When considering development of the land at An Tearman, the priority lies in finding a balance between cultivation and honouring the flora and fauna that share the land, ever mindful of what they contribute and what their presence tells us. In addition, we consider the needs of those using the land, humans and other beings, and how we can live together in balance and harmony.
Permaculture teaches us to make the best use of resources: collecting materials for composting and mulching; collecting rainwater and planning to maximise or minimise the amount that falls on the garden; protecting delicate seedlings and blossoms from frost and wind; making the most of available sunshine etc. We work with what already exists to maximise potential for abundance, according to differing aspects of the land.
We also keep in mind the needs of a range of individuals likely to use the resource, with differing levels of need and ability: children, elders and others – their needs for access and involvement in balance with protecting the habitat of nesting birds and other creatures. We incorporate options to pursue personal interests and support professional needs, such as herbalism, arts and crafts etc or simply sitting peacefully to connect with nature.
The land at An Tearman
The land consists of a number of distinct areas. The driveway to the house runs along an uncultivated strip of land onto a large forecourt with room for parking several cars as well as a motorhome or two. On the other three sides the house is surrounded by lawns, well suited to camping and including a patio area for sunny summer barbecues.
At the southern boundary a fence surrounds the current vegetable garden, about to welcome some pigs in preparation for being redesigned along permaculture lines. A narrow track runs from the entrance gate, through a shady tunnel of branches and up the hill to overlook the vegetable area, with the land between host to wild orchids, cowslips and other wild meadow plants.
To the North a pair of walled gardens can be found, still considerably wild and overgrown, but gradually being tamed with the help of our network of friends and volunteers. Our dream is to turn this area into a forest garden, guided by the trees that already thrive in the area, taking over the original kitchen garden. There has been considerable progress towards eradicating rhododendrons, knotweed and the constantly sprouting sycamore, and a start has been made on planting fruit.
To the East an area of woodland drops steeply to the road below. A useful area for cultivating timber for firewood and other purposes, it also contains peaceful areas ideal for contemplating the sunrise.