Written by: Pat Bush
Guild member Amanda Albert had been doing some work with Habitat for Humanity when she asked about doing a permaculture landscape design for one of the houses being completed. She brought the exercise to one of GPG’s Tuesday meetings at Deep Roots Market in Downtown Greensboro. GPG members Rob Pritchard and Charlotte Lahecka visited the site, walked the land, then measured and took pictures. A design was developed. The following week, plants were selected from the catalog of a local nursery that provides plants for the organization. It was a challenge to stay within the general budget allowed by Habitat for landscaping, at $200, while using plants that would bring beauty and produce food for the family soon to be living in the home. Among plants selected were Asian persimmon, thornless blackberries, blueberries, serviceberry, fig trees and some perennial herbs and flowers to enhance the curbside and attract birds. A few members donated plants that were not available commercially- alpine strawberries, Jerusalem artichokes, rosemary, sea kale, beauty berry bush, and creeping raspberry. A list of plants used was created for the homeowner, along with some cultural and harvesting information.
On the day of installation, two members of GPG joined a group from Gilbarco and United Guarantee at the site who were providing labor for creating the landscape. Plants were planted according to design created, soil was amended, lawn was seeded and new plant beds were mulched. Land around the back of the house needed some contour work so that water flowed into newly installed beds as a benefit instead of running off into the neighbors yard. A berm was created for this purpose, which also served to protect the plantings. Unused rocks were gathered by the volunteers to act as a resource to build a wall for behind the berm (with the guidance of permaculture designer David Mudd).
GPG members hope to create future permaculture designs for other Habitat Houses in the area to benefit families with bountiful, sustainable gardens that make the most of each site to bring about numerous benefits for years to come.
Edible Landscaping Plant Varieties List for Habitat House
- Turkey Foot Fig
- Fuyu Persimmon
- Thornless Blackberry
- Perennial strawberries
- Blueberries-Blue Gold
- Thornless Raspberry
- Jerusalem Artichoke
- Sea Kale
Nandinia, Beautyberry, Echinacea, Rudbekia and Sedum were also added to attract beneficial insects and birds.