Low-maintenance feature gardens for inspiration, education and wildlife habitat

Rachel Stephenson

Pascoe Vale Girls College Succulent planter 2018.  Mural by Michael Fikaris

“..Over the past two years my workplace has undergone an environmental transformation. ….. The beauty of our school garden is a calming and positive influence from all angles and brings joy and education to all…”
Shirley D, Pascoe Vale Girls College

Succulent Garden - Peace Wadi, Jordan

Rachel created this garden as a drought hardy flowering entrance to the project area.
Thank you for the hosting, support and experience Abu Fares, Abu Baker, Gary, Zahara and the puppies.

' Greening the Desert' Permaculture in the Jordan Valley

  In October 2018 Rachel took part in a 'Greening the Desert' Permaculture internship with Geoff and Nadia Lawton in Jawasari, Jordan Valley.
The project, in it's 10th year, demonstrates the ability of Permaculture to convert an extremely depleted landscape to a now shady, and abundant, oasis.

The images below show the region's arid landscape, inhabited by traditional Bedouin communities and largely Palestinian refugee settlements.
Water is scarce, and expensive.  When rain does come due to the steep slopes with little to no vegetation, the hillsides can collapse.  Permaculture begins the restoration by slowing and soaking the water into the land, and uses trees most suited to these extreme conditions (ie Prosopis juliflora) as first stage nurse trees.  These trees fix nitrogen, cast shade for secondary plantings and aid in the building of soil.

Peace Wadi - Children of the Valley, Jordan

Peace Wadi is a farm 5kms from the King Hussein border crossing which hosts international visitors to help build a bridge of peace to neighbouring Palestine.  Predominantly a date plantation for 30 years they are introducing Permaculture practices to diversify their system (ie food forests, animals and the capture and storage of energy). Peace Wadi hosts an annual festival for Khobaizeh (Common Mallow) to celebrates this humble and nutritious Palestinian food.

Om Sleiman Farm - Bil'in, Ramallah, Palestine

Om Sleiman (meaning ladybird) is a small community farm in the Ramallah area which grows organic produce in a Community Supported Agricultural model (CSA).  Growing food in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is challenging on a daily level.  Palestinians have restricted access to water, arable land and the opportunity to sell their produce.  Projects such as this farm encourage community and local self-sufficiency through workshops, education (Permaculture, natural building, organic food production) and hosting volunteers.

Boroondara (Kew) Cemetery Melbourne

Returning these cemetery grounds to the original design as a Botanical Garden, caring for trees and planting drought-tolerant flowering perennials.
With respect for those who have passed away and for refuges of peace and wildlife habitat in our cities.

Holmesglen TAFE Glen Waverley, Melbourne

This area showcases mainly Australian Native Winter-flowering species: Eucalyptus caesia, Guichenotia macrantha, Alyogyne hueglii, Hardenbergia ‘Regent’, Kennedia rubicunda, Pultanaea pendunculata, Cytisus scoparius ‘C.E Pearson’, Chorizema cordatum, Dampiera Diversifolia.
Earthworks by Anton Beudal (I Can Dig That)