Specialising in Ponds and Wildlife



Providing consultation, full garden designs, project management and implementation for individuals, family homesteads, community groups, schools, and retreat centers.

We specialise in ponds and wildlife but are also offering integrated animal systems, food forests, kitchen gardens, herb gardens, grey water systems, water retention landscapes education and training and more.

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Permaculture gardens are a synergistic system that can provide food, water, timber, money, sequestration of carbon, pollution treatment, education, habitat for wildlife, beauty and enjoyment and much more. They differ to conventional gardens or agricultural systems in that initial investment of time, planning and labor is often greater but the yields increase exponentially over time, whilst this investment decreases as the system becomes self-sustaining. In a conventional agricultural system or garden, the initial investment is lower but the yields decrease over time, as the health of the system diminishes, and as a result the amount of investment needed increases.

Cynefin Permaculture Project

Permaculture is a holistic practice which is most useful as a tool for regenerating degraded landscapes. Its success can be measured not only by an abundance of human natural resources but also biodiversity, that is heralded by the sound of bird song, the buzz of insects, or the sweet smell of the soil life, and the return of the wild beasts that were once displaced by human activity.DSCF2580

Symbiont gardens endeavours to create gardens that work with nature not against it, the house or dwelling places of humans transforms from a burden on the ecosystem to a key asset, by synergistically integrating it into the landscape starting with water. Waste water is recycled back into the garden and utilised and cleansed by plants and fungi before filtering down to the water table. The garden is also landscaped to harvest rainwater passively so that it can be stored in ponds, soil, plants and trees minimising the need for irrigation. Freshwater springs can even be created!

Photo May 13, 11 03 05 AM

Like in nature permaculture gardens cycle their own nutrients through beneficial plant, fungi and animal relationships, domestic farm animals can also be woven into the system to support this process and receive mutual benefits.


The gardens also take care of their own pest control by providing habitat for pest predators or diversion strategies to send them away. Pollination is also taken care of by ensuring there is habitat and food for pollinators.


As a human being within the system, your job is actually to bring a little destruction now and again once the system is established. A widely recognised principle of conservation biology states: Intermittent disturbance increases diversity. So, you as a human can do what we do best naturally, agitate nature, disturb the system.Pruning and dropping foliage, this helps stimulate growth, make more light, promote higher yields and care for the soil health, helping to keep the balance.If there are animals, moving animals around the system so they can help with weeding, pruning, pooping, eating pests, building soil and tilling. And harvesting, which is big work and often underestimated, get ready for a yield!!

IMG_1397And aside from these essential jobs, it is likely you will continue making adjustments and finely tuning your system to suit you, becoming an expert with time.

Permaculture gardens are not for you if you want to see tidy ordered edges, naked soil, neatly mowed lawns, no “weeds” no snakes, birds, lizards insects, and you don’t want to hunt for you food to a certain extent, and you do not see beauty in chaos.

Permaculture gardens are for you if you can accept humans are not the intelligence but part of an intelligence, if you want to form an intimate relationship with nature, if you’re willing to come into a place of service to nature, and are willing to recognize order in chaos by seeing the roles of the individual species within your garden. If you’re ready for the adventure of foraging for your food and want to learn how we are already in Eden. Then permaculture gardening is for you!


Symbiont gardens provides support internationally and has been operating mostly in Britain and Guatemala for the last eight years, currently we are operating in Portugal.





















But there is Hope for the Eden we Dream of!

But there is Hope for the Eden we Dream of

Nature is Self Regulating and So are We.


Nature is self regulating, animal populations naturally boom when they first appear until they exceed their available resources. This results in a leveling off, whereby they come into balance with their environment, and can be supported by the system of which they depend, whilst mutually supporting it.

For example if there was a plague of deer, they would eat plants, breed lots, expand the population and then begin to die from starvation because they had eaten away the vegetation, they may also be affected by disease. If there is a population boom of any animal, normally a predator will come in and take advantage (providing it isn’t being controlled by humans) The predator; for example a wolf, will exploit this abundant resource until it becomes over populated as well. The prey population will plummet and the predator or wolf will over take it. Then the wolves will die of starvation and the same factors that caused mortality in the deer. Then the deer will begin to thrive again, this see-sawing of population sizes will occur for sometime until it reaches an equilibrium. Then the plants can regrow and the ecosystem will thrive in harmony and balance. When this stage has been reached the population has reached carrying capacity.


Carrying capacity growth curves showing exponential growth with time, then population leveling off as it meets carrying capacity due to balanced interaction with resources

The carrying capacity for humans is estimated somewhere around the mark of 4- 16 billion, but of course this is hard to predict as we continuously change the way we interact with our environment.

This theory of carry capacity perhaps puts fear in the hearts of those who realise we are at the top of the food chain, (unless you include parasites), so that leaves us with just killing each other, epidemics, starvation or environmental disasters to bring us to a sustainable population size. However evidence suggests that such destruction and instability result in conditions that result in a growing population for humans!.



Surprisingly it’s the opposite of what people often think is the solution to overpopulation in the face of limited resources I.e war.

As according to the theory of Demographic Transition, populations get smaller with more food, better health care, urbanisation, access to jobs and education. The conditions that result from destruction cause an absence of these things.

The theory is broken down into five stages as the graph below demonstrates. 

graph 2

Wikimedia Commons Demographic transition model showing five stages.

Demographic Transition Stages

Stage one represents a preindustrial society, birth and death rates are high and more or less the same because of limited access to food and health care. The whole world was like this until the 18th century when industrialization appeared.

Stage two represents developing countries, changes in agricultural practices mean a greater availability of food. Changes to public health care mean a lower infant mortality rate. During this period the population size rapidly increases as the birth rate is higher than the death rate.

Some middle eastern countries and many parts of Africa are going through stage one or two so they’re populations are either rapidly growing or they are stable due to a high birth and death rate.

In Stage three birth rates fall due to the availability of contraceptives, urbanisation and education and the provision of  work opportunities for women, there is a loss of value in child labour and child education become the emphasis with increased parental investment in the child, the survival rate is higher and there is less need to produce more children. During the 19th century in europe the birth rate declined despite the fact contraceptives were not available. It is important to note that the birth rate changes fundamentally because of a change in values.

Stage four represents a developed country with both low death rates and low birth rates the population size begins to level and come into balance, some scholars speculate that countries remain here, but others speculate a stage five where by Birth rates may drop well below replacement level, leading to a shrinking population size with an aging demographic. This is apparent in countries such as Germany, Italy, and japan. This is a threat to industries that rely on population growth. Death rates may remain low or increase due to diseases caused by lifestyle choices such as lack of exercise, obesity or diabetes. The mortality rate may also increase due to the aging population as the elderly die frequently..

It even looks like the world population is gradually levelling off.

Year Population Yearly % Change
2016 7,432,663,275 1.13 %
2015 7,349,472,099 1.18 %
2010 6,929,725,043 1.23 %
2005 6,519,635,850 1.25 %

Resources are Abundant But Distribution is Uneven!

There is enough food produced to feed all 7, 432 billion of us, we produce 1/3rd to ½ more than we eat and it goes to waste. A 2013 report from the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) estimated that 30–50% (or 1.2–2 billion tonnes) of all food produced remains uneaten.


Wealth distribution is another strange thing 62%  own as much as the poorest half of the world population. 1% percent own more than the rest of us combined.


There is enough food and wealth for all but the distribution is uneven.

Human Behaviour be Evolving from Self Imposed Pressure

So it seems as far as material resources are concerned we have everything we need to thrive in peace and balance, however distribution means it is not accessible to all populations. We have no natural predators keeping our numbers down, but we can come into balance and without exhausting our resources; by creating infrastructure that fosters education, health care and empowerment, particularly of women.


Perhaps the greedy and destructive nature of humanity is a throwback behaviour that is still lingering since before the turn of the 19th Century. Without a natural predator it seems we became our own predator, much in the same way lions will kill lions from other prides. Human behaviour could have evolved to be annihilating of its own species to regulate population size. And thus maintaining demographic transition stage 1 where the birth rate and death rate are more or less the same, as it was throughout the world before the industrial revolution. Now we hold much of the poorer nations and populations in stage 2 (an increasing population size with industrial development), by monopolising the resources that lead to infrastructure that fosters stage 3, 4 and 5 (where birth and death are in balance or leading towards death rates higher than the birth rate resulting in a shrinking population). We seem to be expressing primitive behaviours that are no longer suited to a species with increasing knowledge and opposable thumbs that enable it to materialise its thoughts into the outer world around it.

We have created a new paradigm for ourselves that doesn’t seem to apply to any other species; our survival is dependant on the things we create and how we affect the world as a whole, as this is how far our actions now span. We are less human beings and more often humans doing, creating and manipulating.

With knowledge and power comes increasing responsibility and from responsibility arises the constraints for evolving wisdom.

peaceThe Millenium tree By Josephine Wall

THe Apathetic Activists Medicine BLog

For the love of earth.

The Apathetic Activists Medicine Blog.

(Sharing home truths from planet mum)

By Catherine Griggs 2016



This goes out to all those who care what is happening to us, our beautiful planet and the current species that occupy it.  This is not a doom sayers blog, although at times it may seem dark. Its an offering of perspective for the cultivating acceptance of the planetary situation, which leaves so many of us with a heavy heart. my intention is to rid apathy, so I would just like to emphasis here the difference between acceptance and passivity, Acceptance being a mind state where you are aware and engaged, passivity being a mind state where you are un-engaged and somewhat oblivious.  Among many of us, a feeling of despair and apathy has arisen from beliefs formed from observations of the state of the world . I keep hearing people say there is no hope, that we have gone past the point of no return, so they give up trying and apathy sets in. Im not saying i know what to do about it all (apart from the obvious growing your own food naturally, making habitats for wildlife and cultivating love in you heart).  

But! I lifted a huge weight that burdened me and guilt for being human when i discovered the points i will discuss later in this blog. Ultimately allowing me to love my self more and humanity in general. 


Wisdom by Mario Sanchez Nevado

What about this Man Made Extinction?


Mario Sánchez Nevado

The image above shows man heavily burdened by industry, weighed down by what he has created, walking the animals of a cliff whilst carrying the tree of the life, the tree of wisdom in his hand.

The Hopeful Dream

Many of us share the same dream; that humans could be nature’s stewards and peace tenders, guardians of the earth who co-exist symbiotically, a race of global gardeners who tend carefully and creatively to facilitate the highest expression of this planet which is nothing less than a cornucopia of abundance, where all thrive in harmony with each other and as one on this resplendent living orb we call earth.


The current situation is this.

scientist believe we are currently amidst the Holocene mass extinction; one of the big five mass extinctions in all the earth’s history. And there is strong evidence it is anthropogenic (caused by humans).

It is the worst rate of species loss since the dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago. And according to the fossil record the extinction rates are higher than they have ever been. Scientists estimate the normal background extinction rates are around 1- 5 species per year owing to causes unrelated to the activities of humans or commits or other great earthly disasters.. It is now estimated we are currently  losing around 1,000 to 10,000 times this.

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment calculated the extinction rate is around  8,700 species a year, or 24 a day. A more recent analysis by  U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity concluded upto 150 everyday.

Please see http://www.iucnredlist.org/about/summary-statistics for more information

A Few of the Amazing Beasts We Have Lost


Wikimedia Commons The golden toad, once abundant in parts of Costa Rica, was declared extinct in 2007.


Wikimedia Commons The Barbary lions, the last was hunted to extinction by humans either 1942 0r as late as 1960.


Wikimedia Commons The Thylacine or (Tasmanian tiger) was a dog like marsupial they were wiped out in the 20th century at the hands of man as their pelts were valuable and they were predating livestock. The last wild Thylacine died in 1930 at the last last captive in 1936.

Some of the Familiar and Much Loved Faces Under Threat of Extinction


Time to Flip the Perspective

What if Biodiversity Decimation is Biodiversity Facilitation?

A mass extinction happens around every 26 million years and this one is right on time, and it’s apparently because of us.

This is very sad, but could biodiversity decimation of gargantuan proportions be our natural role as a species? As a catalyst for actually enhancing and perpetuating life on earth?


 ©2012-2016 ady2fast

After each great extinction a new species regime evolved, mammals only evolved because the dinosaurs died out giving way to ecological niches that mammals could then occupy, thrive and diverge.

We call ourselves separate from nature but how can we be?, we are nature, we are of this earth. And even if we aren’t as some people speculate, then we are of this universe and that is nature too.

And as for being biodiversity facilitators, what more could we do than bring on the next great species shift?; A divergence of a new species regime.

So although in the present and short term we appear to be greatly diminishing biodiversity, in the long run we are enhancing it. We are a keystone species acting for evolution itself.

 In conservation biology there is a principle that intermittent disturbance increases diversity. For example; like a herd of cows going over a muddy field and making hoof holes, seeds get in by the wind, from the animal’s fur or maybe they lay dormant in the soil waiting to be exposed, when they grow the area is diversified. If the cows keep on treading the ground and creating disturbance which is not intermittent then the area will become less diverse. Disturbance is relative, we are not giving nature time to recover now, but in the long run even heavy disturbance increases diversity. All is relative to scale and time.

Our Existence is Reflected in Eternity

There is no way we can predict how we will influence the future, although it would seem we have made good conditions for genetic mutations to occur on a cellular level.

We’ve polluted with so many agents that trigger genetic mutation; radiation from war and nuclear, pesticides and chemical warfare and plastic in the seas that has broken down to small enough particles that it can now interact with dna when ingested. We have emitted greenhouse gases that have damaged the ozone layer allowing more of the sun’s radiation to penetrate the earth, now it bombards the DNA of organisms everywhere with greater ferocity.

We have isolated populations of animals through habitat destruction so they can no longer migrate or find mates causing them to inbreed and go through genetic bottlenecks, which although this leaves them vulnerable to disease it also facilitates mutations that sometimes are beneficial. Selection pressures are high because resources are limited for mates, food and habitat. The best adaptations are being selected by nature in the evolutionary arms race to survive and procreate. The conditions are ripe for species divergence.


Cyanobacteria  By Matthew J Parker – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Wikimedia Commons

Around 2.5-million years ago cyanobacteria where the first living organisms on earth. They absorbed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and released oxygen. Eventually they evolved into plants and enough oxygen was released into the atmosphere to support animals. Now today each out breath of an animal is matched by the in breath of a plant.

As Tom Chi rightly pointed out “If those early cyanobacteria had the capacity to think. They would not be able to imagine how they could affect the world today with just their breath”.

In time all the things we worry about not decomposing; like plastic, will have vanished, even the radiation. One day It is highly likely there will be no trace of us at all. The earth transforms all, she’s the ultimate alchemist. All that may be left of us will be the species that evolved in response to the selection pressures we influenced in a time long forgotten.

So it seems good and bad are two sides of the same coin and which is which can only be decided by the perceiver of the circumstance.  Through all this suffering we are facilitating the next great shift, the sixth mass extinction and thus the sixth species regime. Chopping and Composting the biodiversity of planet earth to fertilise the next bloom.