A couple of people indicated that permaculture was new to them. I'm definitely not an expert, that's why I want to take a few classes but here is a definition from Permaculture.org:
Permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor. It teaches us how build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities and much more.
Or another one: (permanent agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people, providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable and ethical way.
As I see it, the idea is to use careful design to mimic the complexity of a natural system, encouraging diversity, interconnection and sustainability. Think of the typical suburban subdivision. Not much diversity, complexity or interconnection there. And it's not very sustainable. Now think of a forest. LOTS of diversity, plants and animals interconnected to support each other sustainably. One concept of permaculture is to design a "food forest" in our landscape.
Mostly today I was working on the design for the area that will be the herb and wildflower garden (mainly flowers that have tea and/or medicinal uses). This area will also eventually incorporate a patio area with seating and a space for our fire pit. I'm also planning to put in a trellis and was thinking about putting either scarlet runner beans or cucumbers on it this year. In doing some checking online about companion planting I learned something and now have a new flower to put on my list to plant. I learned that Four O'clocks, flowers that I grew when I was a child (I tried a sundial garden once) are fatally attractive to Japanese Beetles. It seems that the beetles find them irresistible and will fly to devour them. However, it also seems that there is something in the plant that kills the beetles. So they don't live to reproduce. Hmmm, considering how many beetles we had in the garden last year this sounds like an excellent addition. I'm thinking a few rows of these are in store. That, and they smell good.
And it's snowing here again. I believe I saw somewhere that we have now set a record for the longest number of days with continuous snow cover here. It feels like it. I am totally ready for spring. I'm itching to start little seeds but I know it's still to early. I'll have to satisfy myself with the little pot of chive seedlings on the windowsill. And my geraniums. We have a hanging basket of pink geraniums that we have had since the spring of 2008. We bring it in in the winter and put it out again in the spring. It has a bunch of flower buds shooting up. It had a couple of flowers last week and it was so nice to see something blooming.