While quietly working in the garden one evening I realized how much I enjoy this time amidst the busyness of the garden community. Ladybugs eating aphids, aphids eating the kale, cucumbers getting out of control, the tomatoes that need pruning, why is that plant growing so well and the one next to it struggling, and what is that growing amidst the squash?  Change is constant and observation is key to managing our growing and living spaces.

The first principle of permaculture is to observe and interact. It’s this practice of observation and interaction that teaches us the most while tending a small garden or stewarding large wild spaces.  Notice the broken branch or scat in the pathway, how the sugrasshopper on cukesn rests on the apple tree in the late afternoon, a nest high in the mulberry tree, or an unfamiliar animal track in the mud. It’s these connections, or relationships between all elements in the landscape that makes us good stewards of the land.  Bill Mollison, the founder of Permaculture, stated, “Design is a connection between things. It’s not water, or a chicken, or the tree. It is how the water, the chicken and the tree are connected… as soon as you’ve got the connection you can feed the chicken from the tree”.

Observation should be an ongoing practice, in your 100 foot square garden or on your 50 acre meadow. Use all your senses to recognize patterns, how elements interact, the quality of soil, signs of predators, and simply how we fit into the natural processes occurring around us.

The natural environment can teach us a great deal and help us be better stewards. Next time you’re watering the tomatoes or wandering along the river, simply take notice.


Ceres Edible Landscaping wants to help you grow food and maintain your garden as a healthy and ecologically diverse ecosystem. We provide garden consultations, design, installation and organic maintenance services from a permaculture perspective. Call Nora for an appointment to discuss your garden: 250.748.8506.



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