Permaculture in Action!

We moved to Berthoud in August of 2015.  We knew we would be starting over on gardens and such, and were feeling a little overwhelmed due to the large sloping back yard.  Fortunately for us, at the very beginning of our first Spring here, 2016, Berthoud Local offered a permaculture class – perfect timing! Minds blown! We immediately scheduled a consult with the presenter, Avery, and as a result installed all of our gardens with permaculture features, first incorporating a large mulch basin in the front-south facing garden for collecting and filtering the rainwater from our roof. This front garden is planted around this mulch basin with xeric or low water, heat loving perennials – penstemons, iris, buckwheat, catmint, geraniums, hyssops, comfrey, saponaria, veronica, rugosa roses, sages and more. These plants LOVE growing around this mulch basin!


July of 2016


June 2017

In the center of the garden are two large rugosa roses, zone 3, very hardy, low water once established. A purple flowering comfrey is planted between the two roses to collect nutrients, provide flowers for bees and other pollinators, and also to provide an ongoing supply of nourishing mulch. A few more of these comfrey plants are placed near trees and fruiting shrubs throughout the property. Below, the orange hyssop and pink saponaria are well established their first full season.

Greywater from our washing machine is channeled to irrigate the two garden beds closest to the front porch. We use the Magnetic Laundry System – no detergent! Highly recommended.

Here are the two beds fresh installed in August 2015 just after we moved in.  We added the greywater system later, in the Spring of 2016, after taking the Permaculture class.

In the back, we installed a sloping swale that receives greywater from the shower, running under the deck, across 3 gardens and into a deeper swale that runs the length of the lower portion of our sloping yard (below). The area under the deck is graded, so rainfall is also directed across these gardens.
Along the lowest part of the property, we dug a 50 foot swale about 18 inches deep. We then filled 1/2 the lower swale (below right) with tree limbs and the other half with compost, soil, and more compost. We always add glacial rock dust and mycorrhizal fungi to every garden we build.

BackFenceSwaleSept2017_edited-2There are 9 sections of this swale that are planted with pollinator-friendly hollyhocks, lavender, hardy and beautiful fruiting roses, comfrey and fragrant herbs. Across from the swale and next to the fence we planted Elderberries, Hawthorn, Goji Berries, Clematis, hardy climbing and rambling roses, ornamental grasses and mullein, mints, sages and other hardy perennials aimed at creating a fruiting, flowering pollinator-friendly hedgerow.

Still a work in progress, I’m looking forward to seeing a more mature and abundant garden this Spring and Summer!

Garden on, and always garden organically!









About Sarah Wadleigh

I am a Clinical Herbalist, Organic Gardener and Nutritional Consultant for people and companion animals. I live in Madrid, New Mexico with my wonderful husband, two little dogs and a big cat. My practice revolves around helping people create health through whole-food nutrition, nutritive herbs, lifestyle and self-awareness. With more than 20 years of experience as an animal nutritional counselor, I offer consultations to improve the health and well-being of our four-legged friends, as well as their humans. We can work together via Skype, in person,or over the phone. Let's create health for ourselves and our animal companions! Contact:
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1 Response to Permaculture in Action!

  1. KathySnapp (Clinton Elem. teacher with Edna) says:

    Glad to hear from you and see the beautiful gardens you’ve created!!!!

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