Forest Stories

Priscilla Brewer

Forest Stories – This wild and beautiful 2 acre property is located in the rural community of Yellow Point, on Vancouver Island. Nestled in the heart of a Coastal Douglas-fir Biogeoclimatic Zone, this property hosts a wide variety of flora and fauna, including small areas of extremely endangered Garry Oak meadows, riparian wetlands, and mossy rock bluffs. One of the most important priorities of the design is to preserve and regenerate the fragile native ecosystems which surround the gardens and homestead.

Priscilla Brewer is a Certified Permaculture Designer and Teacher, Horticultural Technician, Naturalist, and multi award winning Landscape Designer. Her awards include a prestigious “Green Award for Environmental Awareness” received from the City of Nanaimo. She was born and raised on beautiful Vancouver Island, where she enthusiastically gardens, wild-crafts, and teaches hands-on permaculture based educational workshops with a strong focus on reducing our ecological footprints, promoting the use of native plants, and growing food sustainably.  Priscilla is a happily married mother of two wonderful daughters (plus two son-in-laws), and she will soon be a grandmother!

Apologies for having to cut Priscilla’s beautiful design into 3 sections in order to get this level of quality.

“Forest Stories”

Permaculture Farm Teaching Gardens – Market – Retreat Permaculture Design Narrative

Location:
This wild and beautiful 2 acre property is located in the rural community of Yellow Point, on Vancouver Island. Nestled in the heart of a Coastal Douglas-fir Biogeoclimatic Zone, this property hosts a wide variety of flora and fauna, including small areas of extremely endangered Garry Oak meadows, riparian wetlands, and mossy rock bluffs. One of the most important priorities of the design is to preserve and regenerate the fragile native ecosystems which surround the gardens and homestead.

Design Concept:
This whimsical yet functional design has been created from the point-of-view of its visitors and students. You are the visitor, and should enter at the bottom of the design page, where you will be attracted by the native plant display gardens along the road. You will immediately find ample shaded parking for cars and bikes, then tempted to browse the rustic Wildcraft Studio & Farm Market. After a green stop at the Permaculture Plant Nursery, you will make your way up the curving driveway to see a Garry Oak wildflower meadow on your left, and mossy forest trails on your right. Take a forest trail, and you will be soothed by seasonal creeks running alongside several “Forest Platforms” (raised decks for yoga & meditation). Eventually you will arrive at The Permaculture Retreat – a gathering place, lunchroom, and library for students, and weekend retreat for more serious permaculture students. Presentations, greenhouse work, and plant propagation will take place in the large Outdoor Classroom (existing greenhouse) and the surrounding expanded gardens will be bustling with workshop students. Participants will help grow, maintain, harvest, sell, (and eat!) the food grown on the farm. Other important features of the design include winding forest trails showcasing the Natural Rock Bluffs, Seasonal Ponds, and a Bird and Bat Sanctuary. The more private, Homestead gardens include a chicken food forest, walnut guild, herbs & favourite wildcraft plants. This is a place of learning, relaxation, creativity and nourishment.

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Zones and Scope of Design:
Typical permaculture “Zone” design was not possible at this property due to the locations of existing mature forests, deep shade, and fragile ecosystems.
The designer chose a broad view of the
entireproperty, (rather than a more detailed view of one section of the property) in order to highlight the wholistic connections between functional spaces and the flow of its natural features.
Timeline
:
Priority Projects (listed below in Budget Notes), will commence swiftly.
Studio Building, Fencing, Woodwork, Trail Work, etc. will be completed in the spring and summer 2019. Planting will be completed in the fall 2019.

History​:
In 2011, Priscilla Brewer and her small family were dreaming of a simpler life in the country, and fell in love with a neglected little cabin in the woods. Priscilla soon opened up an art studio & farm stand, and began to proudly share her magical woodland forest with her customers. As an experienced landscaper and passionate organic gardener, Priscilla also began offering outdoor workshops. Returning students and customers were amazed and interested in the land’s progress toward regeneration and food security. In 2017 Priscilla completed her Permaculture Design Course, and is registered to attend her Permaculture Teaching Course this March. The Farm will expand its teaching capacity to include permaculture workshops where students can come for a workshop, or stay for a weekend retreat. (The Farm is zoned to allow “Bed and Breakfast” / Farm Market)
Budget Notes:
“New Deer-Fenced Gardens”
:
16 posts x $15…. $240.
24 bags concrete X $6…. $144.
12 Hazelnut trees and 12 blueberry shrubs… $240
Clover pathway topsoil and seed… $200
“Covered Outdoor Kitchen”
(for The Permaculture Retreat):
Stainless steel outdoor sink…. $300.
Up-cycled counter top and shelving…. $150.
“Conduit for Seasonal Creeks (buried under trails)”
:
5 – 8’ pieces of heavy duty 8” pipe (bought used)… $100
“Wildcraft and Farm Market Studio”
:
8×12 “shed” building materials… 1250.
Used / donated doors and windows… 300.
“Rotating Chicken Yards” and “Coop”
:
6 posts x $15…. $90.
9 bags of concrete X $6….. $54.
Coop (made with up-cycled wood where possible)… $400
8 Chickens and care/feeding equipment (bought used where possible)…
“Native and Riparian Plants / Native Guilds / Phytoremediation Plants”:
24 trees (5-10 gallon sized)… $480
96 shrubs (1-3 gallon)… $960
200 perennials/ferns/ground-covers/wildflowers (4”-1 gallon)… $600
BUDGET TOTAL
….$5808. (CAN)

Items Already in Current Inventory:
Approx 200’ Wire (for deer fencing) – approx 200’
11 – Wood Pallets (for “forest platforms”, etc) – 11
1 – Small Fridge (for Outdoor Kitchen)
3 – Large Rain Water Catchment
10 – Rain Barrels
Various Lumber and Hardware
260 pieces – Sidewalk blocks, flagstone, large paving stones
4 – Large Tables and 16 – Chairs (for outdoor classroom)
Various Shelving, Shop Counter and Cash Register (for Market) 20 yards – Woodchips (for trails)
Approx 4000 – Nursery Pots and trays, various sizes
Practically Unlimited – Plant Propagation seeds, cuttings, divisions Hundreds – Shovels, rakes, trowels, wheelbarrows, etc.

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