A Forest Garden for Every Occasion

While “Food Forests” or “Forest Gardens” have become something of a gardening fad these days, there’s really nothing new about them at all. In fact, some academic sources have begun calling them “the world’s oldest land use.”   In my opinion, we modern “Forest Gardeners” have a lot to learn from the traditional, slowly-evolved gardens that were once the backbone of cultures around the world. Researchers across many disciplines from Agronomy and economics to ecology and anthropology have delved deeply into the well-known, ancient food forests across the Asian and African tropics (as well as the Amazon, which some researchers … Continue reading A Forest Garden for Every Occasion

Permaculture: A New Baseline for "Thriving"

When Permaculture Designer Mark Lakeman recently visited with Kalamazoo, I spoke with him about our American mindset of seeing everything as either a problem to be solved or as just another utilitarian tool for survival.  Our homes, yards and communities are such a problem for us that we spend all our time dreaming, planning, saving and working so that we can go someplace else where people live more beautiful lives in more beautiful surroundings. Then, when it’s time to come home, we get depressed. And as soon as we’re back, we start saving up for the next trip away.  What … Continue reading Permaculture: A New Baseline for "Thriving"

Spring at Lillie House

It’s springtime and we’ve been busy planting our final round of intensive plantings in our forest gardens. This year, we’re adding dozens of new perennial and self sowing species to our collection of edible and medicinal plants and we’re pretty excited about them.  We also re-dug part of our ditch and swale system that handles water from the down-spouts that drain half of our roof area.  In the four years this little water system has been in place it has created a massive amount of soil, which had completely filled the drains and swales, causing them to stop functioning properly. … Continue reading Spring at Lillie House

Perennial Gardening at Mother Earth News

For folks who want to add more Perennials to their garden, here’s a good starter article with beautiful pictures and plant profiles, from Mother Earth News: http://www.motherearthliving.com/gardening/perennial-food-garden-zmfz15mazhou.aspx?PageId=1 —————- On a different note, I had a great time this weekend meeting new friends at the Mark Lakeman presentation and the Garden of Hope Exhibit, where I gave a presentation on Permaculture.  As one of the organizers of the Mark Lakeman event, I’ve been very busy the last few days with people who were inspired by Mark and who are eager to start doing “City Repair” and Permaculture in Kalamazoo!  As such, … Continue reading Perennial Gardening at Mother Earth News