Permaculture Southampton 2018-02-17

This month we went on a field trip!

For our February meet up, Liz Batten invited us to visit her garden which she is keen to develop for more fruit and food.

Liz Batten - after our permaculture meet up

This is Liz and her garden after our work

Working with Richard Parker and Suzanne Baker, Liz provided some facilitation to help assess the site, looking at things like orientation of the plot, prevailing wind, watershed/water sources. Then we let our imaginations run free with how to build on what’s already there, to enhance the fruit production and biodiversity.

In return for all this thinking, Liz made a splendid lunch and we managed quite a transformation.

This is what happened in Liz’s own words:

At the first meeting of the Permaculture group at Aldermoor Community Farm last year, my theme for myself emerged as “coming home”. My life is spent mostly looking outwards, running campaigns, and not much time spent with “me”. I wanted to remedy this imbalance by using Permaculture principles. So, I battled with my reluctance to ask for something for me, and asked if members of the group could meet at my house, to help me think about the design of my garden and (I later realised) help me get unstuck, help me “come home” to my garden, which is laid out as a fruit orchard.

What actually happened on the day felt quite magical to me – a group of like-minded people discussed Permaculture and its meaning for us, ate a hearty lunch together, discussed my garden and its attributes (and problems) and then went outside and worked together – on my garden! This was a personal challenge which transformed into a wonderful sense of relief – the places where my garden needed attention were worked on, we planted an apple tree and a pear tree, we took down a broken fence and used it to finish off a compost bin, a small bed was cleared for some newly-arrived strawberry plants, copious quantities of manure were spread over the fruit beds. To top it off, I was able to have a conversation with my neighbour about how the broken fence might be replaced, and we arrived at a friendly solution together.

Now, the garden feels like it flows again – it feels great to be in it now. The following day, I spent some time scattering seeds that I had been given by neighbours, pruning and just admiring how a group of caring people have – in one afternoon – helped me take my first steps on my path to coming home.

Grateful thanks to those who came and to Richard and Suzanne for co-hosting.

Liz Batten