, Permaculture Design Companion, as my guide for this project. You can read the review I wrote about this great resource, here .
Garden Design pin board
I've been thinking about the design for my garden since I first realised I would be moving into my new home, about a year ago. I have found that using a notice/pin board in my kitchen to collect all my initial thoughts, ideas, visions and wishes about my garden design has been a really effective way of collecting, storing and regularly reviewing all this information, as well as providing a great focal point for discussion and ideas sharing with friends and family who visit my house.
This month I've also started undertaking some focused observations about how different sectors impact on the existing garden. I really like how sectors are explained in the #freepermaculture online course hosted by freepermaculture.com -
"In permaculture, the term sector refers to any natural or uncontrolled influence that moves through your design site. And through sector analysis, you can anticipate and enact design decisions that will mediate, mitigate, and improve how those uncontrolled influences affect your site. Sectors could be wind, water, weather...they can be economic, social, biological, or any combination of the above. Every sector has needs, resources, yields, wastes, and relationships that influence the whole system. "
Next month Im going to be creating a "to scale" base map of the garden as it is at present, in addition making some major decisions about the mature trees already in the garden. Sign up to my monthly newsletter to get further updates about how my garden design is progressing through 2020.
The Climate Change Garden published just last year, is my first complete read of 2020 and part of the research planned for my new garden design.
As well as being an author of a wide range of books, Sally Morgan is also the editor of the Soil Association's Organic Farming magazine. Kim Stoddart runs climate change gardening courses, is a gardening journalist and the editor of The Organic Way magazine. The two authors clearly have a great wealth of knowledge and experience in all matters relating to garden design with our rapidly changing climate in mind.
Overall The Climate Change Garden is a comprehensive and engaging overview of some of the main ways that climate change is, and will continue, to influence how we garden in the UK. The book has lots of inspiring photos to back up the very accessible format text. The key topics each have their own chapter; Too much water; Heat and drought; Wind, frost and snow; A healthy soil; Design Ideas; Working with wildlife; The veg patch; In the orchard; Trees for the future; The flower garden - and there is a useful appendix of extra resources. Each chapter contains relevant background and history alongside many ideas for garden design choices and plans. In my opinion, The Climate Change Garden is a great book for folk new to gardening as well as others who would welcome a reminder about some of the key issues relating to climate challenges in the designs and creations of our growing spaces. While the book isn't an in depth "how to garden" book, it firmly plants many specialist seeds of inspiration to be furthered by accessing additional resources. The Climate Change Garden is a very welcome addition to my land based permaculture tool box and already a central part of the first steps of my new garden design.
In this post I share ten of my current favourite resources for thriving, despite experiencing the overwhelm of planetary/climate grief - This isn't intended to be an exhaustive list, there are many other great resources available out there.
The resources I have chosen are in no particular order -
Overcoming Burnout - book by Nicole Rose
"Organising with others for human, animal and earth liberation can be one of the most empowering experiences alive. Yet frontline resistance comes with risks to our physical and emotional health that can lead many people to burn out and abandon social movements altogether.
This book is about overcoming burnout, linking the author’s journey of recovery with wider systemic forces such as classism, sexism and power dynamics in groups, poverty, chronic illness and ableism, as well as grief and trauma from prison and state repression. It is a call for models of mutual aid and collective care. Simultaneously deeply personal and acutely political, for anyone involved in grassroots organising, it is a must read."
Available to buy in paper and ebook format from Nicole's website Solidarity Apothecary
Mothers of Invention - podcast
"Climate change is a man-made problem - with a feminist solution!
Join former Irish President Mary Robinson and comedian Maeve Higgins in this uplifting new podcast, celebrating amazing women doing remarkable things in pursuit of climate justice.Each episode features the Mothers of Invention driving powerful solutions to climate change – from the grassroots to the court room, the front lines to the board room – all over the world.
A-Z of Climate Anxiety - online article from The Guardian
"With the climate emergency putting our mental health at risk, Emma Beddington presents an everyday guide to eco wellbeing." Read the article here
Healing Justice - podcast
" Our lives depend on our ability to make urgent, dramatic, liberatory change in our society. But many models of activist culture deplete us and replicate patterns of trauma, harm, oppression, and workaholism. We’ve lost too many of our visionary leaders to disillusionment, exhaustion, depression, and infighting... "People power” means that we are our own most precious resource. We cannot afford to burn ourselves and each other out. If we want to welcome enough people to our movements to really transform our world, we have to make the experience of participating sustainable, healing, and irresistible...We are a community supporting each other to integrate self and collective care with powerful action for social justice. We learn from many lineages, and connect and visibilize stories, methodologies, & people to strengthen the capacity for resilience in ourselves and our movements for change.
Since 2017, our podcast has shared conversations and accompanying practices with over 800,000 downloads worldwide. "
Go to the Healing Justice website here
Positive News - print & digital magazine + free content
"Fed up with bad news but want to stay informed? Positive News is the magazine for good journalism about the good things that are happening.
Stories of social and environmental progress
Quality, independent reporting with a focus on solutions
Impactful photography and stunning visual design
Boosts your wellbeing and helps you engage in the world
A carbon neutral publication printed on quality paper
Published four times a year: January, April, July and October"
Craftivist Collective - website & other resources
"If we want a world that is beautiful, kind and fair, shouldn't our activism be beautiful kind and fair?
Founded by award-winning campaigner Sarah Corbett, the Craftivist Collective is more than an alternative use for craft. Our gentle protest approach to craftivism aims to change the world with deliberate, thoughtful actions that provoke reflection and respectful conversation instead of aggression and division.
Craftivism is for everyone from skilled crafters to burnt out activists, and those people who want to challenge injustice in the world but don't know what to do, where to start or how to prioritise their energies and time. "
Permaculture - print & digital magazine + lots of free content
"Permaculture Magazine gets to the heart of permaculture internationally. Enjoy our practical features, videos & solutions every day to enable you to live lightly on the Earth. Features practical thought provoking articles on organic gardening, sustainable agriculture, agroforestry, climate change, peak oil, eco-villages, alternative technology, eco-architecture, personal and community development and much more. Packed with informative articles, readers solutions, DIY designs, news, reviews, book, tool and product reviews, letters, classifieds and details of a wide range of related courses."
52 Climate Actions - website
"You have the power to bring about positive change. Every action makes a difference, so start today with the theme that inspires you most."
52 great everyday actions from a diverse range of subjects that folk can connect with to work towards climate justice - visit the website here
Active Hope - book by Joanna Macey & Chris Johnson
"Active Hope is about finding, and offering, our best response to the crisis of sustainability unfolding in our world. It offers tools that help us face the mess we’re in, as well as find and play our role in the collective transition, or Great Turning, to a life-sustaining society
At the heart of this book is the idea that Active Hope is something we do rather than have. It involves being clear what we hope for and then playing our role in the process of bringing that about. The journey of finding, and offering, our unique contribution to the Great Turning helps us to discover new strengths, open to a wider network of allies and experience a deepening of our aliveness. When our responses are guided by the intention to act for the healing of our world, the mess we’re in not only becomes easier to face, our lives also become more meaningful and satisfying.
The book guides the reader through a transformational process informed by mythic journeys, modern psychology, spirituality and holistic science. This process equips us with tools to face the mess we’re in and play our role in the collective transition, or Great Turning, towards a life-sustaining society."
Learn more here
Climate and Mind - website
Some great resources for individuals and organisations, including Mental Health professionals. Visit Climate and Mind here
My Permaculture Illustrations on this new page on my site are offered free of financial cost, to use digitally in any regenerative change event or resource materials and marketing. Please just include a reference to my website with any use.
Having followed the journey of Sarah Spencer’s course, workshops and training about using principles from nature, tress specifically, to navigate and thrive in our lives, I was really excited when I found out that she was also writing a book about the same topic. And I’ve not been disappointed. Think Like a Tree, the book, is a beautiful and incredibly informative tool for us all.
The 42 short chapters are brimming with examples of trees from many parts of Earth, alongside every day case studies and ideas of how the nature principles taught to us by the presence of trees, can positively impact on our lives as individuals and within our communities. Each chapter covering one principle, are divided into 6 Groups – Observation, Purpose, Surroundings, Connection, Resilience, Future. There is a lot of information for each principle, as well as some really thought provoking exercises to undertake. I really enjoyed reading about 1 principle each evening and I can recommend this approach in order to take time to absorb and reflect on the details presented.
Sarah’s work with Think Like a Tree has been very much linked to her life through living as well as possible with Chronic Illness. This theme is evident throughout the book and means that Think Like a Tree could be particularly useful to others in similar situations.
Sarah claims that “Nature holds the secret to your happiness, health and wellbeing - Think Like a Tree guides you to discover your own personal route to happiness, health, success and fulfilment – whatever your circumstances” – and I agree that this part ecology, part sociology, part history and part self coaching tool lends itself to being a useful and meaningful book for a diverse audience.
Think Like a Tree can be bought directly from Sarah at
My Winter Festival cards and prints are available to buy now, with 100% of the profit going to support Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope, West Yorkshire. Its an organisation very close to my heart, as I've nursed in various roles at Manorlands for over 15 years, and it's been a wonderful place to work
The Winter Festival cards are A6 in size and the prints A4 in size, on recycled card. Footprint Workers Coop in Leeds have done a fab job in transforming my creativity into beautiful ethically made cards and prints. They've been a great organisation to work with and I can very much recommend them
The cards including recycled envelopes, are £2.50 each or 5 for £10 and the prints are £12.50 each or 3 for £30 which includes plastic free postage within the UK.
Payment is via PayPal. Please send me an email, with your order, including how many of each design you would like and a postal address, and I will let you know PayPal details
My email address is
Welcome to my new blog, born at the festival of Samhain 2018, the Pagan New Year. Here I aim to share regular everyday examples of how permaculture can provide healing and regeneration for ourselves, our communities and our planet.
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