Milkwood’s Roof Top Garden

This past fortnight I’ve been the lead teacher on Milkwood’s Permaculture Design Course in big city Sydney in a big concrete building with a beautiful, heartwarming, sanctuary’esk roof top garden.

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Generally speaking, roof top gardens have it pretty hard, it’s a tough environment to succeed in. Being *UP* they can be pretty battered by the elements – hot sun, harsh winds, wild storms etc etc. This little garden is young, but shows the signs of being able to stand up to whatever the elements can dish out. Have a little look…

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A mini aquaponics system features in the garden complete with gold fish and azolla (the floating red/green plant below). All the edges of the beds and pond are recycled timber from their old farm’s shearing shed, it’s pretty nice that a bit of their farm lives on in this urban garden.

You can also see some mushroom logs hiding in the left of the above photo, another food source you can literally squeeze into any corner of your garden.

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Azolla’s a great plant for ‘drinking’ excess nutrients in any pond/dam and can be added to your compost pile, worm farm or fed to your chickens and ducks. It will grow rapidly so if left alone can clog up your pond, so it’s important that you harvest it as needed to prevent this happening.

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Even on a roof top nutrients can be cycled – this simple, small worm farm shows us how.

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Slimline rain tanks hug the walls, as do a collection of hanging vertical gardens.

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Promising beds of annual veggies are in and around fruit and willow trees and herbs – ensuring you can get quick and regular harvests all the time.

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And some succulents, including ‘pigface’ – a great bush tucker addition to any garden.

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Mini edible forest gardens feature in the portable wicking beds. They can be wheeled around to catch the sun or shade ensuring that regardless of the season they get the warmth or coolness they need, clever design that.
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Young willow branches, soon to be a willow ‘glade’ with a herbaceous understory to evenutally provide a shady area for people to sit and enjoy.

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And some rambling mints have made home in between the cracks… Cause where there is a niche, a plant will fill it.

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While small, this little garden is far from insignificant. It’s these types of initiatives that help push people over the edge (in a good way) to realising they too can integrate food gardens into their own homes and lives, no matter where they live.

You can see a collection of blogs about this garden here.

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