A taste of ‘the good life’
Growing fruit and vegetables is fast becoming part and parcel of everyday life for many of us who see the benefit to our wallet, and our health.
With such great diversity and choice of fruit trees and bushes, vegetable pots and seeds, there is something out there to suit every garden, every gardener and every taste.
The next (rather big) step towards self-sufficiency, after maintenance of the well-established vegetable plot is Forest Gardening – where the garden no longer has ‘edible sections’, but rather becomes edible in its entirety!
About Forest Gardens
Designed to mimic the structure of a natural forest, a forest garden should be a sustainable, low maintenance space, which is productive, and yields a variety of edible – or at least, useful – crops.
From fruits and nuts, to herbs and spices, medicinal products to useful fibres and materials, the garden should produce a feast of garden delights for the long term, as a biologically sustainable system.
Forest gardens are a more recent innovation in Britain; introduced by Robert Hart in Shropshire just over 30 years ago. Found in abundance for centuries in tropical regions, the challenge of ‘light’ in more temperate regions like Britain meant forest gardening just didn’t catch on.
With plants positioned in up to seven layers, (high canopy down to root zone level) so that they’ll work in harmony and help sustain one another, a little more thought is needed regarding which plants can survive at the lower levels of the garden, where light is low intensity at best, in our climate. Very achievable though, this may just involve exploring some lesser well known plant species that will tolerate shady conditions.
Trevena Cross Forest Garden
I have started to develop my own forest garden up at the top of the nursery behind my barn conversion (now holiday home). It’s still early days but we are all excited to see how it grows and matures. Home to a great variety of more unusual fruits, nuts, herbs, and spices, this garden could be the start of a new offering within the garden centre in the future.
What I am growing:
I have introduced a wide range of unusual fruits, nuts, herbs and medicinal ingredients to the garden including:
White currant ‘Blanka’
St. Johns Wort
Once the garden is established, I am hoping that there will be the potential to take cuttings and introduce successful, well adapted, ‘forest garden’ plants to the nursery for growing in bigger numbers - (we have already started to do this with a small number of interesting fruits so look out for them!)
These varieties will be new, first time introduced to the nursery, but will enable us to present you with the ‘tools’ for forest gardening – or at least a starting point – should you want to have a go at it!