This month at PSN: Help Permapatch & Repair Cafe find a new home, learn to use natural dyes, explore patterns in nature, and try a new recipe.

News & Events
June 2017

The Permapatch community garden needs to find a new home!

Permapatch community garden and The Repair Café Northside need our help, and the great thing is it won’t take too much of your time and it could see great results.

As you may know the church site on which both groups meet is up for sale, and so both need a new venue to continue their good work. Artarmon Bowling Club (see photo to the right) is being repurposed and the community is being asked for input about what this area could be used for. It would be a great place for a new site for Permapatch and Repair Café. However, Willoughby council needs to know it’s a good idea too. This is where we come in.

We can make our voices heard by completing the survey about future use. You will need to sign up to the Willoughby website but it’s very straight forward. Just be sure to complete all the details.

When it comes to the survey, make sure you answer all questions for it to be accepted. There are only about 10 questions, all multiple choice, and  then you have the chance to make other suggestions - a good opportunity to mention the Repair Café as it isn’t listed as one of the options.

Submissions close Friday June 16th so don’t delay, have your say!

Cecilia Bird, President

  Events: Smart Choices for Everyday Permaculture
PSN Monthly Gathering

7pm Monday 19th June
Lindfield Community Centre

Tanya Mein's stories might trigger you to rethink the choices you make in your own permaculture journey!

Tanya has worked with Conservation Volunteers Australia, National Parks and Wildlife, and Hornsby and Blue Mountains Councils, in the fields of community engagement, waste education, community gardening, and Bushcare. PSN members have worked with Tanya on permabees and shows at the lovely Fagan Park Ecogarden in Galston (see photo above). Not surprisingly, Tanya loves to be outdoors, and is most at home with her hands in the dirt or on the handle of a shovel.

In her spare time, Tanya runs workshops on her own Blue Mountains property - check out her website for details.

Join us to hear Tanya sharing her insights about how working across many different, but related, fields has strongly influenced her permaculture gardening choices.

Free for members, $5 for guests. 

Doors open at 6:30pm - a good time to check out our members' library & catch up with other PSN members. Please join us for supper after the talk.

Living Skills Workshop: Natural Plant Dyes
2–4pm, Sat 17th June

Learn to use plants from your own garden to make natural dyes to create beautifully fabric. Teacher: India Betar.

Register here.

A film for our future.

PNB Monthly Gathering:
Film & Soup Night

7.15pm, Thurs 22nd June
North Narrabeen

See the award winning film Sustainable - "the future of our food system determines the future of humankind."

More here.

News & Other Bits

The amazing fractals of Romanesco broccoli- almost too lovely to eat!

Patterns in nature - videos

Patterns are part of nature and may be found in the most unexpected places. Many of the patterns follow the Fibonacci sequence and you may have explored these in the rings on a pineapple, the petals on a flower which all get a look at the sun, and the curves of snail shells.

Other examples are found on pine cones and the arrangement of the seeds of a sunflower before they drop. These patterns allow the most units to be packed in a particular space in nature.

We've found some great videos about patterns in nature which we have shared below - they may encourage you to read more about patterns in Bill Mollison’s and other authors’ books.

You might even collect some pictures or examples or encourage children to search of specimens of their own. Click on the links below and get inspired!

Doodling in Math: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant 1 of 3

Doodling in Math: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant 2 of 3

Doodling in Math: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant 3 of 3

Nature by Numbers

Diana Watson & Diana Evans, Education Team

Dan Smailes introduces the wonders of native bees at Moss House on IPD 2017. (Photos: Chris Koziarz)

An Inspiring Open Garden at International Permaculture Day (IPD)

The day was warm and sunny, the crowds were eager, the volunteers were enthusiastic, and the garden looked great - all the right ingredients to inspire a host of current and potential permaculture lovers!

By the time I arrived at 10.15 am, just after opening time, the garden at Moss House was already full of inquisitive people keen to learn something new. Over the day, at least 165 adults would wander through the garden, and many more excited kids determined to explore every pathway and corner!

Some people raced through on their quest to see as many IPD sites as possible, while others spent many hours in the garden and at the workshops. There was even one family determined not to let their Grandma miss out – they managed to get her wheelchair all the way up the steep garden to the chooks at the top! She didn't seem that happy when she arrived, but she certainly left smiling.

As well as leading hourly garden tours, Margaret ran her popular fermenting workshop. Crop Swap Sydney had tables full of produce to exchange and there were seeds galore at the Marrickville Seed Savers table. Our plant table sold out fast - people were especially interested in unusual plants, and easy-to-grow plants for balcony pots. Diego Boneto aka "Weedy Man" lead two very popular tours around nearby parkland to teach people the real value of plants our society usually dismisses as 'weeds'.

Dan Smailes from Sydney Bees was great. He very humbly claims it's just the native bees that are so interesting, but he was the best speaker I've heard - very passionate, approachable, and knowledgeable. Unusually, Dan has a native bee hive with with a perspex side so we could see the unique hive formation, and he brought along many native honey samples for us to taste.

It was so great to see different groups joining with PSN to help showcase sustainable living solutions - a testament to Margaret's great ability to connect with many people. Margaret has already thanked everyone for helping in the preparation and on the day, but I'd also like to thank everyone who helped and all the visitors who came to the event. Thanks all for being part of such an awesome day! This was PSN at its best.

Cat Dorey, Member & Moss House fan

Before: This weed covered, broken rock wall needed some serious perma-love.

Do you need a winter overhaul of your garden?

Why not book a PSN permabee in July and get some helping hands for one of those projects in your garden you've been putting off?

Look what just four pairs of hands managed to do at the May permabee at Filipa's home: the team cleared away a mass of weeds (photo above), repaired the rock wall, and built a no-dig garden between the two walls (photo below).

Permabees don't just help you, they are great way for members to learn and share skills. And every permabee gets the option of a free frog pond with pond liner supplied. Talk to Shawn about your needs ASAP!

Shawn Buchan, Garden Team

After: With the wall repaired, the team puts the final touches on the no-dig garden.

  Lemon Myrtle & Macadamia Cookies

This is one of our favourite recipes from Wendy Dwyer.

125 g butter
2/3 cup caster sugar*
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp salt*
1 cup self-raising flour
2 tsp lemon myrtle ground spice
2 1/2 cups crushed macadamias*

1. Cream the butter and sugar
2. Add egg, salt and vanilla and mix
3. Add flour and mix
4. Stir in lemon myrtle and macadamias
5. Place a teaspoon of mix on a greased tray for each biscuit
6. Bake at 180 degrees until golden brown (15-18 minutes)

*Note: This is the original recipe but Wendy uses just 1/2 cup of caster sugar, 2 cups of macadamia nuts and just a pinch of salt.

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