“… a good ecologist must have a broad synthetic mind, an ability to practice strong inference, and a sense of place or a feel for nature (that is, they must be respectful, alert, observant, and intuitive).”
— Paul K. Dayton (Observation & Ecology : Broadening the Scope of Science to Understand a Complex World)
There has never been a grand plan or design for our garden. Our little wild garden, shaped by all its inhabitants including us, has emerged organically over the years. Even while I am sure that this garden wouldn’t have been what it is without our participation, our approach has been that of minimal, gradual changes called for by our needs, and in response to the garden itself. Being what it is, our garden has some mysteries in stock, that it often reveals.
It was while trying to harvest Ivy gourds from a vine that had climbed up a henna tree, that we found a hive of the red dwarf honey bee. Delighted as we were about Ivy gourds, we were more delighted that the red dwarfs had made our henna tree their home.
The first principle of Permaculture as put forward by David Holmgren is Observe & Interact. For a long time I have been puzzled by Observation. I have wondered what does it mean to observe! At bahulavana, I tried capturing details of things that I noticed. I made a list of flora, I found out the physical & chemical profiles of soil, I am making a bird list as well as a list of other fauna. However all these didn’t give me a sense that I was doing observations like many inspiring permaculture gurus who tell stories about how things were, how things changed, and how they participated in the process.