Thursday, 26 July 2007

Nirvana, An Invitation to Wander


BOOK YOUR OWN TOUR .Minimum charges apply, Bookings essential. Individuals,Families, Schools, Groups
Nirvana provides a wonderful lifestyle for Deb and Quentin. It is where 4.5 Ha in the Adelaide Hills can provide an income from the diverse orchards. It is satisfying work flanked by our faithful hounds, our own fresh food, and food to preserve, fruit wines and beer, great spaces to relax and watch the antics of the poultry. Places to observe a multitude of native wildlife and enjoy the different seasons of the Adelaide Hills. Nirvana may not fit into the normal category of a garden or farm, but it’s a place to work, relax and enjoy life... The way in which the commercial crops are treated can be described as ‘garden quality farming.’ The combination of growing commercial crops, our own vegetables and herbs, composting, native habitat areas, poultry and our various gardens around the house and sheds all rolled into a wonderful balanced and beautiful ecosystem.

THE OUTER GARDENS: the orchards, creek, and habitat areas form the framework and atmosphere.
THE INNER GARDENS: dominated by large camellias. The garden is designed to be low maintenance, use minimum water and be chook hardy. It is made up of rooms that ebb and flow with the seasons. The home veggies and herb gardens are also here.
Balancing both is the compost and Bio-Dynamic preparations. Chooks and geese appreciate both areas

HISTORY In 1983 the valley and surrounding hills consisted of 50 chestnuts and 80 walnuts. The remainder was impenetrable blackberries and broom with the lower areas waterlogged. The house garden was very neglected and overgrown. The camellia, which dominates the front garden, had grown so large it had, over the years, turned the tin on the convex veranda into a concave!
We formulated a 10 year plan to transform this degraded property into a largely self-sufficient, enjoyable, as well as viable lifestyle. At that time we only had the weekends to do this as we both had full time jobs in town. Today, 22 years later, the main crops are chestnuts, raspberries, walnuts and 100 odd mixed fruit and berries, which are use to produce a variety of gourmet jams and preserves as well as fruit for our own use. Geese graze the orchards and along with fowls provide the basis for our compost.
We have been using Bio-Dynamic methods here for 22 years. It adds something special to the craft of gardening, because it enhances both the garden and gardener, as one looks more closely into the processes of nature and life. B.D. Bio (life), Dynamic (inter reactions) between all the kingdoms of nature: - mineral, plant, animal, humans (like group dynamics).

Our garden is more than plants. There is a whole atmosphere about our place, the insects, birds, water, light & shadows, sounds & smells they all there interacting with each other, all ebbing & flowing with the seasons. Our gardens engage all the senses and refresh the soul. Here the garden is a spiritual resource, a place to step back and enjoy the quiet moments.
Nirvana’s gardens are work in progress There is always an area to create or redevelop. Garden plantings are diverse as possible so we can share our garden with a large array of insects, birds, animals both domestic and wild as well as other people. The garden has found its balance & clicked into place.

Nirvana is made up of lots of small garden spaces. The main reason is ease of maintenance for one person to achieve. This also provides a variety of spaces to suit different seasons or times of the day. Even the orchards are divided up into manageable areas; these are divided by natural habitat areas.
The orchards and gardens use little water. To encourage the maximum benefit from the rainfall the soil acts like a sponge so there is no runoff. This is achieved by building up the humus content. (The Bio-Dynamic methods aid this process.) Rather than using hard surfaces, garden areas have paths and sitting areas made from sawdust or gravel. Some areas are irrigated and plants needing more water are grown there and these areas are designed to cool us or the house. Grassed areas are also used to cool the house and act as a firebreak.

What does it takes to run Nirvana Farm? Deb has designed, built & maintains the various gardens. She also works full time as the orchard and farm manager. Quentin works part time depending on the season. He is in charge of marketing, machinery maintenance, mowing, irrigation, & of course Hot Roasted Chestnuts. Woofers (willing workers on organic farms) help out during harvest.

Some highlights you’ll encounter at Nirvana

COMPOST is the soul of the garden. To make quality compost is very important .Our compost is based on poultry manure & bedding along with green plants including comfrey & nettles. The aim is provide new fertility in the form of life giving humus out of dead organic matter.

THE HOME VEGETABLE GARDEN consists of permanent raised beds, quality compost dug in. In the garden veggies are grown for fleeting freshness- delicate –fragrant frequent harvests, small sowing 2 days before a full moon. Once established simple rake over & re seed.
Wild edges provide habitat for beneficial insects & birds.
THE HOUSE & GARDENS were first established in the late 1870’s. The garden is dominated by large camellias & contain chook hardy cottage plants & shady areas. The poultry range through the area enjoying the shade. They also have dust bath areas & train their chicks to roost in the camellias. Native birds are encouraged into the garden via various water containers. An old apple orchard is also near the house.

THE SPRING FED VALLEY forms the headwaters of Scott creek. Water flows through the valley all year round. The creek is dotted with small barrage dams which provide fire water, irrigation & habitat areas. These areas aid the overall balance by sheltering the small beneficial birds, insects & reptiles.
THE FIREWOOD FOREST was planted in 1987 to supply our future firewood needs for cooking & heating. This area also contains various native wetland plants, many endangered.

SHEPARD OF THE WILLOWS .From within the existing cope of French Osier basket willow, sculptor Evette Sunset created a living yurt.
It is a dwelling & visiting place for many creatures. It breathes with the sun, wind & rain. Alive & growing the house reflects the seasons as they pass.
All these along with the orchards & poultry make up the whole that equals an excellent example of a biodynamic farm & gardens all working together to make a whole.

Deborah says'To remember that at its most fundamental level, agriculture is about the artful capture and transformation of the solar gift and work is love in action.

1 comment:

GooseBreeder said...

Beautiful post, no wonder you named it Nirvana!All that water!Is there anything you can't do!