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Sustainable Backyard Tour: Emma and William

Posted by tgmadmin on August 23, 2019

Sustainable gardens also require no to low inputs, so recycling nutrients is big on Emma’s agenda and you can see this happening all over the three acres; ducks are fed comfrey (high in protein and potassium) and as the ducks forage the orchard they poop out the potassium, feeding the trees – the ducks have done the work for you!  Chooks also are vital to the health of the system as well as producing a yield (eggs and potentially meat) by scratching in a ‘starwyard’.  A strawyard is essentially a ‘confined’ place, with a carbon base where you can throw all your scraps for the chooks to eat, turn and make compost for you.  Sited high in the landscape, the strawyard filters nutrient downhill to other productive areas and is also right next to the veg area so that the ‘black gold’ compost can be directly applied to the veg gardens.


06102015 News Photo Andy Jackson/Fairfax NZ. Keen Oakura gardeners Will & Emma Thorp with their boys Eddie, 4 and Angus, 3. Playing in the sandpit L to R Angus & Eddie.


Not only is Emma’s garden productive, its beautiful.  I fully embrace that our permaculture, sustainable gardens can be both productive (notorious for being ‘messy’) and aesthetically pleasing.  In defence of ‘mess’ however, what we are actually often seeing is natures diversity (if you know what to look for).  There are no rows or mono native plantings in a sustainable garden.  Like Emma’s garden there is often a profusion of colour, bees buzzing and that elusive thing called ‘life’, as its ultimately life in all its diversity that a sustainable garden supports.

Happy gardening Emma and thank you for sharing your journey with the GreenBridge team and the wider Taranaki community.  You can visit Emma and William’s garden at 9 Surry Hill Road, Oakura.

Bena Denton is an Ecological Garden Designer and is part of the GreenBridge team.  She lives with her family in Omata and is enjoying regenerating their 10acre property.

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