Mother Earth Living


Gardening for the Good Life: A Northern California Sustainable, Permaculture Garden

A lush, bountiful garden in Northern California proves that sustainable living is rich with rewards.



John and Nancy’s favorite summertime getaway is in the wisteria-covered grotto, where they share the natural spring with ferns, ginger and frogs.
Photos by Barbara Bourne
Tules poke their way up though the edges of the pond.
Gaura and New Zealand flax thrive in Hopland’s extreme summer heat.
John and Nancy’s friend, Matt Johansen, who helped build “Chez Poulets,” meets with two of his contented, clucking clients.
Cosmos, dahlias and sunflowers line the pathway from the house to one of the five ponds.
“What a blessing to eat the bounty from our garden!” John Schaeffer says of the late summer harvest.
A permaculture class designed and built an “herb spiral” during a Real Goods Solar Living Institute workshop in 2004.
The table is set by the pond for a fresh, organic lunch from the gardens less than 50 feet away. Nancy, Matt Johansen and John toast the harvest with a little local flavor.
Interns from the Real Goods Solar Living Center work in the garden.











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