Drystone Wall Building WorkshopRocks and your own two hands are all that’s needed to create a sensational dry-stonewall and beautiful vegetable garden. It looks gorgeous and it’s a beautiful material to work with. “Each wall has its own style and character” explains Philip Baker the trainer, depending on where it comes from and the needs and resources of that particular location. Popular in England, dry-stone walls developed as a response to the “enclosure act” to keep animals under control. There are different types made from different types of rocks and, done well, they are functional and very sustainable. They last for hundreds of years and so are very durable and cost effective.

We wanted to show people how to make a beautiful vegetable garden and dry-stone wall out of any rocks they had locally”, Penny Pyett (PSI director) explained. The dry-stone wall we built used local Hawkesbury Sandstone. “We now have the nicest vegetable garden I’ve seen in along time that will be planted with a range of perennial and annual vegetables, herbs and flowers. It looks stunning. It also provides small habitat niches for the lizards and frogs we want to attract to our veggie garden and over time it will develop its own unique eco-system. There’s no reason why more people couldn’t have their own as there is no shortage of rocks around Sydney, so there’s lots of potential for lots of dry-stone vegetable gardens, structures and walls.”

Participants who attended the workshop were delighted to be working on a real, purposeful project and to get the hands on experience they needed to construct their own. Some were there to learn how to repair their walls, others to build from scratch. The workshop answered all their questions from sourcing material; cost; building techniques; setting up; cutting; preparation; shaping; back-filling; the rules of dry-stone walling and a range of other things.

“The Wallers” included Phil the trainer; Matt; Peter; Wolfgang; Penny; Ronnie; Erica; Axel; Mark and Geoffrey – who will have their name etched onto a rock face and remembered for the project. PSI will be running another dry-stone wall workshop November 18, 9-5pm for those that couldn’t attend this one. A Stone carving workshop will be followed after this one next year where people will learn to make carved tiles, birdbaths and other stone features. For more information or to register your interest contact Penny at Permaculture Sydney Institute on: info@permaculturesydneyinstitute.org

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