Recently I created a new goal setting tool for a current project design I’m working on.
S.H.M.A.R.T.E.R has influences from both Heather Jo Flores and Leonie Dawson goal setting work and is aimed at being used in people focused projects. It’s already proving to be a super useful core tool in my 2022 Permaculture Educator design and I will share more about this here as the design progresses.
Please feel free to use it in your own life/work designs - I have created a PDF for the S.H.M.A.R.T.E.R tool for you to download here
Also, check out my shop where I sell prints and cards of some of my favourite illustrations. You can also access free (or pay as you feel) digital versions of my illustrations here
I’m here, back to all things digital, after a month long break somehow turned into a whole six months. My garden also was mainly left to its own devices for the second half of the growing season too, but here are a few photos I did take over that time.
This raised bed contained a wonderful polyculture of runner beans, French beans, field beans, 2 varieties of kale, rainbow chard, mixed radish, rocket, nasturtium, calendula, borage and mixed lettuces. It was abundant both in food for me to eat and also for pollinators too. The sunflower heads and water dish in the foreground are for extra insect attracting and care.
These two lovely girls arrived for further care and rehab via hedgehog hospital. After several months with me were successfully released back into the wild, care of a large, safe garden with lots of great habitat (not mine, I live next to a busy road!), where they will have supplementary feeding if they choose too.
My edible garden view from my bedroom window. I’m so pleased with how my new raised beds from British Recycled Plastic, installed over the winter are now performing. Read more about the raised beds in a previous blog post here. After a cold May, everything has grown rapidly and healthily over the last few warm weeks of June. The soil/compost mix in the beds is full of worms now and as some of the compost was only semi decomposed when added to the raised beds, the height of the mix in the beds has decreased rapidly! My current composting system is going well though so the beds will be topped up again once each harvest is finished. I have at last got some seating in my edible garden too, so pleased with these British grown and made benches. My tree trunk stools from the lime tree felled last year, are making great tables/footrests.
A mixed bed of lettuce, radish, kale, chard, beetroot, radish, runner beans and sweet peas. Tomatoes, sunflowers and courgette plants in the South facing bed in the background. The absorbed solar heat in the black recycled plastic of the raised beds “planks” is creating such amazing microclimates. None of the raised beds had any frost from the late winter/early spring.
In the “wild” part of my garden things are also growing well. Most of the baby hedgerow trees I planted over the winter are thriving. My “lawn” area is much more diverse in flora and fauna as a result of sowing in grasses, legumes and flower seeds over last autumn and spring. I’ve been mowing a path round the perimeter and through the middle of the lawn for aesthetic purposes (my long grass looks like a purposeful design rather than just abandoned) and also it means that my Border Collie, Floss, and I can get to all areas of the garden without trampling and squashing the plant growth in the lawn.
I created these signs for my wild garden area to help share my garden design to people passing by, (its adjacent to a busy road near several schools), and my neighbours. The blue heart symbol is part of the Blue Campaign which was founded by wildlife film maker Furgus Beeley in response to dramatic biodiversity and biomass declines in the UK. People with gardens, allotments, business yards, and councils who manage land and roadside verges are encouraged to “rewild” areas of land and to display a blue heart of some kind to communicate the message and connection in what they are doing.
Creative Dying - Resources and tools for designing our own death and dying is one of the designs in my portfolio for my Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design. I started this design in 2013 and it’s had several incremental changes over the years since. You can read more about Creative Dying and how permaculture can improve how we die, in a previous article I wrote here . The online resource I created then has now being archived and I’m currently in the process of designing the next steps of the project.
Triggered by several major life changing events, including serious illness, I have recently been updating my When I Die plan, which was part of the initial Creative Dying design. I’ve not explicitly named the permaculture principles used throughout my plan, but see how many you can identify as you read through. Could the same principles help to shape your own Creative Dying related design?
(The information shared in this blog relates to death, dying and bereavement in the UK)
The functions of my When I Die plan
The functions of my When I Die plan are
When I Die - Three Sections
My When I Die plan consists of three sections
The Before I die and As I die sections of my plan contain personal information that isn’t appropriate to share in this blog, but the information can be categorised under the following headings -
Through both my work as a palliative care nurse and as a Carer for various family members, I am aware of some of the difficulties in meeting the wants and expectations of a person approaching the end of their life. These include -
Not being able to meet the exact expectations of a person who is dying can be a significant burden for friends and family which can in turn impact on their bereavement. So including various options in an advanced care plan can be really useful for everyone concerned.
The third section of my When I Die plan, After I die, is typically the aspect of dying that most people planning for their death, focus on. It’s something which I am very happy to share the main elements here -
The final resting place for my body
My first choice for the placement of my body after my death, if available in the UK or other country where I die, is to be composted. Recompose are an amazing organisation founded by Katrina Spade, a permaculture designer and architect, in the US, who are pioneering the composting of human bodies. It’s a process that is already legal in several states and one if the aims of Recompose is to enable organisations in other countries to create similar systems.
If human body composting is not not possible, including because of the wellbeing of people close to me, then I would like to be buried in a woodland burial site nearest to the address where I am living when I die. Ideally I would like to be buried in this blanket that I have made from felted knitted squares of natural coloured wool, (wool which is produced and sold directly from small farms in the UK).
If burial in my blanket is not possible, including because of the wellbeing of people close to me, then I would like to be buried in the coffin I have already designed and purchased. This is in use as a book shelves and (the lid) as a notice board in my house.
If I die outside the UK then I would like my body to be treated and placed as local custom, with my ideal choice always being burial. I would not want my body to be transported back to the UK.
Celebration of life and saying goodbye
I have no fixed ideas or needs for those around me to celebrate my life and say goodbye after I die. Here is a list of some ideas I have that might assist people close to me involved in my after death care -
I have listed friends who are celebrants of various kinds and might be available to facilitate an event
Legal aspects of my When I Die plan
A really important part of the update of my When I Die plan has been getting some of the legal aspects of the project completed. I got both Lasting Power of Attorney, Health and Welfare and Property and Financial Affairs, documents arranged, meaning that a close friend of mine can act on my behalf if I am too unwell to make decisions for myself and my own needs known. At the same time, with the same local solicitor, I wrote my Will which means that when I die my wishes for any belongings and/or financial assets that I own will be carried out.
These documents took a bit longer to process than anticipated as they had just got into the legal system as the first lockdown for the COVID 19 pandemic commenced in the UK. However, they are complete now and the details in them will be honoured for the rest of my life. I can also change the content of any of these documents at any time, should I want too. A copy of my When I Die plan, while not legally binding, also sits with the Power Of Attorney documents and Will, both with my solicitor and in my paperwork at home. Two close friends have also got a copy of my When I Die document.
These books are some of my current favourite resources for making plans for dying.
The following list is a selection of my current favourite online resources -
Life. Death. Whatever
The Digital Legacy Association
The Good Grief Project
End Of Life Care - LGBTQ Route To Success - Macmillan Cancer Support
Anti-Racism: The Outer and Inner Work - End Of Life University Podcast
How To Have An Environmentally Responsible Death - Marie Curie
A Greener Way To Go, What’s The Most Eco Friendly Way To Dispose Of A Body - The Guardian
Eco Friendly Funerals - Green Eco Friend
The Natural Death Centre
Whether for your own death plan, or someone close to you, I hope its been useful to read about my own When I Die plan. I have other other new elements of Creative Dying planned over the next few months, sign up to my monthly newsletter to access them when available.
It’s been such a pleasure to help behind the scenes with the creation of Twigs “the magazine for young planet protectors” by Twigs’ creator, my lovely talented friend Clare Carney . The first edition is now available to buy via the Twigs Website where you can also find out how permaculture ethics and principles have been used in the design of this beautiful project.
“Twigs is aimed at children aged 4 years and upwards and will help children and families connect with nature, and through compassion and love, help them create a sustainable and positive future.”
Twigs includes -
I’ve been really looking forward to reading this inspiring sounding new book from permaculture focused garden designer and educator, Anna Locke. And it hasn’t disappointed.
Anna has taken the concept of forest gardening and created a beautiful, engaging resource to teach and empower us to design perennial based foraging gardens where humans and non-human beings in nature can flourish. Her decades of knowledge and experience of connecting people with natural environment through garden design shines through every chapter of this very accessible book.
The Forager’s Garden takes us through a simple design process to grow ecological, wildlife abundant gardens. It’s a book about planting whole ecosystems on any scale, for community, private and guerrilla gardening projects. Anna’s work isn’t designed to compete with traditional vegetable and fruit growing but to compliment it. Yes, we could redesign whole gardens or community plots as foraging ones, but equally, creating small perennial plant spaces in gardens with annual edible or flower growing areas too, can also develop conditions for nature, (including humans), to thrive.
With clear, jargon free text, gorgeous illustrations, diagrams and photos alongside regular prompts for applying the information presented in each chapter to our own garden design, this book will suit gardening novices alongside those of us who like to learn and learn again especially from new authors and artists.
The Forager’s Garden leans to a focus on UK climate and includes chapters on; Defining what a foraging garden is; Designing for resilience and long term; How to plan your garden; Information for beginner gardeners; The benefits of including diversity in the different elements of garden creation; The use of trees in a forager’s garden; Embracing the use of plant guilds; The creation of ecological stability and abundance through creating multiple layers in a garden; Plant choices, Implementing and maintaining your garden design; How perennial focused foraging gardens or spaces in gardens, can be used in different spaces, for example, allotments, container gardening and gardening undercover or on windowsills. The book also contains an excellent “Plant finder” with lots of clear information about many common and some less so, plants that can be used to create a beautiful, successful garden space to forage from.
Anna skilfully weaves ecological principles throughout the abundance of knowledge, ideas and personal garden design experiences in her book. People with some prior understanding of permaculture will also recognise the permaculture ethics or values of Earth Care, Fair Shares and People Care at the core of The Forager’s Garden. The chapters skilfully link low budget, low maintenance, edible garden design to the bigger pictures around food security, wildlife habitat regeneration and community building
Though many of the garden design stories in The Forager’s Garden span over several years, Anna wrote this book against the backdrop of the last 18 months when both increasing public awareness and motivation about the urgent need to address climate change and the surge in numbers of people who started growing their own food for the first time as the COVID 19 pandemic became realities in our communities. It’s timely publication will be an important tool to use in individual household and community scale projects, as part of wide scale solutions focus for both of these global scale truths.
I wholeheartedly recommend The Forager’s Garden for us all.
The Forager’s Garden by Anna Locke is available from Permaculture Market
I haven’t blogged about my urban permaculture garden design since last November , (you can read more about why, in my blog post “Website Design Update - Catching Up” from a few days ago). So much has changed in my edible garden over the winter months as I implemented the permanent structural part of the garden design.
The raised bed along the south facing stone wall was the first one to be constructed. These amazing raised bed kits from British Recycled Plastic in Hebden Bridge (about 45 mins drive away from my house), come in a variety of different sizes and depths. The material is made from British plastic waste and will basically last forever. I chose the 60cm depth option as its great for seated gardening.
Over the the winter and spring I have also been implementing the next part of the design for the wildlife habitat area of my garden. I planted 70 diverse trees as part of a mixed hedgerow as in my November 2020 garden blog and planted out a mixed range of perennial herbaceous ground cover plants suitable for a North facing slope, supplied by the wonderful Those Plant People permaculture plant nursery just 5 miles up the Aire valley from my house.
Earlier this month I added a mix of annual and perennial wild flowers and grasses mix to the exposed patches of soil (created by leaving fallen sycamore leaves as a mulch over the winter). This is the second year of doing this, I will also repeat the process in the autumn. Creating a diverse “meadow”/woodland edge in newly laid lawn is a gradual process over a number of years, but should eventually result in a space where many insects and birds can thrive.
Apologies. I’ve definitely been a bit A.W.O.L. In recent months, both from my blog and Full Moon newsletters. At the end of last year I outgrew my marketing package from Weebly, my website host and decided that while I upgraded I would take the opportunity to give my website a much needed update too. Living with a chronic illness means that unplanned times of rest are often a thing and none essential activities can get delayed in a big way, which is what happened with me. However, here I am again with my website updated, a new blog/newsletter design underway and some great plans for my online spaces over the next few months. Here is a little overview of what you can find on my website now: -
About Me and My Work
An overview of my different Permaculture Educator projects: - Permaculture Illustrations, Blog, Permaculture Diploma Tutoring, Accessing Permaculture, Permaculture Resources and Social Media
Details about my Free To Use illustrations, examples of some of the recent commissions I have undertaken and a link to my Etsy shop where some of my older Illustrations are available as cards and prints. Over the next few weeks I will be opening a new shop for cards and prints of my illustrations on my website. Sign up to my full moon news letter and connect with my social media spaces for updates on this
Everyday examples of how permaculture can provide healing and regeneration for ourselves, our communities and our planet.
Permaculture Diploma Tutoring
Information about my work as a tutor for the Permaculture Association (UK) Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design
Some resources designed to help and support improving access to Permaculture, (and other activism type work/events), for people with chronic illness and/or disability.
Some of my favourite permaculture related resources : - websites, blogs, podcasts, books and videos
Keep Up To Date
November has been all about preparing to start the implementation of my long term permaculture garden design.
Rather than clearing the growing beds of my pop-up garden from this years growing season, I left the remaining plants in place, plus added a thick layer of fallen leaves from the lawn/wildlife meadow area of the garden. This means that until I am ready to work on a specific area, the soil fertility and insect habitat will be maintained as much as possible. Birds have also been very pleased with this decision and although Im not feeding birds from commercial feeders, I’m seeing an increased number spending time in my garden and finding food to eat from these mulched areas.
I ordered a diverse mix of trees from the Woodland Trust to plant as a hedgerow at the edge between my garden and a busy main road. The area already has some young hawthorn and holly trees in place and I’m going to be adding hornbeam, wild cherry, blackthorn, dog rose, elder, rowan, alder, hazel and yew. I’m also awaiting a delivery from Yorkshire Willow - a variety of various coloured willow rods to create a mini coppice area.
Two of my lovely friends put together this amazing shed from local, award winning Power Sheds in Bradford. They deliver anywhere in the UK and I can really recommend the quality of their product and customer service.
I’m making a lot of compost in my garden and to give the process a boost I ordered some “tiger” worms from Yorkshire Worms. The basic layout of my garden is only a year old with a thin layer of top soil on top of a lot of building rubble, so I’m hoping that these new garden friends are going to greatly help with the land regeneration. (The wood chip in this photo is bedding from my rescue guinea pigs, another important part of my composting system.)
And then lastly my raised gardening beds arrived from British Recyled Plastic, based down the road (and over the hill!) in Hebden Bridge. They create an amazing robust and chemically safe product from British farm waste plastic, to make garden beds and other outdoors furniture.
This year I’ve gradually been transitioning back into my role of being a tutor on the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design. It’s work I haven’t been well enough to do over the past few years and I’m feeling really excited to be part of such a great programme and community again.
Over the summer I spent time designing illustrations for the new Diploma website (designed and launched for the new 2020 system), which was a lovely creative way to start being connected. I then undertook the online training to became an assessment level tutor, meaning I can now work alongside apprentices through every stage of their Diploma journey.
Through the training, several other Diploma tutors in the north of England and myself, decided to create a regional, day-long gathering for anyone involoved in the Diploma in the area, initially to be an online event, and then hopefully to be an “in person” event as the pandemic conditions allow. We hosted the first of these gatherings last week and it was a really motivating event. We opened the gathering up to any Diploma apprentices and tutors who wanted to attend, with the aim of sharing the design, to inspire others to create other regional events. About 40 people joined in sessions about; documenting designs, ‘getting unstuck’, a review of the assessment criteria, design shares and time/space for everyone to be able to introduce themselves. Our northern England tutor guild is just about to arrange our gathering evaluation online meet up but we are already pretty sure there will be more similar events to happen.
I also facilitated my first tutorial in the new system last month and am looking forward to gradually accepting other apprentices over the next few months.
You can check out my tutor profile on the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design website and get to know more about me and my permaculture interests by having a general nosey round my own website. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about my tutor work.
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.
Search My Blog
Sign up for my monthly newsletter, Full Moon Flourish. Here I will be sharing updates about my creative permaculture projects, plus links to inspiring work from other women in permaculture.