Our final stop was in another nice neighborhood, on an interesting triangular lot in the middle of a three way intersection. This garden too had served as a community garden with a permaculture overhaul. A fine looking gazebo was the dominant feature of the park, to one side of which sat several raised beds for community gardening, and a fine looking birdhouse made of clay pots.
Right across the street from the garden lives Diana Kersey, the primary gardener, who also does pottery, operating a workshop out of her home. Because of this overlap of interests, she created a unique watering system that has enabled them, thus far, to garden without irrigation, although a drip system appeared to have been laid out as a back up. The method being tested involves hand carrying water to fill the terracotta pots buried in the soil. Unglazed clay will slowly leech out the water inside, providing a slow and steady watering to the hugelkulturs. Nadia said it was working fairly well, and everything looked happy.
There were a few beds with conventional drip hoses, but a system could be envisioned where these hoses simply filled the pots whenever there was an abundance, from rainfall, gray water, or just a quick burst from a central water system like the city or a well. Finding ways to water our plants automatically, when we don’t live in places with regular, substantial rain, is very important, and being clever about this can save us quite a bit of our most precious resource.
For the space they had, the creators of this garden fit in quite a bit. It looked very nice, and once again, I could see the impact of a place frequently maintained by loving human hands. Many people cannot live any other way, caring for plants and creating beautiful spaces as a matter of course. Anyone who desires this way of life should be connected to an actual piece of earth where he or she can practice this deep connection. Connecting the underutilized resource of plant lovers who have no earth to cultivate with the many areas in need of renewal is an important step towards creating a better world, starting in our own communities. Somehow, we have to make sure that people have access to land, and that efforts to create real goods and beautify run down areas is economically rewarding.
So come on you cooped up garden stewards! Get connected with some land and light it up. Our success in this revolution can be measured by the number of acres carefully used and turned into productive, beautiful, parklike settings. All our infrastructure can be surrounded by these places. We only need programs to connect people to spots in need of care. These programs are still developing, though many forms of them have long been in use. Woofing, Fellowship of Intentional Communities, and other web databases are helping people find opportunities, but so much more could be done, and new organizations are called for to help route this mismanaged energy so that we can set up agorist deals that are mutually beneficial to land owners and land stewards alike.
The final stop in my San Antonio (area) permaculture tour is actually up in San Marcos, a couple of towns north on the way to Austin. Austin’s permaculture scene is another story all together, one I did not have time to delve into during my stay in Texas. Next time, for sure. Even around San Antonio and the outlying area there are many more projects, I am sure, that I did not discover. Much has changed in nine years, since I first started looking for permaculture in south Texas. It’s encouraging to see so much effort being made to build new systems, and I will continue to encourage everyone to take part in some sort of community effort to restore our world, starting with our own backyards.