Monday, December 29, 2008

edible christmas tree

Hiromi Koiwa's micro christmas tree.
Every Year I think up some alternative to a plastic or a cut-down tree, but this year my housemate beat me to it.
Hiromi is one of those furtive midnight cooks, and when I woke up, this is what she had concocted. Delicious spicy cookies, Boontje decoration, rosemary from grandma Monica's garden, and a left-over plastic orchid from the christmas decoration I did for Buoyancy Foundation. Mutttree.

And who was first to munch on it? Galligher the cat.

Monday, December 22, 2008

urban permaculture micro-gardens

Its true that some young Tokyo residents sleep diagonally because their apartment is shorter than them. Knowing this makes these canned micro-gardens seem a little less silly: they aren't just a shopping diversion, but fill a real need for the young and urban who need green and nurturing in their lives.
Do-it-yourself eggshell gardens. These are plastic though, but a good start.

These canned edible gardens are from one of my favorite Japanese retail experiences, LOFT, in Shibuya, Tokyo. You don't even have to buy anything, just get inspired by quirky designs for intimately useful things: lunchboxes, sun umbrellas, and such.

I'm making my own canned gardens at the moment, and collecting pictures for inspiration. If you know of any, or have lived with any successfully, Id love to hear from you.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

'Elegance is refusal', even on a plastic doorstep garden

It was in Harajuku, Tokyo that I came across my very first beautiful Plastic-filled Edge-garden.

So where does the beauty come from? Maybe that every element in this garden shows love and interaction - bikes to ride, fish to feed, cleanliness to create with bright mob-buckets, and water to be cherished.All the dust, fallen leaves, and grime that give a tired air to most doorsteps have been carefully removed. How can they bother doing this while the rest of us cannot? The answer is on display for us to learn from: the cleaning goods are all at hand, and attractive themselves.
I get the feeling that the act of cleaning is CHOSEN by the residents, not a duty they are trying to evade. This is a nice way to live.
There are lots more colors than I would use, but they all have a similar intensity, again, they are SELECTED. Crude primary colored or black pots exist, but this family didn't choose to buy them or use them, just because they were there (they are always there). 'Elegance is refusal' said Coco Chanel. Even on a doorstep full of jolly plastic cleaning goods.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Permaculture Diary for a Beautiful 2009

A permaculture 'edge' garden, on the seashore, from the gorgeous and generative Permaculture Diary 2009.

I think you should buy this diary.
Sometimes Permaculture can look scruffy, but every inch of this diary has clarity, beauty and usefulness. Its virtue is probably contageous, it will change your life and connect you to good people. The wonderful Milkwood Permaculture site has already written a great Permaculture diary review here, so I don't have to.

Why did I buy twenty copies?
Because I like to support people doing things I admire, and usually, I like people who make the kind of things I admire. I was right: The author Michele Margolis, turned out to be an adorable woman, with a lovely turn of phrase. She took a risk in investing energy and money in creating something excellent, and got to hang out with all the most active people in Permaculture. Thats really living life.
Also I figure that if I'm not yet doing gallant, world-changing things, the second best thing is to support somebody who is. It then seeps in, by osmosis.
And, I want her project to succeed, so I can buy another gorgeous diary next year.
Buy one of me (I only have 3 left. I made new friends selling them, and I love making all the creative new friend I can get).
Even better, buy ten wholesale from Michele and make a little profit as you make your own new friends selling them or giving them as Christmas gifts. Better still, give them as thank-you gifts to the volunteers who work and learn from you in your garden.

Its all about making productive connections. I must remember that: making productive connections = alive. Thats what the biophysicists say anyway, and they've thought hard about such things.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Outdoor shower for a clean green me, grateful green garden

outdoor room shower from
My first outdoor shower experience was in Hawaii. The beach with its whales and white sand stretching before me, the volcanic mountain raising behind me, thick with butterflies, birds and flowers, with NOTHING between me and nature, but droplets of warm water.
I have wanted an outdoor shower ever since.
My garden has wanted me to have an outdoor shower, ever since the water restrictions began, and the sprinkling system was banished. To see good shower water go down the drain for no good reason makes me feel silly, when things I love are dying a few meters away.

Why do I still not have that outdoor shower?

Well, I need :
A gate, and some privacy screens so that I don't distress the neighbours.
maybe I could go to the Restorer's barn in Castlemaine, and get something quirky. Or look up a metalwork craft site
A way to get the water heated outside
coiled black pipe on the roof? How would I adjust the temperature? The water heater is less than a meter from where I want the shower. Plumber?
A way to get the water collected in swales, so seep slowly, without attracting mosquitoes.

A way to get excess water into the sewer, as legally required.
A Green plumber, again.

Portable outdoor shower from a Belgian Design site.
Water the dry patches of your garden, under the stars.
No soap, of course. Maybe Soapwart plant?

If you have any inspiring outdoor shower stories or pictures, or even better, practical advice, please click on the 'comments' below, and I will be grateful.