The view of my edible garden (from my bedroom window), on the last day of October
The last of my bean and courgette/squash harvest (supervised by Floss)
I mulched the raised bed left empty after the last of the squash and courgette harvest with the contents of one of my compost bins.
….and then sowed phacelia as a green manure cover crop/mulch to remain in place until next spring. (The glass jar of marbles and water is an insect water station. I have several of these throughout my garden, as well as being good for insects and birds, they also look pretty. Aesthetics is a big function in my garden design, I love to create beautiful spaces).
A week or so later, phacelia pushing its first leaves through the newly applied compost. (The orange peel is part of my cat deterrent strategy!)
This winter I’m trialing growing leafy plants (kale, chard, oriental greens) and fennel seedlings under bubble wrap. The adjacent south facing stone wall is an additional heat sink to the recycled farm plastic waste raised beds. (My raised beds are from the brilliant British Recycled Plastic in Hebden Bridge)
The baby trees and hardy perennial herbage ground cover plants on the North facing small slope ‘edge’ between the urban meadow and busy main road, are thriving after some autumn rain. This strip has been well mulched with wood chip and leaves for the past two winters and the soil fertility, water storage ability and depth has really improved. I gave several young trees struggling with the drought conditions of the summer a big water in August, but about 90% of the trees have managed without supplementary watering. I intend to add another layer of locally obtained wood chip mulch on top of this autumn’s leaves over the winter.
I’ve been improving and expanding the diverse areas of wildlife (mainly insect) habitat, including leaving about 10% of my urban meadow uncut. Last winter the uncut cow parsley flowers became the home of many ladybirds over the cold months.
Its been great to see how many of the perennial wild flower and grasses seedling plugs I planted directly into the urban meadow in the early spring have established themselves, despite the very dry conditions over the summer. I planted the plugs into small areas of bare earth I had created by killing areas of regular lawn grass with wood chip mulch.
‘My Garden’ zine
I’ve created a zine about my garden, you can buy it from my shop right here
Some ideas to support our grief and celebrations of Alan’s life
Several of Alan’s friends are starting to plan an in-person event to gather and celebrate Alan’s life, probably in next Spring. I’ve created a list of ideas, incorporating different aspects of Alan’s life, to use as support for grief and celebration in the meantime.
(The text and images from this blog post are also available as a printable PDF here )
Colouring in - colouring books/cards with coloured pencils or pens. If you are someone who has a stash of colouring in tools, maybe rearrange them by colour, as Alan did.
Plant a tree, consider a fruit tree for added functions.
Plant tree seeds in pots for planting into the ground in years to come.
Support local creatives, by purchasing from them and/or sharing their work.
Spend time with a tree or trees who hold significance for you, reflect on Alan’s life and the connections you had with him.
Sing, dance, create, meditate, feast near trees.
Write a letter to Alan. Compost, bury or burn it. Grow food or a tree in the soil where the compost, letter or ash has been placed.
Start a practice of photographing patterns in nature, perhaps share these with friends either online or in person.
Start supporting a local, small business, practicing ethics similar to your own.
Visit a local independent café and eat cake.
Consider starting a new daily spiritual practice.
Create a nature altar, either outside or indoors, include space for a candle to burn in connection with Alan.
Get involved with a local activism group creating regeneration for community and/or land.
Consider starting a local activism group for regenerative change.
Gather with others who know Alan, either in person or online. Share stories and memories of connection with Alan and his work.
Consider mentoring someone who is wanting to develop skills similar to your own.
Check in more frequently with friends who you know are struggling in some way.
Prioritise your own self care. (We can best support others and participate in activism, if we place our own holistic wellness at the centre of our lives.)
Practice self compassion on a regular basis.
Remember that online activism is just as important as in person activism.
Learn more about a particular tree. Its story, magic, science and significance.
Mark and celebrate solar and lunar cycles & festivals.
The above list is just some of my own ideas based on my experience of friendship with Alan. There might be some you don’t resonate with or agree with and that’s totally ok. Please feel free to create your own activities or adapt any of the above.
Some further resources about grief
Climate grief - some resources to help
Some images about grief to print out and colour in
Just added to my online shop - cards and A4 prints of some of my recent illustrations.
Plus my very first publicly available zine!
As I continue to slowly recover from the long term impact that Lyme disease has had on my body, so the number of permaculture educator events I am able to be involved with are increasing.
This makes me very happy!
Here is a little round up of past, present and future happenings in my little corner of Earth.
Last month I took part in the Saltaire Festival Open Gardens & Pop-Ups event for the first time. I loved the preparation for it and the weekend itself. It pushed me into trying out some new creative ideas in my garden which have worked out really well. I also won the ‘highly commended’ (runner up) prize, which I was SO pleased, (and surprised!), about.
My open garden was also part of the Permaculture Association’s My Green Community event which saw permaculture projects opening their doors/gates to visitors throughout the UK
A new project, ‘Thriving With Principles’, I am working on with one of my Diploma apprentices, Kate Dickinson also started last month. Thriving With Principles (TWP), is a permaculture project documenting and sharing about how permaculture principles can enable people affected by disability and/or chronic illness/long term health issues (CI/LTHI), to thrive. Its a series of online discussions through Zoom, then the creation of a zine.
The first two Zoom sessions far exceeded our expectations of how much discussion would emerge from all of the wonderful people attending, so we have organised a further three Zoom sessions to take place this month, before Kate starts on their zine design.
Click here for further information about TWP - you are very welcome to join in with the October Zoom sessions
Earlier this month I facilitated my first ‘in person’ permaculture workshop since I became poorly six years ago. The hour long ‘brief introduction to permaculture’ was part of the bigger Sustainable Saturday event hosted by my local community centre, the Kirkgate Centre. I really enjoyed being back chatting about how permaculture can be applied to so many of our everyday life and work experiences. There was a lot of enthusiasm from the people attending for further workshops, and this is something I am going to be exploring for next year.
Next month I’m very much looking forward to two creative events less than five minutes shuffle from my home!
I’m going to be selling my prints, cards and zines and hosting a permaculture resource space at ‘Prints & Plants’, at the amazing Salts Works & People Powered Press on Sunday 13th November.
I will also be having a stall at the Peace & Craft Fair hosted by the Yorkshire Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament at the Victoria Hall here in Saltaire on Saturday November 26th.
Online discussions through Zoom, then the creation of a zine, hosted by Kate Dickinson and myself.
Take part in a permaculture project documenting and sharing about how permaculture principles can enable people affected by disability and/or chronic illness/long term health issues (CI/LTHI), to thrive.
This project is aimed at both people living with disabilities and/or CI/LTHI and/or people supporting others living with disabilities and/or CI/LTHI
Following the success of the first two Zoom sessions, we are hosting a further three one hour sessions, throughout October.
Tuesday 11th October 10-11am
Saturday 22nd October 2-3pm
Sunday 30th October 10-11am
All sessions are are UK timings.
You are welcome to attend any number of sessions. You are also very welcome to attend these sessions if you didn’t participate in the September sessions.
We are inviting participants to share experiences they have had or ideas about, using the Holmgren Permaculture Principles in managing their disabilities and/or CI/LTHI and/or supporting someone else with disabilities and/or CI/LTHI.
This link features more information about each of the 12 principles
Ways of sharing these experiences and ideas with others in the session might include -
Sharing an image (photo, doodle, illustration, mind map)
Written/typed so that Kate or Kt can share on your behalf
Participants will also be encouraged to discuss these experiences and ideas in the sessions. There is no pressure to either share or discuss in the sessions. People who want to attend the sessions and just listen in are very welcomed.
The Zoom sessions will be recorded and then the content shared about experiences and ideas will be collated and used to create a zine which will be available to others as a resource. The zine will be available in both electronic and paper versions.
The zine content can be anonymous or participants can be named and attributed to their experiences and ideas - either preference is great.
In the week after the Zoom sessions finish, you will be asked to complete a short evaluation tool so that we can learn from the experiences of participants and plan future events accordingly.
We will be sharing information about this project on social media and on Kt’s blog and newsletter
Please email Kt if you would like to take part in this project - remember it’s totally fine and very welcomed to just listen in to the ideas sharing and discussion. Also, feel free to email me with any questions you may have.
If you have already attended the initial sessions I will automatically be sending you an email with the link for the Zoom sessions.
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