Permaculture forum: Do Ornamentals Have A Place In Permaculture?

Page 1 of 3 • 1 2 3
Views: 1745, Replies: 45 » Jump to the end
Name: Chris Powell
Glendale, AZ (Zone 9b)
Living a better life; if times get
Permaculture Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Herbs Organic Gardener Dog Lover
Birds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Region: Southwest Gardening
Image
milkmood
Mar 6, 2012 8:06 AM CST
I've been struggling with this question, mainly because my footprint for food production is so small.

Does a plant have to contribute to the culture in order for it to be part of the culture?

Do visual aesthetics for the sake of beauty alone have a place in permaculture even if they don't attract bees, drop leaves, or produce food?

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Mar 6, 2012 9:20 AM CST
Milkmood. I think a basic answer to this question would be that a properly designed permaculture landscape IS quite aesthetic in appearance. And the design is supposed to permanent with every plant contributing to the whole.

So if you are talking about having a plant that makes no contribution I would ask why do you want to put it in the context of a permaculture landscape?

I am thinking perhaps of the Knockout roses. Why use them when natural roses attract wildlife, have edible rose hips, they bloom in season instead of boringly all the time?

But then what ever one finds "aesthetic" is highly personal.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Mar 6, 2012 11:51 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

I think "beauty alone" is insufficient reason to add an element to a permaculture landscape. But the other functions that ornamentals bring make them good candidates for permaculture.

Every element in a landscape should provide at least 3 functions. One function of ornamentals is, of course, that they are aesthetically pleasing. Another function may be that they might attract beneficials. Another function may be that they increase the species diversity.

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Mar 6, 2012 12:32 PM CST
I noticed that some people can adapt quite arrogant theories as to which plants are more desirable than others. Some say only native plants. But there are good arguments that hardly anything qualifies as native when the plant ecosystems have been so drastically modified by human populations. Some say only food (human or animal) providing plants. But, others really don't want animal pests hanging around their property. I tend to dislike highly hybridized or GMO plants.

I like your 3 functions rule, Dave.
Name: Chris Powell
Glendale, AZ (Zone 9b)
Living a better life; if times get
Permaculture Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Herbs Organic Gardener Dog Lover
Birds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Region: Southwest Gardening
Image
milkmood
Mar 6, 2012 1:36 PM CST
hazelnut...that's kind of why I asked the question. I mean, I'm of the belief that if it can grow in your region and you want it in your system, why not. I'm not a big fan of ornamentals personally...given the size of my space, I want to make the most of it.

I think even aromatic ornamental roses can be useful. Ever made rosewater by distilling boiled rose petals? I'd be more inclined to use rosewater than rose hips, so I guess it comes down to usefulness to me. Rosewater is used lightly in baklava, and can be traded or sold.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
Image
SongofJoy
Mar 6, 2012 2:24 PM CST
As can rose hips. Terrific steeped (fresh or dried) for rose hips tea and loaded with Vitamin C. Green Grin! Highly sought after in some cultures.


The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
[Last edited by SongofJoy - Mar 6, 2012 2:44 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #223835 (6)
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Ferns Daylilies Irises Cat Lover
Image
Sharon
Mar 6, 2012 2:25 PM CST
And rose hips jelly.
Visit my cubit Blue Gardens
Check out my Blog
Read my Articles and Ideas

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Mar 6, 2012 4:08 PM CST
A life without roses would be a sad life indeed.

But do we really need super-hybrids that are no different than plastic roses? Old fashioned roses that you can actually grow from seed, smell good, they act like roses, they have hips, you can make all the rosewater you want, they attract birds and other animals. They are great plants for the hedgerow. They are great plants for the kitchen or herb garden, or even along the back fence. They are hard working, functional, and beautiful. And dozens of other beautiful plants are also.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
Image
SongofJoy
Mar 6, 2012 4:13 PM CST
I agree, hazelnut ... OGR and species roses are my faves, hands down. I have a couple of the "plastic" type ... they don't even smell. But I suppose they have their fans. If I could only choose one type of rose, it wouldn't be hybrids teas.






The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Chris Powell
Glendale, AZ (Zone 9b)
Living a better life; if times get
Permaculture Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Herbs Organic Gardener Dog Lover
Birds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Region: Southwest Gardening
Image
milkmood
Mar 6, 2012 7:24 PM CST
For me, *if* I were capable of keeping roses alive...I would keep them for the aroma, and to keep aphids off of more desirable plants Angry

I see your point about old world roses; never been a fan of super hybrids or GMs at all anyway...which is probably why I'm...here. Hurray!
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
pod
Mar 6, 2012 8:13 PM CST
milkmood said:I've been struggling with this question, mainly because my footprint for food production is so small.

Does a plant have to contribute to the culture in order for it to be part of the culture?

Do visual aesthetics for the sake of beauty alone have a place in permaculture even if they don't attract bees, drop leaves, or produce food?



Leaving the roses behind for a moment, I'm curious as to what you are considering ornamental?

What type of plant wouldn't attract the pollinators if it blooms, wouldn't be deciduous or produce edible material for something in nature?

I am unable to determine what that would be. Perhaps cactus ~ but many cacti bloom, are edible or can be used for medicinal purposes.

I believe that every plant has been put on this earth for a reason. What that reason is, may be unknown to us at this time but I cannot visualize a plant that will fall into your category. I am just curious... Kristi
Name: Chris Powell
Glendale, AZ (Zone 9b)
Living a better life; if times get
Permaculture Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Herbs Organic Gardener Dog Lover
Birds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Region: Southwest Gardening
Image
milkmood
Mar 6, 2012 8:33 PM CST
pod... that's one of the reasons I asked the question. *Are* there any plants that aren't beneficial in some way or another? I'm finding several schools of thought on this ranging from 'native only' to 'plant what you want' if you can grow it. Thanks for the input.

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Mar 6, 2012 9:18 PM CST
I think there are some plants that aren't beneficial. They're called invasives. But some (permaculturists) even claim those are just pioneers and a lot of them are nitrogen fixers. Examples I can think of in my yard are acacia and Asian wisteria.

Back to roses. I remember many years ago I visited the mission at San Juan Capistrano. In the courtyard was an olive grove, and at the outer edges of the courtyard, the nuns had planted old fashioned roses, and under the roses were onions and lettuces. I can still remember the scent of the olives on a hot summer day.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
extranjera
Mar 6, 2012 9:57 PM CST
I think it would be a very sad and one dimensional world if we couldn't appreciate something and grow it simply for its beauty.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bluebonnets Birds Region: Georgia Composter Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
fiwit
Mar 6, 2012 10:10 PM CST
extranjera said:I think it would be a very sad and one dimensional world if we couldn't appreciate something and grow it simply for its beauty.


I agree
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Mar 7, 2012 8:49 AM CST
"I think it would be a very sad and one dimensional world if we couldn't appreciate something and grow it simply for its beauty. "

True. But that's not what permaculture is about. And in fact, most plants we grow for their beauty are not just beautiful. They have other dimensions as well, and that's when they would have a role in a permaculture landscape. Otherwise, we are talking about something like an English Border, or formal beds. Or even a potted patio plant.
Name: Lee Anne Stark
Brockville, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5a)
Perpetually happy!
Forum moderator Tip Photographer I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Critters Allowed Cottage Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Keeps Goats Keeper of Poultry Frogs and Toads Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian
Image
threegardeners
Mar 7, 2012 10:43 AM CST
Have to pop in here for a sec...

I can't see how a formal bed or a potted plant wouldn't qualify. Useful plants can be planted in a pleasing manner, even in a pot, and still be beneficial.

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Mar 7, 2012 11:22 AM CST
'Useful", "pleasing", or "beneficial" still is not permaculture.

Maybe this article will be helpful.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/178/

Or, here is Bill Mollison's Introduction to Permiculture (155 pp PDF)

http://www.barkingfrogspermaculture.org/PDC_ALL.pdf

Permaculture is a design system that mimics natural ecology. It is a holistic way of thinking that pertains to gardening.

So any discussion of a single plant unless it is in relation to the whole system is not doing permaculture.

It does take a leap to get beyond thinking of a whole (say your back yard) is more than the sum of plants you have planted there. Instead, when you start thinking about the plants in relation to some natural design goal such as a food forest, a hedgerow, a bog, or whatever, then you begin to think within a permaculture framework.

Even then you may not have accomplished a successful permaculture system. The test is does it work?, does every part play a role in contribution to the whole design? And does it keep working over time?

[Last edited by hazelnut - Mar 7, 2012 11:37 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #224112 (18)
Name: Lee Anne Stark
Brockville, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5a)
Perpetually happy!
Forum moderator Tip Photographer I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Critters Allowed Cottage Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Keeps Goats Keeper of Poultry Frogs and Toads Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian
Image
threegardeners
Mar 7, 2012 11:46 AM CST
Maybe the whole topic is above my head. I did read in the article:
Gardens are not only more productive than agriculture, they are less damaging to the environment. Of course, some gardening strategies are more productive and protective of the environment than others. Defining those strategies is what permaculture is about. Permaculturalists prefer non-cultivation techniques.


My gardens are full of herbs, medicinal plants, veggies, and I compost regularly. The gardens pretty much take care of themselves at this point. I'm the only house in the village that has toads, frogs, snakes, turtles, rabbits, chippers, red squirrels, birds,etc. living here comfortably and we're all being fed by my gardens. Is that not permaculture to some degree?
[Last edited by threegardeners - Mar 7, 2012 12:35 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #224122 (19)
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Ferns Daylilies Irises Cat Lover
Image
Sharon
Mar 7, 2012 1:26 PM CST
Seems to me that somebody who understands permaculture in its entirety needs to write a good basic article explaining its concept(s). It would align our thoughts so opinions are not so scattered.

It's one thing to read links, it's another thing to read an article on the front page of ATP.
I think we'd reach more people on the front page.
Visit my cubit Blue Gardens
Check out my Blog
Read my Articles and Ideas

Page 1 of 3 • 1 2 3

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Permaculture forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by nativeplantlover and is called "Bumble Veronica Pink"