Sunday, June 7, 2015

Zone Planting and Design

Zones in garden design are where you attempt to consider;
How often you have to use or service an element
matched with
The energy at the location.

It is a very useful concept to use when discussing a garden design and where to put plants and other elements.

I'd quite like to use the term Ki rather than energy but I'd have to describe that anyway so I may as well stay with energy. As what you are considering is not merely Energy, ie joules of work, but can include a lot of aspects, most especially attention. Distance, if it is uphill, how often you walk past on the way to something else (eg the street or car park), if it is in view, if you think about it, if it is behind something else.

Zones are not hard and fast definite boundaries, they may well transition
Not all places will have all zones. Most urban places only have zones 0,1,2
Zones can also change over time.

Zone 1: Usually your main kitchen garden, annual plants, wormfarms to use scraps. May include a lot of flowers, food for the soul as you'll be in and looking at it.
It is usually close to home, easy to see and keep in mind. You'll probably find yourself in it even without meaning to.
Usually this is the zone you start with and gradually move out from once it is set up.

Zone 2: Still pretty easy to reach but might take some effort.
This is where you put things that want some attention but are pretty good at looking after themselves.

perennials and vegetables which have a long growing season like pumpkins.
fruit trees
compost bins (I tend to stick one of these in every zone)
bee hives
berry runs
poultry enclosures

Zone 3: The easiest description is Farm land.
Animals, cows, sheep, horses.
Long term crops

Zone 4: Is almost wild but is used and somewhat maintained.
Foraging, eg black berries or mushrooms, hunting, firewood
Places the animals still wander
Weeds might be controlled or certain plants given a bit of help.
Seeds dropped etc

Zone 5: Is unmanaged by human control. A wilderness conservation area.
Natural bushland, forest etc.
If you have a national park next door. Or an area specifically left alone.

Some people also discuss Zone 0, ie the home itself, which may include pot plants, window sill gardens, home energy design, thermal mass etc.

Some even talk abut Zone 00. Yourself, health, mental set and philosophy etc.

So for the Wallaby Garden
I have multiple zone 1.
My fenced home garden around the bedroom container. Just outside the door and windows. Walked past in the way from home to virtually anywhere. However it is beside and behind, not out the door.

The water garden area around the pond.
This is getting a lot of attention at the moment but in time will probably change to zone 2, especially as the pond sections grow and make access a little harder.

Zone 2:
These are a little further away.

Up by the gate that I see and drive past but have to deliberately walk to.

The berry runs. Near the big room but a bit far from the bedroom. Berries should need minimal attention but as the main room gets used more in the future they will get more automatic zone 1 attention.

Various garden beds or trees generally with their own fence but often reliant on placement below slopes for watering. Sometimes on the paths to other places on the property. I tend to have herbs and self seeding plants in these as well as some of the younger trees.

The other zone 2 area that is a good example of how things can vary is right out my door.
The beds on the left and right mainly have pest repellent plants as you often just walk past and not notice.
The main area has only newly been fenced and is a construction site for the kitchen and bathroom.
So perennial herbs are planted but hardy things that hopefully need minimal attention.
Once the construction is done it will become my main zone 1 garden for edibles.

Zone 3 and 4 is fairly combined for me.
The blackberry, hawthorn, sweet briar rose, mushrooms and other wild foraging plants are spread in the zone 3 fields and the more wild zone 4 slopes.
Everywhere not fenced the cows tend to go. I will set up cell grazing later which will separate the 3 zone more.
Some of the zone 2 sheltered gardens are likely to become zone 3 long term herb gardens.

My zone 5 conservation area is mainly the creek I believe was managed and
brought to a reasonable 'native' state by a Landcare group sometime in the past.
I will maintain it, reduce weeds, add some zone 2 type gardens, try to keep the Koalas happy.
I also intend to add a wildlife corridor to my north, so maybe that counts. Current plan is more to use that as a cell grazing area so more zone 3 like.