It’s just over eight months since my border collie Floss died. Two and a half seasons have passed. Ever since then I’ve had a strange low level disconnect from my garden, which is the opposite to what I predicted. Yes things have happened, (nature doesn’t stop for grief, luckily), but it’s all felt mundane, hard work and to be honest, a bit pointless. So its been really useful today to look back at photos I’ve taken in the garden over that time and be reminded of some times where I felt my garden holding my hand as I’ve wandered through these weeks and months.
Here are a few of them.
Lyme disease - Borrelia burgdorferi , is a disease transmitted to humans by infected ticks and found throughout all areas of the UK now in woodlands, fields, parks and gardens. It remains poorly understood by public health systems at a time when the number of people being infected with this multi system illness is rapidly increasing. Patients and practitioners have found it difficult to obtain reliable and effective information, test results and treatment. ‘Lost In Lyme’ sets out to address these challenges and is a welcome accessible tool to inform and empower both people living with Lyme and the health care practitioners treating and supporting them.
‘Lost In Lyme’ by extensively experienced medical herbalist Julia Behrens and chef and nutritionalist Daphne Lambert, is a new, well researched and super accessible resource and practical tool kit. Its format is clearly laid out chapters with short blocks of clear text, photos, diagrams, tables and illustrations which is a big help to those of us with foggy brains, one of the most common long term symptoms of Lyme.
Behrens and Lambert’s work includes chapters on; An in-depth introduction to the disease, diagnosing and testing, medical and herbal treatments, (including using herbal treatments to support the use of lengthy courses of antibiotics treatments), plant profiles of herbal treatments, nutrition and recipes, growing herbal treatments in pots and gardens and self care. Included in the self care chapter is Julia Behren’s inspired holistic model, STEPS ( Social, Time, Emotional, Physical, Self), a tool about self awareness of concerns, needs and strengths in living with long term Lyme Disease.
As I enter into my seventh year of living with a chronic Lyme Disease diagnosis I am once again incredible grateful for the recovery improvements I’ve made since the early long years of some hugely debilitating symptoms. I continue to experience some long term disabling Lyme related issues though and ‘Lost in Lyme’ is presenting me with new and easily applicable ways to start exploring different ideas for improving some of these
In a totally unplanned way, this year I’ve joined the volunteer planning team for Shipley Town Council’s Shipley in Bloom project. Its been great to get involved with the creation of two new gardens in public spaces in the run up to the Yorkshire In Bloom judging, which happened a couple of weeks ago. I’m now looking forward to being part of the long term plans for growing spaces in Shipley which includes a lot of regenerative visioning and doing for both communities and environment.
Floss. April 2010 - March 2023
This spring in my garden (and all other areas of my life), has been totally dominated by the death of my best buddy Floss, who died at the Equinox. At 13 years old she’d been fading for several months and although her death wasn’t unexpected, the anticipated then actual grief of loosing her from my life has been huge. As a result some core things planned for the garden this spring including taking regular photos have happened late or not at all. Here are pics of some of the activities and events which have taken place.
I built a pallet structured insect habitat (or ‘bug hotel’), near my garden gate and within clear sight of both pedestrians and road users travelling by. One of the functions of the garden is to provide inspiration to folk in my local community. (I sowed some annual wild flower seeds in compost on top of the pallet stack, the bubble wrap is to keep the birds away until the seeds germinate)
I’m excited to be participating in some great local events over the summer months.
Everyday Permaculture Workshops, Saltaire
‘Everyday Permaculture’, my series of monthly two hour workshops at my neighbours, the brilliant Salts Works workshop space in Saltaire, West Yorks, continues on the third Saturday of each month 10-12pm . ‘Everyday Permaculture - Climate Actions’ takes place on June 17th, ‘Everyday Permaculture - Designing Events on Saturday July 15th and Everyday Permaculture - Right Livelihoods on Saturday 19th August. For more details and how to book, click here
Saltaire Arts Trail
It will be my second year hosting the work of 2 other artists alongside my own creative work as part of the super popular Saltaire Arts Trail - taking place over the late May Bank Holiday weekend 27th-29th May. People walk through the wildlife area of my garden to get to my edible gardening area and kitchen where work by Cameron Ling, Felicity Pockets and my permaculture themed illustrations will be displayed.
Shipley Open Gardens
This year for the first time I’m participating in Shipley Open Gardens for the first time - happening over the weekend of the 10th and 11th of June my permaculture inspired garden in Saltaire will be open from 1-5pm both days. I’ll be selling my zines, cards and prints from my kitchen, where vegan chai and flapjack and permaculture info will also be served! Through the weekend I’ll also be hosting work from one of the amazing ceramic artists at Hive Community Arts
Shipley’s Great Big Green Week
My Open Garden and June Everyday Permaculture workshop (both events as above) are also part of ‘Shipley’s Great Big Green Week’, connecting to the national Great Big Green Week initiative
And round the corner into September, I’ll be taking part in the Open Gardens weekend of the brilliant Saltaire Festival, which will be celebrating its 20th birthday this year. Saltaire Festival takes place from 9th -17th September, the Open Gardens event is over the first weekend, Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th.
I love this South facing wall in my edible garden so much - such a great example of using microclimates.
Early January saw me sorting though my seeds to work out what I needed to order for the year ahead. It turns out, I don’t need to order any! Where do all these seeds come from!?
Mulching raised beds and the wild garden ‘edge’ with a thick layer of leaves topped with woodchip supplied by a local tree surgeon. The soil along the wild garden edge is looking, smelling and feeling SO much better in terms of fertility and structure, now into its 3rd year of this winter mulching application.
Imbolc fire with my girl.
Pruning back some of the larger baby trees in my wild garden edge, so that the more recently planted ones get enough space and light. I added these prunings to two different insect habitat areas.
Creating a new area for fallen leaves, including leaves from several of my neighbours’ gardens.
Cutting down seed heads, (intentionally left standing over the winter for insect habitat) ready for new growth in spring. Tied the dried stalks complete with seed heads together and left upright so that the little critters can carry on snoozing until the days get lighter and warmer.
…..and to mark the start of 2023 growing season, I had a stall at my local Potato Day, 40 varieties of seed potatoes and lots of amazing people buying them and supporting the accompanying stalls and cafe too. I’ll be sowing my chilli seeds over the next few days. More details about this years growing in my next blog post.
I’m excited to be facilitating a series of 11 workshops throughout 2023, about how to use permaculture design in everyday life situations and events.
The 2 hour monthly workshops are taking place at my brilliant neighbours, Salts Works in Saltaire, Bradford. Through relaxed information sharing, creativity and informal discussion, these workshops will enable participants to explore how permaculture can be used to navigate everyday life in ways that connect with our values. Each workshop focuses on a different topic and is created to be enjoyed as a stand alone event or as part of the year long series.
Places are limited to 10 per booking. Salts Works is accessible for people using mobility aids, including wheelchairs. This includes an accessible toilet. There is also an accessible garden for anyone who needs a break from being indoors.
Please feel free to wear a face covering/mask in the workshop, if this gives you the confidence to participate. People are asked not to attend if they have any symptoms of a new bug or virus. Cancellations for a full refund are available until 24 hours before the event.
Each workshop costs £20. The price include hot/cold drinks, vegan & gluten-free sweet goodies and a takeaway mini zine about the main themes of the workshop.
The Workshops - Details & Booking
Everyday Permaculture - An Introduction
Saturday 18th February 10.00 - 12.00
Everyday Permaculture - Edible Gardening
Saturday 18th March 10.00 - 12.00
Everyday Permaculture - Health & Wellbeing
Saturday 15th April 10.00 - 12.00
Everyday Permaculture - Wildlife Spaces
Saturday 20th May 10.00 - 12.00
Everyday Permaculture - Climate Actions
Saturday 17th June 10.00 - 12.00
Everyday Permaculture - Designing Events
Saturday 15th July 10.00 - 12.00
Everyday Permaculture - Right Livelihoods
Saturday 19th August 10.00 - 12.00
Everyday Permaculture - Caring For Others
Saturday 15th September 10.00 - 12.00
Everyday Permaculture - Death, Dying & Bereavement
Saturday 21st October 10.00 - 12.00
Everyday Permaculture - Winter Festivals Planning
Saturday 18th November 10.00 - 12.00
Everyday Permaculture - Designing 2024
Saturday 16th December 10.00 - 12.00
Please feel free to email me if you have any questions about these workshops
Earth, Air, Fire, Water & Spirit -
Welcome to my blog. Here I aim to share everyday examples of how permaculture can provide healing and regeneration for ourselves, our communities and our planet.
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