Words by Lilia Rossana

Living in a transient town makes you used to say goodbyes, but it doesn’t become any easier. Layla left Queenstown to travel the North Island, chasing a longer summer and to explore her newfound interest in gardening and landscape. As she says “I had little knowledge: two months of landscaping experience and a few balcony garden attempts. I travelled and lived the dream for a while, attending festivals, road tripping and connecting with old friends, one of which I happened to do a market in Tauranga, when I was introduced to a couple who worked on a property, growing food and tending the organic orchard – Permaculture came to my life!”

After this first encounter, things seemed to flow and Layla ended volunteering on a Permaculture Design Course on the Coromandel. In the total, they were four months of intensive learning and personal growth.

Back in Queenstown, on her last night in New Zealand, Layla and I sipped wine by the fire. But the sparkle was even brighter in her eyes. I could see she had found her passion in life, and mesmerized be her glow I listened, and learned.

Permaculture is a design system for ecological and sustainable living, integrating nature, people, buildings, and community. The concept of living with nature instead of against it, mimicking the systems that have been perfected over thousands of years - not only sustaining the earth as it is but also improving it.

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“It all makes so much sense: observe how nature flows through space already (sun, water, wind etc). Adding bees, appreciating and admiring the worms, learning to love and understand beneficial insects and weeds, creating functional relationships between the components of your garden: everything is connected to everything else”.

That is the beauty of living in a transient place like Queenstown, people might leave, but they always plant some seeds on the way.  Permaculture is a concept that is growing slowly, you just should be afraid of sitting still and not taking part of it.

Layla Staegemann is now in Australia and aiming the world. She keeps exploring, appreciating life and permaculture gardening. “At the end of the day we all need food to sustain ourselves, growing your own food is making a difference whilst observing nature in all its glory and giving your body real, organic and delicious food!"