For those of you who aren’t familiar with permaculture, it’s a way of gardening promoting lots of diversity to the point that a balanced ecological system may occur. This implies intelligent design by using as many species of plants as possible while promoting the adage of “one plant, multiple benefits”. It also implies that you invite bugs and birds, other living things and even some weeds in your garden and it distances itself from conventional rows of a single plant in sterile soil approach. It’s more than gardening ecologically. It’s trying to mimic nature itself in its functioning and to make it do most of the work for you.
In our trio, she’s the one who always get the books on unusual subjects and after her readings, acquainting us with new plants (ever heard of Russian Olives?), making us taste new recipes and showing us new techniques (from dehydrating her crops to making her own herbal shampoo).
Helene’s garden is in the suburb of Montreal, it’s a tiny place on less than a ¼ acre lot. Tiny at least for her gardening ambitions. It has little shade other than the one generated by the house and it’s situated in Canadian zone 5a. When she moved in, in 2008, it was mainly populated by hostas and daylilies.
Louise started gardening almost 30 years ago. Finding that conventional vegetable gardening was really time consuming, she turned to perennial flowering plants. For many years, she pursued the quest of obtaining blooms from April to killing frosts (around October). And she attained it. She’s currently coming back to food gardening with loads of enthusiasm, intending to mix flowers, vegetables, greens, berries, fruit and nut trees in the usual vegetal riot she loves. She also started to explore Windowfarming (www.windowfarms.org) this winter.