Djanbung Gardens

An old advertisement in the Permaculture International Journal from 1995 caught our attention and we soon organised a visit to this famously well established Permaculture site in New South Wales.

Djanbung Advertisement

Djanbung Gardens started off in 1993 on a degraded 5-acre cow pasture and twenty years later the results are best seen to be believed! This area has blossomed into a Permaculture education and demonstration site. The before and after photo’s display an amazing transformation from a barren and arid landscape to a self sustainable and ever evolving paradise. Sheer abundance!

After a small donation we were off exploring the gardens on a self guided tour with a handy map explaining all the working systems and the different zoning functions.

Here are some of the highlights of our visit:

WOODLOT, WILDLIFE CORRIDOR & BUSHFOODS

The Wilderness

A short walk took us to the border of the property where we found ourselves in pristine reclaimed bushland. This is the zone in which to observe and learn from nature and allow the native fauna and flora to do their thing without interference. This area occasionally yields wood and bush-tucker as a resource. A friendly wallaby even stopped by to say “G’day“.

TOP DAM FOR GRAVITY IRRIGATION

Road Runoff Dam

This dam is perfectly situated on the highest point of the property to capture and store all the rainwater runoff from the adjacent road. Gravity is utilized to distribute this valuable resource throughout the gardens.

TROPICAL FOOD FOREST

Reflection Seat under Lemon tree

The mature food forest contains several Banana circles and has a variety of edible fruit and nut trees. A golden rule in any food forest is to “Chop -N- Drop” and newly created mulch under the trees was clear evidence of this concept being put to good use.

BAMBOO

Pondering the Map

A quick rest underneath the gigantic bamboo gave us pause to study the map. It was quite tempting to jump into the tropical outdoor shower and we could only imagine what relief this might provide on a hot summers day. There were also a few composting toilets discreetly tucked away and after a quick “donation” we could continue on our exploration!

DJANBUNG HILL GARDENS

Shovel taking a break

These gardens were laid out on contour and consist of a wide variety of herbs and vegetables with a few small fruit trees to provide a bit of shade. Nitrogen fixing, pollinator attractant and pest deterrent plants filled in the gaps. The use of Permaculture techniques clearly paid off as shown by the abundance of edible plants growing here. A few of the techniques employed included small ponds, predator habitats and lots of mulching.

Garden Bed Panorama

Several of the mature plants were marked with colourful ribbons, this shows the plants allowed to go to seed for collection. A small nursery nearby ensures a steady supply of new plants for the garden. Bordering this was a student garden which functions as a hands on approach to Permaculture education as well as filling the students bellies.

CHICKENS, TURKEY & PIG SYSTEMS

Chook

Djanbung’s domestic animals were located in close proximity to the Hill Gardens. The chooks ran over for the greeting, expecting us to be bearing gifts from the veggie patch. Sorry chooks, not this time. This shows the clever way in which good zone placements can minimise effort. Are those weeds or a chickens lunch? The chickens and pigs return the favour and provide plenty of manure to help fertilize the plants.

EDUCATION & RESOURCE CENTRE

Homestead

We found ourselves back at the starting point of our exploration. Djanbung Gardens is home to Permaculture College Australia and it was quite inspiring to witness a full classroom of emerging permaculturists in session. This college has great PDC’s available if you’re curious to learn more about Permaculture.
Just when we thought our tour was over there was one more sight to behold.

DJANBUNG WATERS-MAIN DAM

Lower Dam

There are so many complex interconnections on this property that a whole book wouldn’t suffice in explaining them all! You will just have to come and experience this “Garden of Eden” for yourself.

Here’s a great documentary where owner Robyn Francis takes us on a tour of Djanbung Gardens.

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~ by Jake on October 19, 2013.

2 Responses to “Djanbung Gardens”

  1. Hey Jake… I’m glad you posted this one… The others on our PDC at Zaytuna when and saw this place on the intervening weekend, I was visiting my parents… I really like your writing style too :-)… Chris

    • Glad you liked it Chris, and glad you we’re able to see Djangbung for yourself too. We’re fortunate to have so many proven examples of what can be accomplished through Permaculture in Australia. I’m keen to find a few more to go peek at!

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