‘Bellis’ – A Model 21st Century Garden

‘Bellis’, Brisbane’s award winning sustainable house and garden, is now seven years old.

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Last October this place won a national Save Water! Award in the Built Environment category. Since its inception, this 810 square metre property has collected over 7 megalitres of rainwater and recycled over 3 megalitres of sewage water. In the ornamental subtropical front garden, grow 118 different plants suited to predicted Climate Change. Apart from the hedge and two potted plants, all of these plants thrive on natural rainfall.

The 300 square metre food garden has provided around 70% of the fresh organic produce required by three adults on a day to day basis. Last August at our ‘Dig in for Dinner‘ open weekend for Australia’s Open Garden Scheme, the same food garden provided a four course meal for 150 guests. And this event didn’t stop the garden acting as our daily larder.

Bellis is a model food garden. Stripped down, the same productivity could be achieved in a 400 square metre plot. By changing what is grown, a ‘Bellis’ garden could be created anywhere in Australia. Scaled up, a ‘Bellis’ mixed farm could be created and managed by a family on a 1 hectare plot.

If ‘Bellis’ were more widely adopted this model could guarantee for Australia:

* Food security based on intensive organic production: a permanent system of agriculture;

* A low carbon economy with local job security;

* A simple route to follow for energy descent now we have passed Peak Oil;

* A method of climate repair that simultaneously builds strong, fertile soil resilient against flooding and prolonged drought;

* A living gene pool that supports nutritious, seasonal, local food production;

* A method of catchment and waterway repair;

* A model for food production that will survive beyond Peak Phosphorous;

* A model for supporting local biodiversity;

Plus ‘Bellis’ is an apiary, a free gym, and a way to live well and economically. All in all, ‘Bellis’ demonstrates multiple solutions for current issues facing homeowners and planners as well as the inescapable challenges we face in the short and long term.

Is your family 21st century compliant?

Jerry Coleby-Williams
1st August 2010