What is the twelfth principle of permaculture?

Creatively use and respond to change.

“Maintenance” means keeping something the same. To “maintain” a yard means to prevent it from changing. In a natural yard, it is accepted that change will happen.

Some of this change is predictable. Different flowers bloom at different times of the year, and plants grow bigger from one year to the next.

This predictable change isn’t always desirable. As a tree grows and progressively casts more shade on our yard, it causes problems for our sun-loving plantings. We can respond by pruning the tree, or we can choose to accept and work with the change by gradually adding plants that are adapted to shade.

Sudden, unpredictable changes can interfere with our plans as well. What to do when branches fall from a tree during a storm? We could throw them away. Or, we could use the change creatively. As it is said, when life gives you fallen branches, build a Hugelkultur berm.

Observing change – from sunny days to rainy ones, through the seasons, and across the years – is one of the most enjoyable parts of having a natural yard. With an open mind and a creative spirit, we can make constructive use even of the changes we don’t initially appreciate.

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What is the twelfth principle of permaculture?

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