President's Report
Getting to know our management committee – Introducing...
Kay Phelan, our new Vice President and Lucinda Coates, new Shows Team leader

I joined PSN in 2009 because I wanted to find out what it was all about, and then I wanted to be a small part of some exciting solutions to the big problems we’re facing. And I’ve stayed because I see it working, and because of the great people I keep meeting! I‘ve been inspired by some of the permaculture pioneers and by the things local members are doing in their own approaches to permaculture.
Since then I have been involved in the Hornsby group, which I now co-ordinate with a great team; completed my permaculture design certificate (PDC) and a Transitions Towns course; served as secretary briefly in 2011/12; and helped to streamline the PSN library systems; and organised a weekend permaculture tour north in 2011, which was fun and pretty eye-opening – so many different applications using the same permaculture principles. And I’ve helped transform several gardens – a great way to learn. The scariest permabee? Mine. Never hire a bobcat!
When I’m not doing PSN, I’m watching the garden grow, and wondering how I can get EVERYTHING I like in it into ZONE 1 (i.e. the area closest to the house in permaculture design). The most inspiring thing I watched this month was ‘Requiem for Detroit’ one of the many great films on . And of course Geoff Lawton’s free permaculture videos that you can download from
My vision for my community, PSN and the planet is simple – just that it works, and can keep working while we ALL have a lot more fun, into forever.

I joined PSN in October 2006 after bumping into Permaculture North (as it was then) three times in a matter of weeks – at two shows and a talk on ‘Peak Oil and Permaculture.’ Somebody was trying to tell me something!
I soon joined the Garden Team because I wanted to learn about that side of Permaculture in a hands-on way. Since then I have been involved in several of the other teams. I most enjoyed my time on the Shows Team, when Mandy Stubbs was at the helm. My design was chosen for the Gardening Australia expo in 2008 and we won the prize for best display. So I’ve come full circle and I am back with Shows – but this time as Team Leader!
When PSN created Local Groups, I volunteered to co-ordinate the Hornsby Local Group. It was lots of fun, but lots of work, and I think it’s great that Hornsby, now under Kay’s co-ordination, is using the ‘troika’ principle of three people sharing responsibilities, and the fun!
One frustration I had as Local Group co-ord, was not knowing how to set up a stall at a local fair, or what tools and support PSN could provide for this. I’m determined to solve that problem as Shows Team Leader. I aim to start small by helping to share knowledge and assist local groups to promote their group and permaculture at local shows. Then we can take on larger events like Sustain and Gardening Australia. Then huge festivals, and then the World! That sounds about right.
I've helped transform over 60 gardens, shared the transformation of my own townhouse garden at Open Days, and I hope I’ve transformed some hearts and minds. I know at least one of my ‘students’ at a brief Permaculture course I ran is now doing her bit to transform hearts, minds and gardens. And that’s a great feeling!
When I'm not doing PSN stuff, I'm doing Bushcare or helping to organise Midwinter dinners for returned Antarctic expeditioners.
My vision for my community, PSN and the planet is that people who DON’T practise permaculture will be looked at a little oddly!

Management Committee Highlights
The more exciting matters coming out of May’s management committee meeting were –
Lucinda Coates has accepted the position of Shows Team Leader. Congratulations Lucinda.
Members are invited to attend MC meetings as observers (4th Monday of the month). Space restrictions mean registrations are limited to five. No charge!
A Monster Book Sale of permaculture books to be held in the near future – more on this later.
Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden has invited PSN to set up a community garden using permaculture principles. The site is viable and beautiful. Preliminary investigations are under way. The management committee would like to offer the membership the opportunity to view the site and provide feedback before a decision is made; we will keep you informed.
PSN Monthly Meeting - Monday 17 June 2013 @ 7:00pm - new time
This month we will be looking at a fundamental aspect of permaculture - Water Harvesting.
A good part of Chapter 7 of Bill Mollison’s Design Manual will be demonstrated on screen by Geoff Lawton, permaculture guru and water expert
See this reasonably difficult but fascinating concept made simple, followed by a great supper of course
Doors open at 6.30pm. Talk begins at 7.00pm. Supper 8.30pm
Lindfield Community Centre, 259 Pacific Hwy, Lindfield. Just a few minutes walk from Lindfield railway station.
Don't forget to BYO reusable mug / cup to all meetings
NEWS FLASH - Speaker JAKE CASSAR for July 15
Jake is an environmentalist, social justice campaigner, singer, songwriter, musician and bushcraft teacher. We are very excited to be bringing him to Lindfield in July.
So rug up and whatever you do don’t miss this very special event.
PSN Living Skills - 15 June - Felting workshop
You are invited to a felting workshop by India Betar, a textile artist based in Sydney (see for examples of her works). She found a spot in her busy schedule to conduct a felting workshop for PSN. The workshop will cover a short introduction to felting, with an overview of various techniques and the basic principles and tools.
Registration here.
Seed Savers - Sunday 22 June
Join with us at Bidjiwong Community Nursery and permaculture garden, bring your containers for taking home plants, cuttings and seeds.

Seed Savers meet on the 4th Saturday of every month from 9am-12 noon at the Bidjiwong Community Nursery in Baulkham Hills. (Rear of Ted Horwood Reserve carpark, off Renown Rd, opposite the sports club).
All PSN members are welcome to Seed Savers. You'll meet great people, learn a lot about cleaning seed, propagating, how to recognise and save seeds, heaps of growing tips and herbal remedies from Robyn and other knowledgeable people.
Find us on Facebook

Hornsby Local Group
A big welcome to first-timers Samantha and Mackenzie, Dorothee and Alanna.

A new PSN member’s impressions.

On Sunday 9th June, I was introduced to the wonders of permaculture. A few nights prior, I had googled "permaculture" and found myself joining the Sydney North group, having thought about it for years, but too busy with babies. I heard back from Kay almost instantly, and on Sunday afternoon arrived at Lucinda's amazing townhouse in a quiet street in Epping. FIrst, we had a tour of Lucinda's garden. She revealed at one point that she'd only moved in 7 years ago, which is incredible when you see what is growing there - it looks like it's been there a century! She shared her encyclopaedic knowledge of Australian plants, edible plants and herbology (to borrow a word from Harry Potter). She knows about water systems and sunlight capture (plants thriving in a south-west facing position for instance, raised up high to catch more sun). Her herb garden is an ingenious spiral, to make the best use of space and height. And to protect the herbs during heat-waves, Garden Team Leader Peter Wright had brought to life Lucinda’s vision by rigging up shade-cloths on a pulley using steel and bamboo.

Afterwards, we sat outside her garage, and with the aid of detailed but clear notes on butcher's paper, Lucinda took us through the finer points of companion planting, including plant guilds - when you support one species with as many companion plants to keep it strong and keep bugs off it. She explained how to give a mango tree a sun boost, by creating a microclimate with the clever use of a fence and position. But her key takeaway message was: rotate your crops. Flowery green veggies, beans, green manure (eg clover), leeks/onions - Lucinda told us their Latin names - are all part of different plant families and do different things to soil. In a small space, Lucinda manages to rotate her crops by building a "mandala garden" - a circular garden divided by walk-through paths and "keyhole" beds which divide it into easily-tendable segments. Everywhere you look in Lucinda's garden is evidence of meticulous research, awareness of seasons, organisation and record-keeping, to remember where and when she's planted crops so they can be rotated to optimise soil health.

We finished with a lovely afternoon tea, having all learnt a great deal and fired up to do an Intro to Permaculture course asap!
Harvest your own Bamboo - Sunday 14 July
If you are in the market for bamboo for: a bean trellis, a tomato teepee, an espaliering structure, poles to stake out your movable compost heap, a water feature, entry, pergola etc etc, come along to Asquith 2-4pm and harvest AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE from Heather and Bruce's backyard! All welcome. (nb This activity requires safety precautions and therefore is not a good day for children.)
Hornsby food co-op: Co-op Stop Sunnyside

The co-op is open to all PSN members … free registration here:

Any queries about the Hornsby group? Please contact Kay
Thank you as always to incredible Hornsby Meeting Planners Lucinda, Kerry, Heather and Jenny

Welcome new PSN members
A big welcome to all new members
New Members’ (and old Members’) guide to the Website now online
It includes
  • a glossary of terms and abbreviations
  • how to find - the New Members’ Booklet, DIY Information Sheets
  • how to ‘sign in’ to the website and members’ forum
  • how to register for events
  • regular meeting dates and events
  • and important links
A big thanks to Adrian Kong and his wife Vicki, who are reasonably new members, for putting together this helpful (deceptively simple) guide.
PSN Facebook
Our facebook page is rocking! It's an excellent place for finding out what's going on in and around our area in a broader context.
You can interact with like minded permies to share ideas, pose questions, post interesting articles and find out what courses and events are happening in our region and around the world.
If you would like help in setting up a facebook login please email

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