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Medicine Garden Cover Sheet

Medicine Garden Cover Sheet

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Published by WildHeartPerm
Medicine Garden Cover Sheet
Medicine Garden Cover Sheet

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Published by: WildHeartPerm on Nov 02, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Design Cover Sheet 
Title of Design
St Werburghs Medicine Garden
Dates of Design
October 2012 – January 2013
Design Brief
The brief of this design was to create a medicine garden based on a donated allotment plot that could be used as a community garden with multiple functions. The main desires were for a teaching space, so that community herbalists from the Rhizome Clinic could have somewhere for the participants in their herbal courses to see plants through their cycles, improve their plant identification and have practical experience harvest medicines. The allotment was also visioned as a growing space, here plants could be grown for demonstration so that people can become familiar with them, as well as have some plant material available for medicine making collectively. Finally the allotment was also planned as a social space for community events and participation. I become involved at the invitation of Becs Griffiths, a friend from the Rhizome Clinic and co-organiser of the Radical Herbalism Gathering. A number of other people involved had horticultural experience but not in growing medicinal plants, therefore I was enrolled to assist in designing a realistic planting plan that the community group forming could then implement.
How this design meets the Assessment Criteria: Demonstrating Design Skills 
Overview of Design Process
Interviewing Becs & others involved in the allotment project
Researching & collating potential plants to grow
Undertaking a site survey Analysis
Undertaking a herbs needs & yields analysis to assess which plants are suitable for the site
Applying permaculture principles Design
Preparing a concept plan
Preparing a final design Implementation
The community group are implementing the design, which is documented on their facebook page (see my design documentation on my website) Evaluation
Can be seen in this sheet
I receive semi-regular feedback about how the community project is going in relationship to the design
Use of Permaculture Ethics, Principles & Theory
See final design report. In summary:
Observe & Interact –survey undertaken, observations & research of medicinal plants
Catch & Store energy – the hazel & willow borders catch and store energy when
used from local resources, the garden is designed to save energy (regularly harvested & annual plants at the top of the slope), water butt
Obtain a Yield – successful teaching space, quantity of plant to enable harvesting, community outcomes
Apply self regulation & accept feedback – ensuring plant coverage to prevent unnecessary weeding, self sowing plants and maximised perennials to create as much of a self sustaining system as possible
Use & value renewable resources & services – optimising volunteer labour, using scavenged resources & recycled materials, mulching & building soil
Produce no waste – compost system re-designed, reclaimed materials, optimum quantity of each herb so as to not produce ‘waste’ or surplus plant material that is unharvested
Design from patterns to details – looking at the whole space holistically & path layout, taking teaching beds concept as a model for the details
Integrate rather than segregate – optimising the different niches to make the most of the small space, for example medicinal climbers up the fence, medicinal aquatic plants in the pond already established
Use small & slow solutions – ensuring a realistic implementation plan, longer term sheet mulching & ongoing community efforts
Use & value diversity – huge diversity of medicinal plants, aim for diversity over material quantity as teaching is main function
Use edges & value the marginal – bed layout is optimising edges, also using other edges of space, such as fences & structures as spaces for vertical growing
Creatively use & respond to change – being aware design will change over time depending on resources that become available, new people becoming involved, donated plants and so forth
Earth care – overharvesting of medicinal plants & industrial agriculturally grown medicinal crops are harming ecosystems across the planet. Growing our own medicine, and learning this skills as a community is very important, hence the ethic nature of this allotment.
People care – supporting people to learn about herbalism, nourish themselves and develop their self care practices. Bringing people together to build community through gardening & herbs.
Fair shares – sharing medicinal harvests, organising for greater accessibility to herbal medicine
Design Tools & Techniques Used
Needs & Yields Analysis
David Holmgren’s Principles
How this design meets the Assessment Criteria: Learning from, and developing your permaculture practice 
Effectiveness of Design & Design Outcomes
Design outcomes:
The design has been embraced by the group and is being implemented over time.
Yields will include:
Community empowerment through working together collectively
Medicine for volunteers
Learning for everyone who visits the site, as well as how this benefit cascades (e.g. more people learning how to grow & make medicine)
Biodiversity benefits for the allotment
Seed security & genetic stewardship through cultivating uncommon medicinal plants Personal & professional outcomes for myself:

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