The Story Behind the Spiral Garden

In March of 2013, I attended an “Introduction to Permaculture” class taught by Netsah Zelinsky, a certified Permaculture Instructor. As part of the class, we built a spiral herb garden in the front yard of one of the participants. I was interested, but had no plans to make one anytime soon, if ever.

I woke up during the night, however, with a drive to build one, right away. I must have done so much planning in my sleep, because when I woke up in the morning, I knew exactly how I would build it. It was important to me that it was an inexpensive project, so I had decided I would use pieces of broken concrete.

I knew that there were brick and concrete remnants scattered throughout my yard, so after breakfast, I started gathering it and began to make the spiral. After some time, though, I realized I didn’t have nearly enough concrete to finish it. What was I going to do?

The answer came to me immediately. Two weeks before, somebody had dumped a huge load of concrete about a block away from my house. It is an illegal thing to do, but because it is a reasonably isolated area, people feel free to dump their old paint cans, their couches, and every other kind of junk you can imagine. The city workers clean up that area about once a week, but they hadn’t picked up the concrete, probably because the dump was so big and so heavy.

So I knew exactly where to get the rest of the materials I needed! I had been very irritated that the concrete had been dumped, but now it seemed like a gift, a goldmine even!!!

Throughout the day, I carted trunk loads of concrete home and continued building the spiral.  Interestingly, when I drove by the dump site the next day, all of the concrete was gone.  I definitely felt like I was experiencing the Divine.

Over the next two days, I was able to complete the spiral and sow radish, bok choy and carrot seeds, plus I planted pansies, chives, and a flowering plant that is a form of snapdragon. Within five days the bok choy and radishes had sprouted, and a week later the carrot seedlings were up! The flowers were beautiful and the vegetables were plentiful until fall.

The pictures below show the project from beginning to end. If you click on one it will become a slide show. Enjoy!

15 thoughts on “The Story Behind the Spiral Garden

  1. This was interesting, who knew there was something called Permaculture. Quite a back breaking work, but the end result is beautiful. I do the garden in my house(don´t laugh), trim bushes, take out the weeds where they are not suppose to grow, e.t.c. I find it quite relaxing. But never in my life will I attempt to do what you do. Or maybe, I wouldn´t though I would be doing the garden 2 years ago, and here I am.

    Beautiful pictures to see the evolution.


    1. Nice catch with realizing you didn’t think you would be doing what you are doing now 2 years ago. I have come to the point where I assume that if I say I will never do something, it will end up being a major part of my life some time in the future! (Unless it is illegal or immoral that is.) Remember even in this example I went to bed not planning on making one, at least in the foreseeable future and woke up with it planned and a drive to do it NOW. I’m glad you are doing the garden at/in your house. Enjoy!


  2. Your spiral garden is beautiful. Thank you for expanding my knowledge base — I now know a little about permaculture. I just listened to a video by David Holmgren explaining “how you can change the world with permaculture.


  3. I LOVE IT and now I want to do one! There are plenty of large rocks unwanted in the fields around my house that would be PERFECT! If only I had more time! I suppose I could set it up while I can this summer and it’ll be ready to plant in next 🙂 THANK YOU!


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