A Beginner’s Permaculture Garden Make-Over

A collection of patterns for an easy, low-work home garden. One of our Permaculture principles is “Design from Patterns to Specifics.” These patterns create a garden that minimizes some of the most common draw-backs of home gardening: the work, the weeds, maintaining paths, watering, fighting pests and getting haphazard harvest results. They’re especially chosen to bring new life to that old, over-grown garden everyone seems to have in the back yard.  This single key-hole design works for a garden between 10′ * 10′ to about 15′ x 15′.  We use most of these patterns in all of our beds at Lillie … Continue reading A Beginner’s Permaculture Garden Make-Over

What is Permaculture?

For all of our evolutionary history, feast or famine has mostly been the “luck of the draw.” While one family found themselves well-fed and wealthy in the environment of an oasis, the next had to make due in the desert. One valley was green and fertile while the next was a barrens and we human inhabitants simply accepted our lot. Or we fought to take someone else’s.  The primary insight of Permaculture is that this does not have to be so. We can design our human habitats to meet our needs by emulating and working with nature instead of wasting … Continue reading What is Permaculture?

Creative Language

Creative artists often speak a strange other-worldly language–the mother tongue of a land where anything’s possible, the laws of physics aren’t enforced and nobody’s paid their syntax in years. John Frusciante speaking of ghosts in my previous post isn’t too unusual in the world of artists. Captain Beefheart also described songs as ghosts and spirits. And sculptors often say they just reveal what’s already there waiting in the stone, chipping away the stuff covering it up. Almost universally, creative artists feel their works come from somewhere else and that too much rational thought only gets in the way. To be … Continue reading Creative Language


There’s a story that the Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s second guitarist, John Frusciante, used to tell that I just love. When john was recording his first album with the Chillis, they’d play pieces back, and he’d start yelling “listen to that! Do you hear the ghosts there?” John said that he heard ghosts and spirits all over their records. Of course, at this time, John was looking deeply ravaged by drug addiction, so people started giving him some worried looks when he’d mention ghosts. Understanding the danger here, Flea, their bassist, took John aside and said “buddy, not everybody can … Continue reading Ghosts

Designing a Permaculture Hedgerow

Last night, I had the opportunity to join in a permaculture discussion where hedgerows came up, and people who know me know that I’m crazy about hedges. As modern agricultural research turns towards perennial crops, and polyculture plantings, the hedgerow stands out as a traditional and uniquely adapted system for utilizing both. Better still, these woody perennial polyculture systems can do extra work by providing building and craft materials, ample carbonaceous material for composting, providing windbreaks, wildlife shelter, fences for wildlife, create fire and erosion barriers, provide forage, protect livestock or humans, and greatly increase the biodiversity that has a … Continue reading Designing a Permaculture Hedgerow