Thursday, July 13, 2006

Getting Started. I’ve been meaning to write something on this topic for a while and prompted by Liam’s comment on the 28th June blog, here goes. The perfect examples one finds in books, courses and especially TV programmes can be enough to put anyone off. Bob Flowerdew reckons that “one of the major problems that has beset gardening has been the plethora of artificial and unrealistic standards set by garden designers and the grow-it-for-show exhibitors.” He goes on to say “Television programmes are the most misleading as it so easy for them to cheat. Do not believe all that you see…” The No-Work Garden pp8,14.

There are many ways to get started and your chosen method must suit your own character; I have to say that I’m unfortunately very impatient and am keen to get away from the planning process (so important in permaculture) and into the action! So, it was music to my ears to read (a long time ago, so I can’t remember which book) the industrialist and company trouble-shooter, John Harvey Jones explain one of his theories, which goes something like this: two teams are set the same task. Team A decides to remain seated (perhaps in a semi-circle of beanbags, complete with a flip-chart) until they have thrashed-out and agreed on the “right” way to go. Team B, however, after a much more cursory discussion, get going. JH-J argues that, by virtue of the fact that they are doing something, and therefore by experiential learning, Team B will discover that they are moving in the wrong direction will turn around and head in the right direction and overtake Team A, who are still talking.

This works for me and explains our bumbling progress, full of mistakes and frustrations but at least we’re doing it. The photo above is of me trying to sort out the electric goose fencing and, yes, I did give myself a shock when trying to work out how the fence tester worked! For more inspiration, read Michael Guerra’s article in Permaculture Magazine reflecting on how he was both exhausted and confused by his Permaculture Design Course. Also inspired, however, he has gone on to become perhaps Britain’s best-known small-space urban permaculturist and has published The Edible Container Garden. So, don’t be put off by the experts and start permaculturing!