The palms have been cut down or pulled out with a tractor, including their immense root balls. Although I hate killing anything, I’m not sad to see these go. After all, all parts of them will be used back into the landscape: the fronds as backfill to help keep the lower hillside from eroding, the trunks and roots to build the swales. Some of the trunks have been cut to ten feet, and will remain as pillers for a covered walkway or as trellises for heirloom roses and fruiting vines. Some trunks have found new homes as stairs!
Everything that can be reused back into the project has been separated out. The yard might temporarily look like a junk heap to some, but it actually contains piles of potential. Permaculture is all about recycling, using locally and being creative.
The mounds of jade that covered the hillside, blocking out the growth potential for native plants which will replace it, have been chopped up and thrown into the holes for trees. The plant material will hold and release water and nutrients as it decomposes, and won’t sprout because its buried so deeply.
Roger Boddaert, the Landscape Architect in charge of this project, is always on the lookout for free usable materials. He spotted piles of broken cement and hauled them over for use as walkways, retaining areas, and anything that inspires him! The heap behind the cement is mushroom compost, hauled free from the local shiitake mushroom farm. Also in fragrant mounds is urea from the local waste and recycling plant. Urea is the solids left from treating waste water, and as it is not ‘hot’, can be used right away to amend planting soil. In this way, all of the community who are on septic have contributed to this project! 🙂