I aimed to arrive just before lunchtime and heard the blitz buzz a whole block before Angel Street. The hosts of the blitz had put on an amazing spread: pumpkin soup, salad, chocolate cake, fruit, lemongrass & mint cordial. I added my box of oranges to the lot, and checked in with the Permaculture Design map and ‘to do’ list to find a good spot for the basil.
Some faces I recognised, many I didn’t. I sparked up a conversation with an 8-year old who was looking after the tomatoes, and expertly showed my where the basil should go as a companion plant – impressed! I can’t remember the last time I had spoken to someone under the age of 20 – it reminded me, they’re just like us, but well…you know – smaller and with snot.
During lunch I got to meet the rest of the blitzers, some were friends of the house, others had heard about the project through others or from the mailing lists or on Facebook. There were trendies, oldies, indies, yuppies, babies and even a few stray cats and dogs.
People broke into smaller groups, each focusing on a part of the garden, then chopping and changing as things took shape. At one point there was some impromptu arbory – with branches from a massive oak tree being expertly pulled to earth to allow more sun to flow into the garden.
I was working alongside a couple of people that had just moved from Italy to Sydney – it was also their third blitz. Like me their house was too small to host a Permablitz, so the reciprocity involved, getting to meet the neighbours, growing food and playing in a garden all day was the draw card.
Before long, the design map taped to the tree started resembling was formerly a whole bunch or rubble and asthma weed. We’d made a herb spiral in the middle of the garden, the side path where it was shady was now populated with Vietnamese mint and Penny Royal to keep the mozzies out and the chook shed and lizard sanctuary were coming together.
The day was topped-off with a bit of a wrap-up, afternoon tea and a couple of beers. The permaculture designers explained the principles underlying the foundation of the garden – where ‘innovations’ had occurred, and explained the review process of the permaculture systems within the garden i.e. whether the companion plants were doing their jobs and keeping the bugs away, if enough food is being produced, soil quality etc.
Overall, I was grubby, smiley, had a couple of new friends a bunch of rhubarb for now and a whole new pesticide-free garden to eat from well into the future. Score - 8.5