Permaculture advocate Diane Southwell loves being surrounded by nature and has a passion for knowing the ins and outs of how ecosystems work.
In her role with Bundaberg Regional Council’s Parks Sport and Natural Areas, she is able to explore permaculture and its benefits.
Diane describes permaculture as working with nature rather than against it.
Permaculture is nature's friend
Permaculture is a word originally coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the mid 1970s to describe an “integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man”.
Permaculture is a set of design principles centred on whole systems thinking, simulating or directly utilising the patterns and resilient features observed in natural ecosystems.
It uses these principles in a growing number of fields from regenerative agriculture, rewilding, community, and organisational design and development.
Diane said part of permaculture was “companion planting” and knowing what plant to put where.
“Social garlic is a good example,” she said.
“It looks pretty… but it also helps repel aphids from your plants.
“So rather than spraying a pesticide to kill the aphids the social garlic definitely helps repel them.”
This in return protects the social garlic's companion plant.
Diane also has other tips and tricks up her sleeve and is always happy to share them.
She is often asked by community members how they can make their flowers last longer.
“The best way to do that is to actually deadhead,” she said, “which is cutting off the spent flowers, the flowers that have died.
“The more you do that the more flowers you will get.”
Another reason why Diane is passionate about her job is because she spends her days out in nature.
“I love to spread goodness and cheer throughout the land,” she said.
“I love watching the bees come and pollinate the flowers. I love the feel of the soil in my fingers.”
- Bush tucker garden project blooms