Southern Appalachian Plant Society (SAPS)

September Program

Permaculture: A Sustainable Living Methodology for the Home, Garden, and Community

Will Hooker

Landscape Architect, Emeritus Professor NC State University, Certified PINA Permaculture Designer and Teacher

Thursday, September 19, at 7 pm

BrightRidge Power Company, (formerly Johnson City Power Board), 2600 Boones Creek Rd (Hwy 354), Johnson City

Permaculture is a design methodology for creating an ecosystem that mimics nature yet provides for as many of the human needs of food, water, shelter, energy,
etc., as possible. Will’s interest in permaculture began when, on a sabbatical in 1988 while bicycling across the U.S., he became upset by the lack of people out caring for the land and wondered if there might be a better wayfor humans to relate to the Earth. He searched for and found a message about living in a more sustainable manner, a method called permaculture. In 1995, he became certified as a permaculture designer and teacher
and, when Permaculture Institute of North America was formed in 2016, Will was among the first 50 to be recognized by the organization. In 1998, he taught the first university-based permaculture course on the East Coast, and in 1999-2000, with his wife and their 2-year old son, he spent a year circumnavigating the globe visiting permaculture settings in eleven nations. Returning home, Will and his wife began the process of converting their lot to as complete a permaculture setting as possible. He writes, “We now produce about 25% of the food we eat (veggies, fruit, nuts, honey, eggs), generate about 25% of the energy we use, have free hot water whenever the sun is shining, and have a radically reduced material stream through refusing, reducing, reusing, composting, recycling, etc. We are conscious of the unsustainable weight of our environmental footprint and are in a constant effort to radically improve.” Their home garden is a model for permaculture design and is featured on the cover photo for the international best selling book on permaculture by Toby Hemenway, Gaia’s Garden, 2nd Ed. Will’s mission and contribution to permaculture design is to bring beauty, as well as productiveness, to each space and place with which he works.

Will is currently an Emeritus Professor, retired from the NC State Horticulture Department where he taught small-scale garden design for 34 1?2 years in a nationally renowned program which he built and oversaw starting in 1979. He has been involved in award-winning landscape designs in private practice outside the university and is also recognized as an accomplished sculptor, building mostly ephemeral bamboo structures with students and community groups in the Carolinas and Australia.

SAPS Plant Giveaway – Autumn Crocus

At our September SAPS meeting, we will be giving out packages of 6 autumn crocus corms each to 50 SAPS members on a first-come, first-serve basis, one package per household. In addition, we will have 200 more corms for sale at a very reasonable price.

Autumn crocus (Crocus speciosus) are a wonderful flowering

surprise. These long-lived flow- ers in shades of violet blue to mauve with deep blue veins and bright orange styles. Autumn

crocus grows 3-5 inches tall.
Take note: In late winter glossy strappy bright green

leaves come up in the same garden space. This is the corm’s photosynthetic stage and will be around for 5-6 weeks before dying back later in the spring. Do not cut them back!

All parts of this plant are poisonous. Fall crocus are generally critter-proof, e.g., voles, rabbits, and squirrels leave them alone and are avoided by rabbits and deer. In the wild, autumn crocus is found growing in mostly infertile soils of Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan. They will likely multiple in your rich Tennessee garden soil.

PLANT IMMEDIATELY! 3-4 inches deep and 3-4 inches apart in late summer (now) so these crocus (croci) will bloom this fall.


We are offering to members a few recommendations for anyone interested in garden tours and travel both within the United States and Overseas.  Members have travelled with each of these groups and feel confident in suggesting them to you.

Feel free to contact them and ask to be added to their contact list in order to be informed when they have trips available.  You may also want to google them for more information, as some have websites and/or Facebook pages.  Garden Tours and Travel  Troy will be announcing his 2019 tours on

August 1.  He has already posted a few hints on his Facebook page.

Ron and Linda Williams  or call them at 417-408-3880.

Dr. McDuffie, retired professor from Virginia Tech  He has already posted all his 2019 tours.  Take a look!

Jason Reeves, Horticulturist at UT Gardens in Jackson, TN .  Email him and ask to be added to his announcement list when he schedules a tour.

Dr. Sue Hamilton, Director of UT Gardens in Knoxville schedules garden tours almost every year.  Ask her to add you to the announcement list.  The announcements can usually be found on the UT Gardens Facebook and email announcements.

ETSU Arboretum Plant Spotlight: Chinese Emmenopterys

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