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Gaia's Patterns  RSS feed

 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9473
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
783
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
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I'm not very arty, to put it mildly. But I'm fascinated with patterns in nature, and the way certain patterns form in relation to function. Like the way rivers will drain an area of land, or the veins of a leaf will form a similar pattern - I've seen exactly the same pattern in the local paths around my village in Portugal, which will go to every little patch of land and back again but never form a true network. The pattern was totally different in the UK where the paths would interconnect and criss-cross. I love the way the arrangement and shape of the cells on a honeycomb will naturally form a regular array of hexagons, like amazingly neat and tidy bubbles. And they way spots and stripes form on wild animals - I'm sure there's something to be learned about that which could be applied to the way we make our plantings. But I've never really got my head around patterns well enough to apply them to my permaculture design, and most discussion about it tends to get too arty for my taste.

Toby - could you give me a few pointers on how to develop my pattern appreciation along permaculture lines?

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
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i never much thought about it and didn't really start it on purpose, but after our housefire, the plantings seemed to just fall into circles..and so I continued circles and it works out well for me.
 
Toby Hemenway
author
Posts: 105
22
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One way to understand patterns is to look at the patterns in nature around you--the veins on a leaf, the scales on a lizard, the bark on a tree--and try to figure out why that pattern, and what it is doing. There are also great books on patterns, although not too many on their function (I am working on a book on patterning from a permaculture perspective). "Patterns in Nature" by Peter Stevens, "The Se;f Made Tapestry" and some other books by Philip Ball, and of course, Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander. But just asking "why that pattern?" whenever you see one will go a long way.
 
Dave Miller
pollinator
Posts: 416
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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Here is a pattern that I look at most of the day (it is 6" from my monitor). It is the bottom of a rubber tree leaf.



I am seriously considering this pattern for my garden. Although I am also considering a keyhole pattern.

Some things I have noticed about the design:
1. Some of the side veins are mirrored on the other half of the leaf, some of them are not perfect mirrors.
2. Near the edge of the leaf, each major radiating vein joins the tip of the next one.
3. In between the major radiating veins is a network of tiny veins

 
Rianna Stone
Posts: 12
Location: Oklahoma
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That leaf is gorgeous! I can see how that would make a beautiful pattern for a garden. I was actually thinking the same thing before I got to the end of your post. If you ever get the garden done I would love to see pics!
 
john giroux
Posts: 147
Location: Cumming, GA
6
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Google sacred geometry. Fibonachi and the phi ratio. That will give you all the ideas that nature uses.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkGeOWYOFoA&feature=youtube_gdata_player
 
Isaac Hill
gardener
Posts: 356
Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
9
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I'm really getting into sacred geometry/fractals and their linkages to patterning food forests. I learn information that is very hard to articulate rationally by looking at these patterns. Watch this video and you'll see what I mean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_nfHY61T-U&feature=related
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
7
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im gonna have to subscribe to this thread to take a look at those links when i get a chance later this year
 
                                      
Posts: 172
Location: Amsterdam, the netherlands
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dave, this pattern was exactly what i have been mulling over as a pattern for the market garden i want to start...

great photo.
 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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This is about maybe an entirley different approach to pattern formation, or is it the same? My garden is fairly large - about 15,000 square feet, and it is surrounded on all sides except the side our house is on by a very high quality undisturbed natural forest. The lot itself was wiped clean by the previous owner when they built the house not too long ago so when we arrived on the scene it was in the very early stages of succession - in other words it was covered with weeds up to 8 feet tall, patches of grass here and there, and patches of dry hot sand. We have decided to plant a food forest. First we put in almost all of the trees, and they were spread out in accordance with their eventual size, and shade requirements. Now I'm installing shrubs, mulch plants, legumes, and eventually all the other types of guild plants that permaculture calls for. Most of the plants are being put in places where it's easier to plant them - that is, where the sand was already bare. Funny thing happened this morning while I was planting pigeon pea and lamb's quarters - the garden pattern began to take shape organically! It was as if it made itself happen and I was only there to provide the labor. It sounds kind of crazy I know. But the main pathways through the forest are beginning to form, and eventually I will have the opportunity to insert the keyhole beds, etc in the appropriate places when those spots are revealed to me! The funny thing is, it's starting to look a lot like the leaf photo above. Can anybody tell I'm having fun?
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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^yes lol sounds like great fun
take lots of pics of the whole process if you would please, i'd love to see the transformation take place
 
Patrick Thornson
Posts: 147
Location: Zone Five, B.C., Western Canada.
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Very interesting video about fractals in nature.
 
Austin Max
Posts: 98
Location: South Central Kentucky
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Burra, It sounds like you are cut out to be an artist to me. I graduated with an art degree, and most of the artists I have met are simply people who become completely fascinated with something, relentlessly. They explore things over and over from many different angles and often with many different techniques. You obviously have great powers of observation. Just keep observing and trying, let things come out in your own way, it doesn't have to be "artsy". Whatever feels right, and works for you is true art. In my opinion anything you make or design can be art, and function, whether anyone else thinks so or not. Hopefully that wasn't to artsy of an answer for you, haha. Good luck!
 
Dave Miller
pollinator
Posts: 416
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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Here's a pretty cool pattern:





It is made by a little fish:



Full story: http://www.spoon-tamago.com/2012/09/18/deep-sea-mystery-circle-love-story/
 
John Alabarr
Posts: 80
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I agree. Look into fractals and fibonocci numbers. While you're at it you might find chaos theory interesting also. Go to google and type in chaos theory. There are some awesome images.
 
Marc Troyka
pollinator
Posts: 367
Location: East Central GA, Ultisol, Zone 8, Humid
15
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Christopher Alexander's "A Pattern Language" is specifically about patterns for building houses and villiages. "The Nature of Order" series is about natural patterns in general and how they apply to design.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
7
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AWESOME post dave!

upon following the link i found this: "What was fascinating was that the fish’s sculpture played another role. Through experiments back at their lab, the scientists showed that the grooves and ridges of the sculpture helped neutralize currents, protecting the eggs from being tossed around and potentially exposing them to predators."

possibly a good outlying design to surround a heat trap or paul's tefa idea?
i realise its not under water but if it neutralizes water currents then i would say there is potential to neutralize air currants as well, simply amazing
 
Dave Aiken
Posts: 26
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Rainfall hits the ground, runs off, and flows to and through streams in a leaf-life pattern.


 
220 hours of permaculture video, freaky cheap! http://kck.st/2q6Ycay.
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