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The Permaculture Nature Strip

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  • The Permaculture Nature Strip

    Hello fellow Permies! Good to see you all still going from strength to strength.

    I am properly racking my brains to come up with an idea of what to plant on my clients nature strip.

    The strip is a 700mm wide by 20m long. It is in front of a new bright white picket fence and has a S-W aspect, on a main road in a very busy market town, in the sub-tropics, sunshine coast hinterland.On the other side of the fence are a few natives, bangalow palms and a candlenut giving shade till after 1pm in summer.

    I have suggested Lavender and Elysium. Pineapple Sage and Aloe, Perennial Basil and Day Lillies, Rosemary and Society Garlic. The client said that people might grab stuff on the way back from the market,lol. He also said they can look 'straggly', which is true,they can if not maintained.

    So I'm thinking they want something to wow the passers by, something 'Architectural', and reasonably low maintenance unless a showpiece i.e expensive.

    The Permie in me discriminates against purely ornamental plants, as in these crazy uncertain times we need to be planting food and medicine or at least mulch plants and legumes.

    So I would really appreciate some ideas from some other heads. Money is not an issue to the client so any suggestions will be full considered. Would a coconut,cacao, coffee and vanilla work maybe?!?

    The winning suggestion WILL be implemented, so its a chance to shine in a very prominent position.

  • #2
    Hey permanut - the whole area will be covered in pigface a tough, showy, and adaptable plant that is an impressive food plant.

    They are cheap as chips so you may have to charge three times their worth just to impress your client but it will be worth it just to see to contented look on their face.
    Last edited by purplepear; 10-12-2010, 07:15 PM.
    Purple Pear Farm
    Permaculture Education and Community Supported Agriculture


    • #3
      I presume you are going to put in more than one plant. I definiltey think you should put in some sort of legume with its bacterial starter. I've got some agati seed which i haven't put in yet. Its a small tree (have a look on wiki images) this will let in plenty of light. It has nice delicate leaves and a slender trunk.I a think a row of these would be nice. The flowers are edible. They are used a lot in india i believe. I still haven't figured out where to plant mine. Actually maybe in my mandala garden for a bit of light shade in the hot summer afternoon on my pooor surburnt and beaten vegie patch. This is my tropical garden patch by the way. this is how Penny describes them

      fast growing perennial tree that is uusally short -lived. it grow to about 6m and has alternat pinnate leages iwth numerou leaflets. The large showy white flowers occur in summer and are followed y long narrow green pods that can be 30cm long and contain as many as 50 seeds. Needs full sun and plenty of water during dry weather. sew in spring.

      Other things could also chosen from the asian vegetable list. Have you got Penny woodwards books. This will probably distract most passersby as they won't know its food in so many cases. Put in coriander all over. Its too hot here but i do so love it and keep struggling with any i can get to grow.

      Will they be watering it or will it have to fend for itself?

      chillis are pretty.


      • #4
        Purplepear what an excellent choice.I am familiar with old Pigface, what a stroke of brilliance. Whilst pigface is striking enough in its own right, I am quite partial to grouping plants with at least a minimum of two. Is there something you could suggest to place above it as well? I need to learn more about costing jobs also!
        Massive respect Purplepear you might have just clinched it already.

        Sun burn I'm going to check out the Agati, i have not heard of that legume tree ( i dont reckon the showy white flowers will be fully appreciated against the white fence but). i will have to check out Penny Woodwards books too, Asian vegetables are a something I need to get into. I recently planted some vegetable peppers which are very tasty and don't look particularly edibe, which are good but a bit unruly though running everywhere. Looks very good next to the pineapple sage in my garden
        Coriander is my all time favourite herb, ive had some success in winter, but in summer it just bolts to seed. I guess I need to think about microclimate.
        It will be watered regular from an irrigation system on a timer. Chilies are striking especially those multicouloured birds eyes,but i'm thinking something longer lived and not so nickable. Thank you very much for your suggestions.


        • #5
          Do people really pinch things from nature strip plantings. I remember some lovely ornamental (I guess they were ornamental) in Sydney. I guess I am not the sort of person to strip someone else's plant of its fruits but I would always take a cutting from a healthy bushy plant. Those people should worry less about getting robbed of a few pieces of vegie matter. It is the public property after all. I bet hardly anything would be taken and if it was, i bet there'd only be one or two people doing it.


          • #6
            G'day permanut

            Yeah, PP is on the money with Pigface. We grow a lot of the Inland (Carpobrotus modestus) variety here. They are a great permaculture plant with many uses and much appeal. One of my favourite attributes of the Carpobrotus sp. is their medicinal qualities, particularly as a treatment for conjunctivitis (break off a piece, rub it in the corners of the effected eye before sleep, and when you wake in the morning the eye will be normal). If it is the 'wow' effect that you are after, why not use the Pigface as the ground cover, and whack in some taller growing succulents closer to the centre line? Perhaps Yucca (Yucca whipplei) might fit the (client's) bill?

            Oh, and what does Council have to say about you digging up 'their' naturestrip and planting it our with 'dangerous' things?

            Keep up the good work, Markos
            MRC Planning Research and Development ~ truly sustainable urban, rural and environmental planning outcomes

            The History of Regional Planning in Australia ~ a research project

            Currently reading: Ballinger (2012) An Inch of Rain: A Water History of Northern Victoria


            • #7
              As far as basil goes, try some of the less well known varieties, for example, cinnamon basil, has an interesting flavour, and an attractive purple-ish (I'm a bloke, OK?) tinge to the internal stems.

              If you want a good soil builder, herbal/medicinal/food, and vandal proof plant, you can't beat stinging nettle!

              I'm looking at planting my nature strip this year, too. The council "gave" us two Claret Ash shrubs, planted them, watered them twice, and then disappeared. The frontage is similar to permanuts', but I could go to a couple of metres wide if I have to. The road frontage is N/S.
              I have a large (almost inexhaustable supply) of elderberry cuttings (S. nigra), comfrey, and potatoes going to seed. Plus, due to the long wet weather here, mulching hay is about $2.50 bale (lucerne) at the moment.

              So I'll be watching this thread with interest
              Don Hansford
              Permaculture Design Warwick P/L
              ================================================== =====
              Light travels faster than sound: This is why some people appear bright, until you hear them speak!


              • #8
                I reckon the coffee idea is on the money too. You could grow it above and the pigface under. It is an attractive tidy shrub, with tiny white flowers and pretty red berries (I'm sure you know that already) and most passers by would not have a clue that you can get coffee off a plant. If it drops it's berries because no one loves it then it isn't going to be a mess with rotten fruit attracting fruit fly and maggots etc.


                • #9
                  How abaout craploads of Comfrey?
                  PDC completed 2010 @ Telopea Mtn Permaculture, Monbulk VIC


                  • #10
                    As a teenager, I used to pinch things from nature strips I must say, but I only pinched plum-looking fruits from trees planted on the verge, not by the owners. The trees always looked neglected and I don't think the owners ever came out and ate anything.

                    It's certainly perfectly legal to pinch fruit from the verge because it's council-owned land. I imagine you'd get kids pinching things and the odd neighbour or passerby.

                    I assume the council permits verge gardens in this area? Personally, for non-productive plants, I love Bromeliads and they're certainly architectural, but SW might mean harsh sun after 1 pm. The coffee will need to be sheltered but I imagine you already know that - I learnt the hard way by killing one of the two plants we brought home from the nursery.

                    vanilla would certainly earn showoff points, but not sure whether your climate is suited to it - I'm a strictly novice gardener who only got into gardening properly in May this year (when we bought a house).


                    • #11
                      Sorry I did not update this thread yet. The client couldn't make up his mind what he wanted and also we had a disagreement about him spraying round-up around the place.
                      It was as i left it for a while just prepared and mulched for a good planting, then one day i passed by an noticed it had been turfed!!
                      I sneaked in to check on the Banana circle and was pleased to see that he at least seems to be managing it well with plenty of various Biomass in the centre.


                      • #12
                        Purplepear! You wouldn't charge your client three times as much???? You are so bad!!

                        I like herb and flower borders, with upright rosemary as the main structural item, just making sure that all the other herbs are drought tolerant and won't get overwatered. I've killed plenty of lavender and rosemary by having it too close to watering sources. Garlic chives look great and have wonderful lavender flowers, nasturtiums tumble around and reseed, Mexican sage is great for tall, purple spiky, cosmos go most of the summer and are very easy.
                        "Life flows on within you and without you"...George Harrison
                        Coastal California, USA, Mediterranean climate - no summer rain, a little frost mid-winter


                        • #13
                          I was young back then Sweetpea but I guess it still applies. There are some that do not appreciate what you do unless it costs plenty.
                          Purple Pear Farm
                          Permaculture Education and Community Supported Agriculture


                          • #14
                            I don't think we ever have to worry about what council thinks now, we can just blame Costa who is promoting verge planting on Gardening Australia hehe, what a man, what a beard!


                            • #15
                              I reckon there's a whole ecosystem happening in that beard!