Whether it be earthquakes, storms, rising sea levels or a global oil shortage, there is always a risk that outside factors could adversely impact the way we live. The best we can do is be prepared. Resilience refers to the ability of individuals and communities to hold together and maintain their ability to function in the face of shocks from the outside.

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A system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystem.


This is why we are using it at BURPP.


Permaculture Profiles

A small library of important players in urban permaculture, extolling the benefits of various plants and the roles they play. Includes recipes and instructions for making herbal preparations. Also includes profiles for major influencers in permaculture and references for further reading.

Dive in here to see who’s who!


Elderberry Harvest

I wrote this in Scotland a few years back. Since the elderberries are ripening I thought I’d share it now. The tree lined horizon of rust, amber and gold reflects the unseasonal warmth of October against a canvass of azure dappled white. The air is light, fragrant with leafy musk and as we climb the hill a formation of migrant geese draws our eyes toward the sky. My daughter stops amidst the fall of a large sycamore to collect leaves, her…

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Water Wise

Here are a few strategies to help you be water wise in the garden. Water Wisely Check soil for moisture Check the soil before you water. Lift up the mulch and feel for moisture. Do you even need to water? Over-watering encourages shallow root growth and weaker plants. If water is not available near the surface, the roots will grow deeper in search of it. Water at night Or even better, early in the morning before the sun is up.…

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Water Behaviours & Restrictions

I’m watching with interest people’s reactions to recent water restrictions in Wellington. We’ve had a surprisingly warm, dry spring and a ferociously hot summer (so far!) and the annual hose pipe ban was instigated very early in the season. What interests me is where people seem to be laying most of the blame. Not on the abnormally high temperatures, lack of spring rain and other extreme weather events if the last year. Nor at their own water behaviours. But rather…

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Bill Mollison: Permaculture Profile

“Though the problems of the world seem increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.”            – Bill Mollison Bill Mollison (1928 – 2016) is one of the creators of the permaculture movement, which he co-founded with his student, David Holmgren, in the 1970s in Australia. Together they jointly developed a framework for a sustainable agricultural system based on a multi-crop of perennial trees, shrubs, herbs, fungi, and root systems, which they coined permaculture (permanent – culture).   Bill…

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Comfrey: Permaculture Profile

Symphytum spp. Boraginacaea family Comfrey is the queen of permaculture plants, and is a powerhouse in the permaculture garden – attracting pollinators and beneficial insects, providing medicinal value, and enriching soil with nutrients.   Varieties and Cultivars There are several different varieties including Symphytim officinale (medicinal comfrey), S. ibericum (dwarf comfrey) and S. uplandicum (Russian comfrey). Sizes of these vary. ‘Bocking 14’ is a sterile variety of Russian Comfrey and so is worth considering if you want to plant comfrey in discrete areas in a small garden and not…

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Urban Chickens

Urban Chickens They’re here! The eagles have landed!! After many years of dreaming about owning chickens (and far too many months building a coop), we are now the proud parents of three beautiful ladies. And not only have these chooks found us, but they’ve found a home in the coolest little suburb in Wellington. So please welcome our three lovely hyline pullets, procured pre-teen at 13 weeks, and (we like to think) saved from a life in a cage. We’ve …

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Elderflower Cordial

It’s elderflower season! Now is the time to harvest flower heads to make delicious elderflower cordial. I did exactly that last weekend when I discovered a tree laden with blossom at a friend’s small holding in Greytown. Elder is such an amazingly useful tree, providing fruit and flowers that have medicinal benefits as well being a tasty ingredient in cordial, syrup and even champagne. I’ve harvested the berries in autumn to make a delicious and nutritious cough and chest tonic.…

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Building Soil

Our plan for the next couple of years to the set up a row of vegetable beds running east-west in the back garden and surround this with a bee-friendly perennial herb garden. However, most of our garden is currently grassed, and the compacted clay is not ideal for intensive growing. Therefore we need to look at building soil and creating an environment that will encourage healthy soil life necessary for plants to grow. Complex Ecosystem A single tablespoon of earth…

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Tennants Wanted

TO LET 1st floor studio apartment with enclosed garden and full  board. Accommodations boast good natural lighting and are tastefully decorated. Perched within a fine neighbourhood, with exceptional views. Would suit a small brood of females (2-3). No males, sorry. Available immediately. We are hoping would-be tenants will soon be flocking to see this wee gem.      

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Tree in the Corner

There is a massive tree in the north-west corner of the front garden. Right in the corner, jammed up hard against the corner of the fence in such a way that it must have been planted there well before the fence was erected. In fact, the tree is so large it must be a similar vintage to our 1930s house. I’m not even sure what species the tree in the  corner is. It’s certainly native, possibly from the Myrtle family.…

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