Working bees, as I have discovered, quickly establish allot more than just their initial purpose. They establish community and friendship. For me a closer stronger bond has been established with everyone who participated. These people gave up time in their busy lives to help me and my family and for that I feel a great deal of appreciation, respect, and fondness. When working with others in this way I found I learnt so much about them, far quicker than that of conversation alone. In the particular case of our garden project there were a number of challenges, that I will talk about more in coming posts. These challenges really highlighted the different strengths of the individuals and how they handled and communicated when faced with them. Also probably because of my male upbringing I found it more comfortable interacting with other men this way. As a result of this deeper personal knowledge, as with all knowledge, comes a deeper level of trust.
So what did we manage to get done in a single day? First we had to demolish the existing garden including the beds and chicken coop. Just think all those hours of hard work to go right back to the way the block was when we first purchased it.
Once we had a cleared area we had the challenge of working out the layout. The mandala design in Lind's book is larger than ours and her instructions are a bit weak particularly when it comes to scaling. Due to an awesome team we worked it out to precision. Many lessons were learnt here that deserves a blog of it's own.
Now that we had the layout a brick border was laid and the beds were prepared. Newspaper was first laid to kill the grass (fingers crossed) followed by rich soil that came from the previous beds, then a layer of horse poo, then pea straw.
Me posing for a photo. I handed the spade straight back to the real worker after. :-)
And voilà, a near to complete mandala garden. Even with the beginnings of a pond (hole) in the middle. In coming blogs I will talk about what inspired this design and why we chose it.
As you could see from all the photos the chickens had a wonderful time.
If I have inspired you to have your own permablitz here are a few tips:
- Plan it well. Know what you are doing and how. It will be allot easier to manage and keep people busy if you do.
- Have all the materials ready. This is another reason why you need to plan. We ran out of news paper and needed to get more.
- Ask people to bring their own gardening tools. We ended up running out of spades.
- Take care when scheduling it. One of my friends couldn't come because him and his wife had a baby, poor excuse.
- Put on a good lunch. Workers need feeding. A special thanks goes to my teenage daughter who took care of all the catering.
If you live in Adelaide and need more help organising and hosting a permablitz I would strongly recommend contacting the people at http://pezadelaide.wordpress.com/.