Botany with Siskiyou Permaculture

I’m excited to announce this course I will be teaching with Tomi Hazel in May in the botanical wonderland of the Siskiyous! Registration is now open. Please be in touch with any questions.

Advanced Permaculture Course in Botany with Siskiyou Permaculture
Sunday, May 7 –  Friday, May 12, 2017

Wolf Gulch Farm, 7000 Little Applegate Rd. Jacksonville, OR
Course description 

Siskiyou Permaculture is offering its first botany course, a 6-day field intensive designed to a be an essential part of training for stewards of earth repair, practitioners of Social Forestry or simply an opportunity to delve into the world of plants. Taking a wholistic perspective, we will look at plants within their ecological and ethnobotanical contexts, exploring the eco-tones of our laboratory: the Little Applegate valley within the bio-region of the Siskiyous.

Through storytelling, drawing, plant walks, discussion and botanical survey of the micro- and macro-patterns on the landscape, we will hone our observation skills, gain fluency in identifying plants, use plant family key recognition characteristics, and build aptitude with analog plant identification resources. In this field immersion we will experience coming into relationship with the plant world with all of our senses.

Guided by permaculture ethics and principles, the universal patterns of life, we aim to cultivate attitudes of respect and reciprocity that can lead us forward as we seek to understand and steer the course of human-plant communities in the future. This course is for anyone interested in plants, permaculture, gardening, landscape design, ecological restoration, horticulture, environmental education, nature mentoring, medicinal herbs, ethnobotany, natural medicine and re-wilding. All levels welcome, some basic plant knowledge helpful.

Instructors: Tomi Hazel (Tom Ward) and Mulysa Melco

This course is an advanced permaculture certificate course.  The Permaculture Design Course is a prerequisite for getting an advanced certificate from this course.  Others may have the certificate held until they have a PDC certificate.  You must complete all six days of the course to get your certificate.  However, the course is open to all who have a working knowledge of Permaculture terminology (“Permie Babble”.)

Course info and registration here. 

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Upcoming Course: Decoding Plants

PUGS_Plants_2016Hi Friends,

I’m excited to be teaching a plant course in September through Portland Underground Grad School. It’s called Decoding Plants: Seeing Urban Flora with New Eyes. If you’ve been wanting to learn plant identification or just sharpen your skills, join us! We’ll be meeting for four fun Saturday mornings, starting each session at Overlook Park in North Portland. We’ll draw plants, go on plant walks in different habitats and learn plant families.

My motivation for teaching this course (besides loving all things plant-related) is a desire to help heal the disconnect between people and nature. It seems to me that so much suffering in the world right now is rooted in this disconnection. I believe that our sense of belonging and our ability to feel whole and purposeful are intimately linked to relationship – with ourselves, with others and with the earth.

Maybe we all sense, on some level, that we’d be happier if we had a chance to dig in the soil or grow something, or spend time in wilderness. We don’t even need to get out of the city to do those things! This city is full of plants and nature, ready to connect with us. We can learn so much about ecology and about ourselves by slowing down and gaining a closer understanding of the other beings around us, regardless of whether they are considered ‘native’ or ‘invasive’. By understanding, we gain empathy and then compassion, and then we’re closer to feeling that we are indeed part of nature. When we’re working from that place, it seems to me we’re more able to advocate for the health of nature and for our own health, and to work towards a life that is sustainable and fulfilling. When we have a tangible sense of nature’s abundance and regenerative properties, it’s easier to act from a feeling of abundance and generosity instead of the fear of scarcity that drives so much discord.

There are a many things that are out of balance in the world right now and I believe healing the earth and healing our culture are intimately connected. So, how does learning plant families relate to all this? Knowing the plants we see helps forge a sense of connection with the places we live and travel, and a feeling of belonging in the world.

Seeing plant patterns is an efficient and fun way to start learning lots of plants. (If you’re not familiar with the taxonomic system, you’ll be amazed at how it organizes the nearly 400,000 plant species on Earth into manageable and relatable groups. We’ll just start with 12 families though!) Just like when we meet a new person, when we learn the name of a plant, who their relatives are and what they do and like, we come into relationship and it opens up possibilities. You might find new foods to cook with or use as medicine. You may take new notice of the changing seasons, as you watch plants react to weather and day length. You’ll see more interconnectedness all around as you learn about the many relationships plants have with pollinators and other insects, fungi, birds, and animals– including us!

Portland Underground Grad School is a community of learners that believes education should be affordable, accessible and relevant to your life right now. “Never Stop Learning.”

Check out week-by-week summaries of the course at the link below. Hope to see you there!

Saturdays, September 10th – October 1st || 9:30-11:30 am
Meets at Overlook Park Picnic Shelter || 1599 N Fremont St.
Four weeks, $100 || Space is limited to 20 students.

Register at Portland Underground Grad School

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Plant Sale this Friday, July 1

Summer Plant and Seed Clearance Sale! Friday, July 1, 3-6 pm only. Limited quantities, 50% off regular prices. 5523 N. Detroit Ave. Portland OR, 97217.

I’m clearing out my little nursery for the summer! Snap up some wonderful plants at wholesale prices, this Friday evening only. Limited quantities. All organically grown.

Friday July 1, 3-6 pm
5523 N. Detroit Ave. (Near N. Killingsworth)

Fruit trees, berry bushes, perennial vegetables, herbs, flowers for pollinators and beneficial insects.

Seeds all 50% off. Great germination rates, packed for 2015 and 2016. Veggies, flowers, natives and herbs and eco-lawn seed. Including unusual greens like amaranth, corn mache and salad burnet.

Read about the plants and how they are grown here.… Prices will be 50% off what is listed on website. Note that I have a lot that’s not on the website and varieties and pot sizes may vary. Examples of some plants and sale prices:

Fruit trees:
Columnar apple ‘Northpole’ and ‘Scarlet Sentinel’ #5 pot $16.50
Asian pear #5 pot, 6′ tall, $11
European pear ‘Rescue’ and ‘Orcas’ #5 pot, 6′ tall, $10
Persimmon ‘Nikita’s Gift’ #2 pot, 3′ tall, $16
Plum ‘Early Laxton’ and ‘Brooks’ #5 pot, 6′ tall, $11
Cornelian Cherry dogwood #2 pot, 4′ tall, $11
Compact Stella sweet cherry #5 pot, 6′ tall, $11

Evergreen huckleberry #1 pot $6 (Native)
Red raspberry #1 pot $7
Salmonberry #2 pot $8 (Native)
Blueberry #2 pot $10
Black currant #1 $5
Red currant #1 $5
Black raspberry (Black cap) #5 pot $10 (Native)
Fuzzy kiwi male #1 pot $5
Arctic raspberry 4″ pot $3, #1 pot $6
Honeyberry #1 pot $5
Aronia ‘Viking’ #1 pot $5, #2 pot $8
Red elderberry #2 pot $10 (Native)
Blue elderberry #2 pot $10 (Native)
Thornless blackberry ‘Satin’ #1 $5

Perennial Veggies:
Sunchoke #1 pot $4.5, #2 pot $8
Seakale #1 pot $6

Herbs: 4″ pot $2
Moroccan mint
Golden oregano
Tea camellia #2 pot $12

#1 pot $6
Narrowleaf milkweed (Native)
Showy milkweed (Western milkweed) (Native)
Daylily, double orange, edible
Yellow eyed grass (Native)
California aralia (Native)

Native shrubs and trees:
#1 pot $6
Redtwig dogwood
Nootka rose
Peach leaf willow
Sitka willow

Beautiful and tough ornamentals:
Chilean lantern tree #5 pot $25
Japanese staghorn cedar #2 pot $16
Alpine hymenanthera #2 pot $16
Blue sedge ‘Blue Zinger’ #1 pot #6
Sedum ‘Angelina’ 4″ pot $2
New Zealand Flax ‘Jack Spratt’ #1 pot $8
Mexican feather grass 4″ pot $2
Labrador violet 4″ pot $2

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Botanizing in the Siskiyous

Here are some images from a recent weekend trip to the Little Applegate Valley in Southern Oregon where the late spring waves of wildflowers and butterflies are aglow. I’ll be co-teaching a 6-day botany course there in May 2017. Stay tuned for details!


Siskiyou Iris


Field that was burned in January growing in thickly with star thistle and natives.


Seed head of a rare Aster family species.


View of the kiln and mountains.


The edge of the prescribed burn in January.


Botanizing with my little one. He’s signing ‘owl’ here.


Medicine oak, poison oak, lacquer bush.


Peeled fir and pine poles ready for use in construction projects.


Triteleia hendersonii


Spending time with the penstemon key in Hitchcock & Cronquist.


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Thank you!

Thanks to all who came to the Open House and Plant sale – it was lovely to see all of you!

I have just a few tomato plants left, and a nice selection of fruit trees, berries, herbs and seeds. To shop by appointment email


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Open House and Plant Sale – this Saturday

You are invited to the Resilience Design Open House this Saturday, April 23.

3 pm to 6 pm – 5523 N. Detroit Ave, Portland, OR 97217

Check out my gardens and little green house, see recent landscape plans by Resilience Design, sample snacks and drinks from the garden and shop for plants and seeds including my favorite fruit trees, berries, perennial veggies, herbs and native pollinator flowers.

Payment methods accepted: Cash, check, credit/debit or paypal direct.

See a partial list of plants and seeds for sale here: EdiblePlantSale_OrderForm_2016_APRIL

Western milkweed flowers.

Western milkweed flowers.


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Tomatoes 2016

Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) – Indeterminate unless noted.

Lovingly and organically grown in Overlook Neighborhood, Portland, these sturdy tomato starts will thrive and offer one of the joys of the summer garden. There’s nothing else like a homegrown tomato!

Plant once the soil is warm, in late May, or use season extenders like cloches or wall o’ water. Keep them in a greenhouse or your sunniest window till then. Harden them off by placing them outside briefly in a shady spot for a few days, then for a longer period in part sun, then plant in rich soil in full sun.

Consistent watering practices, amending the soil with lime and calcium and keeping soil mulched will help avoid disease issues like blossom end rot.

Provide a sturdy cage at least 3′ tall for determinate varieties and 5′ tall or more for indeterminate varieties, or a tall pole/trellis for training if you like. Tomatoes can be grown very successfully in pots. I recommend 5 gallon containers or larger, with good drain holes. They will need daily watering for most of the season.

There will be a limited number available at the open house this Saturday.

3.5″ pot, $3 each

ResilienceDesign_AmishPasteTomato ‘Amish Paste’ – 72 days – Heirloom. Don’t let the name deter you, this is a versatile fruit. They have become a favorite canning tomato of mine, but are also great for salsa, sandwiches and salads. They are meaty, oblong fruits, light red fruits. This particular line is early producing, higher yielding and has larger fruit than other ‘Amish Paste’. Tolerant of partial shade. Great for training up stakes if you’re short on space. Selected for the ‘Slow Food Ark of Taste’.

‘Black Krim’ – 80 days – Heirloom. Large, beefsteak-type up to 18 oz. Dark burgundy fruit with amazing, rich flavor. Can produce well in cool weather or even in partial shade.

‘Chocolate Cherry’ – 70 days – Large, dark cherry type  (1″) with great flavor. Very productive. Resists cracking. Mix these with red and orange cherry tomatoes for a rainbow salad!

Red cherry tomato

Red cherry tomato

‘Red Cherry’ – 70 days – Hybrid. Classic large, bright red cherry tomato with great flavor. Very prolific. Eat them off the vine, skewer them for the grill, slice them in half, drizzle with olive oil and roast on low heat… heavenly! If you have extra, dry them for a sweet winter treat. Mmm, sun-dried tomato pesto!

Gold Nugget  – 60 days – Early, yellow cherry-sized tomato. Bred in Oregon for our climate. Biodynamically grown seed. Grow in the ground or in a large pot. Productive. Great for snacking right off the vine. A favorite with kids.

‘Delicious’ – 80 days –Heirloom. Large, red slicer with rich flavor that produces well even with cool nightime temperatures.

Tomato ‘Pruden’s Purple’ – 67-72 days – Heirloom. A large, Brandywine-type tomato (up to 1 lb or more) that is dark pink/red. Wonderful flavor and texture and produces earlier than most large tomatoes. Withstands cool weather well. I’m very happy to be growing many seeds from Willamette Valley seed grower Carol Deppe, author of ‘The Resilient Gardener’. Her plant selection work focuses on growing plants that are suited to our climate and are productive and flavorful. This heirloom tomato is from her seed as are ‘Amish Paste’, ‘Black Krim’ and ‘Stupice’.

‘Stupice’ – 55 -60 days – Heirloom. A very early red slicing tomato that does fine in cool springs and wet weather. Tolerates a range of conditions, including cool/damp weather, and bears throughout the season. Potato-leafed plant. 2.5″ fruits. Prolific, with classic tomato flavor. Uniform size for canning.


Tomato 'Cherokee Purple'

Tomato ‘Cherokee Purple’

‘Cherokee Purple’ – 80 days – Heirloom. Large, beefsteak-type. Dark burgundy fruit with green shoulders and amazing, rich flavor.

‘Italian Roma’ – 80 days – Heirloom. An excellent red sauce tomato. Compact vines are productive. Determinate – ripens most fruit all once time, and a uniform size for canning.

Tomato questions? Requests for next year? Email

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Spring Plant List

It’s planting time! No big plant sale this year, too busy designing gardens but I do have a wonderful selection of plants for sale: limited quantities of my favorite fruit trees, berry bushes, perennial edibles, herbs and seeds, all chosen to do well in the Portland area. They are the plants I grow and design with every day.

Order by email and pick up by appointment in North Portland, or arrange for delivery for a small fee within the Portland Metro.

Plant Availability PDF EdiblePlantSale_OrderForm_2016_FEB

Also available:

Fall Gold raspberry #1 pot $8

Red raspberry (unknown variety from my garden, amazingly delicious and productive) #1 pot $8

Coming in April: Tomatoes! List of varieties will be posted soon. Limited quantities of heirloom and Willamette Valley specific varieties. All organic!


Native Blue Elderberry


Fall gold raspberry

Fall gold raspberry

Red currant

Red currant


Arctic raspberry




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Social Forestry 2016


In late January I attended a week-long Social Forestry workshop with Siskiyou Permaculture at Wolf Gulch Farm in Southern Oregon. It was a rich course that covered so many aspects of learning to live in deeper relationship with our landscapes and in harmony with the seasons and natural cycles. Some of themes included ecological assessment, carbon sequestration, restoration forestry and crafts/forest products. It was inspiring and encouraging – a great way to start the spring season, with a heart full of gratitude for the opportunity to work with the land and so many people, my colleagues and clients, who are striving to reconnect with and repair the earth. Here are some photos from the week.

Read Tom Ward/Tomi Hazel’s Social Forestry article from The Permaculture Activist here. 


Cool, downhill burning: a prescribed burn on a field affected by invasive star thistle. After the burn we sowed native milkweed seeds on the hot ground.


Making charcoal.


Katie peeling a douglas fir to make a pole.


Peter showing Katelyn how to make a god’s eye to lash together the main structure of an egg basket out of the native dogwood, Cornus sericea ssp. sericea.


Heron weaving a basket.



Peter and Jesse with the frame saw.


Hazel and students on the road to Wolf Gulch Farm, where we assessed and thinned an overstocked stand of douglas fir, ponderosa pine and madrone.


Peter and his in-progress dogwood basket.


Hazel and Katie putting up a hurdle out of white oak and coppiced hazel to support the native dewberry growing at the edge of the woods.


Sketching around the fire in the evening is a nice way to end the day. Acorn woman and some of her consorts.




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Happy 2016!


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