Sometimes in the 80′s it seems to me, the vegetable garden weeded over and gave way to the dog run or the RV pad instead.
Gardening became more ornamental in nature, with an increasing trend to filling generous borders and beds with every kind of perennial that might be coaxed to grow here.
I came of gardening Ďageí in the heyday of perennial mania in the 90′s. I wanted at least one of everything! I wasnít much of a designer. I never cared whether colour clashed or I failed to achieve the full drrrrifts (said with a rolling flourish and sweep of the arm) of bounteous bold blooms in meandering swathes that were all the rage.
At least this is the way I remember it.
So, this permaculture thing. Itís the darling of the twenty-somethings who are learning better stuff at hort college than older generations who relied on weed ní feed and chemical sprays and all other manner of chemisty-enhanced gardening. But despite the new sounding name, itís not really new. Itís almost the same idea as sustainable gardening.
The earnest twenty-year old might find her grandmother gardened this way too if she listened. Permaculture involves treating the garden in a holistic way. Recycling what comes out of the garden back into it is one thing. We used to call this composting and mulching.
Permaculture also strives to emulate ecologies that will work in the existing environment.
My first regular gardening column in The Herald tomorrow is about naturalistic gardens. Itís not really about permaculture, but it could be, or sort of is. Whatever you call it, Iím a big believer in gardening with respect for the ecology at hand and to proceed in ways that enhance and work with natural processes, rather than against them.