We've been living on our 5 acres of bushland, for twelve years now. Easter, was the anniversary of moving in. Our leap into large-scale gardening, happened to coincide with the cultural celebration, for new life and new beginnings. Easter. Since this cultural celebration, just passed - it was fitting to share an areal view, of what all that Natural Sequence Farming, Permaculture and Natural Succession Gardening, has achieved during that time.
This particular aerial view, is compliments of google maps - taken in late 2018.
Can you guess which property is ours? If you said the one with the most greenery (and red icon) you'd be correct. These are long, narrow properties, so our land starts at the street, and goes right up the hill. Neighbours have cleared the property boundaries, so you get an idea of where they are. Our land is identical in size, to the two rectangular properties, on the right.
There's a green stretch, spanning through several properties, which collects the run-off from the street. It starts, two lots up from ours (left) and slopes from the highest point, down to the lowest (right). It's a shared resource, between all properties. Adding to that central collection, the back and front of our property, also slope towards that green gully too. It's become the epicentre of collected energy - namely water flow.
We've done a lot of water retention, landscaping, at the front of the property, using swales. Valuable opportunities to hold water on the slope. This transformation of greenery, is accomplished, primarily on natural rainfall. So no additional irrigation, except the very occasional pass-by with the septic water. But neighbours use their's, in a similar way.
This image was taken, after a long stretch of drought. Our land responded quickly to the initial rains, once they arrived. Especially in the main gully, where we've used Natural Sequence Farming techniques, to interrupt the flow of water. It acts like a leaky weir, allowing some water through, but reduces the full flow. Because a slow release of water, allows plants to take up moisture, for longer. Particularly, drought stricken plants, which need that extra concentration.
Now you have some idea, where the name for our property, originated. Gully grove, was intended to harness, what was normally an erosive gully in the landscape, and turn it into an opportunity for holding back water. From there, a grove of greenery would evolve. At least, that was the sparkle in our eye, a decade ago.
It wasn't until, I saw this image recently, I realised how integrated we were in the landscape now. We were making that initial intention, a reality. I could see why the female kangaroos were bringing their Joey's here. Feeling proud in the kind of way, you might feel at a community event, or family gathering - knowing exactly where you took part, but also appreciating, the many contributions it took for such abundance.
Every single year, every animal, and every plant that bit the dust (or made it through) accumulated, into something much larger than our initial efforts.
This is what can be done on less than perfect land, with less than perfect rainfall. The key being time, for interaction and accumulation. Twelve years ago, we wondered if it even possible. Or would we be like those ex-acreage owners, who warned us, it would never work in our region? We researched. Worked. Researched some more. Observed. Reviewed. Adjusted. Carefully improving our design. While juggling it all, with the life we had to continue in the mainstream, so we could continue to pay for our land.
Was it all worth it? Without question. Yes. If we had a bore though, I may not be as appreciative, of what was possible, just through natural sequences, and succession. It's all the more remarkable, because we didn't have the additional water to lavish.
So if you're ever wondering, will it work - am I wasting my time, should I commit to something that doesn't feel quiet, "normal", in the same way, everyone else is doing things? Rest assured, the journey will take you towards, more abundant rewards, because you were committed to developing it further. Just remember to step back occasionally, and really enjoy the longer view.