— Paths in the forest garden are useful in so many different ways. They go places. They define places. They keep plants in places.
— Jake has a new website and the blog is back up and running!
— Detail of a mostly native windbreak hedge on the eco-homes project
— Tired of sowing, growing & munching lettuce? A pollarded tree can provide you with a salad leaf crop
— Part 6 of my online course preview has been livestreamed and is now available on my YouTube channel 🙂
— Part 5 of my online course preview has been livestreamed and is now available on my YouTube channel 🙂
— Here’s my current setup of computers & equipment for livestreaming, recording and editing videos for my online forest garden courses. Hopefully this will help if you want to set up your own 😎
— Part 4 of my online course preview has been livestreamed and is now available on my YouTube channel 🙂
— Part 3 of my online course preview has been livestreamed and is now available on my YouTube channel 🙂
— Part 2 of my online course preview has been livestreamed and is now available on my YouTube channel
— Part 1 of my online course preview has been livestreamed and is now available on my YouTube channel
— I’m previewing my online forest garden free, as part of my regular Wednesday Lockdown Livestream
— This Wednesday 3rd June, I’m launching the revamped free mini-course ‘Make a Backyard Forest Plan’, followed by a Zoom Q&A
— Rakesh B, who I met via the National Forest Gardening Scheme, is running an online forest garden design course, from 13 June to 19 July, on weekends
— Forest garden perennial vegetable workshop, recorded for your viewing at your leisure
— It’s official, as of today, I am being furloughed.
— The climate and ecological emergency is happening. A forest garden is fundamentally sustainable, reducing carbon emissions & increasing biodiversity, whilst providing a resilient food system in case of emergency.
— Making a plan for an irregular shaped garden can be tricky. Triangles, cosines and The Internet to the rescue
— A smaller forest garden can still contain a diverse range of edible crop plants, you just need to pay attention to the rootstock, species and final sizes
— For these difficult times, I’m running a weekly free online forest garden workshop, Wednesdays 10am BST, livestreaming on twitch.tv/forestgardenwales
— Yesterday’s blog description should have read “I’ve spent 2 months *ruminating* about this year’s garden trends and it can be summarised in 2 words: more nature”
— I’ve spent 2 months fulminating about this year’s garden trends and it can be summarised in 2 words: more nature
— Gross Domestic Product is a pretty useless measure of a country’s prosperity, it’s time to factor in the true cost of economic activity by using life as the measure
— A handy list of the Roots and All podcasts
— Modular design can make designed meadow planting easier but can it do the same for a forest garden?
— My notes from fantastic talk ‘Wild Orchids of Wales’ by Sue Parker, Publicity Officer at Hardy Orchid Society
— Abigail Lowe at the Botanic Garden Wales is researching which are the most beneficial flowers to plant for hoverflies and other wild pollinators
— My client in Poland wants a Japanese-style garden incorporated into the forest garden, so I made a special trip to meet the staff responsible for the Japanese Garden at Botanic Garden Wales
— As part of my online forest garden course, I’ve been looking at how to use a screenshot of a satellite photo as the basis of a forest garden plan. If you’re comfortable with computers, the process is relatively straightforward.
— Despite my ambivalence toward aesthetics, a pretty picture can connect a wildlife forest garden with a wider audience
— Handy reference for finding out what scientific plant names mean, via The Seed Site
— Links to the State of Nature report 2019 from the British Trust for Ornithology @_BTO. Because the mainstream media really doesn’t seem that interested.
— A forest garden is a niche that falls between “traditional” gardening disciplines
— Do you know how many bugs the Common Oak supports? This screenshot from the ‘Database of Insects and their Food Plants’ took my breath away
— I gave a talk to Llangwm Gardening Club about The Smaller Forest Garden. I digressed onto Native Plants and the Climate Emergency. Oops.
— I like being in forest gardens & living places. You can give it a name (biophilia) if you like. But I just like being there.
— I’m in transition to perennial vegetables but whatever the crop, it is easy to be overwhelmed by vegetables!
— A bird’s eye view of my approach to designing a forest garden, in the form of a slideshow and screencast
— Bruce Slark has been growing a forest garden for nigh on 20 years and his talk at Moylgrove Hall was full of tasty nuggets
— Time to redirect my politically charged radical sentiments elsewhere methinks
— Gardening for others is so much more rewarding, particularly when you know their names
— I’m switching my work to concentrate on wildlife and forest garden design, with a view to an online course next year.
— Creating wildlife habitat in a farm garden
— Does your nursery use peat-free compost? A list of nurseries that do, compiled by Nic Wilson 🙏
— Using peat-based compost contributes to the destruction of wildlife habitats and the release of vast amounts of greenhouse gases. Profit, convenience & ignorance; it is the story of Climate Breakdown.
— Every garden is dynamic, changing over time. When you’re starting out with a forest garden, pollinator friendly flowers and annual veg can be a good place to start.
— Other work in my life has meant a slow down in the forest garden but the trees still grow and the wildlife prospers. Letting go can be a hard but necessary lesson.
— Clare Flynn ran a fantastic wildlife recording workshop at The People’s Orchard in St Dogmaels, here are my notes to my future self
— Involving people in the creation of wildlife habitat in public spaces whilst simultaneously providing a harvest is a way to focus minds on our existential environmental threats
— Inspired by Malcolm Berry’s talk, here’s a simple checklist of invaluable features for your wildlife-friendly garden
— If you create any wildlife friendly space, a forest garden included, care is required to design it well, so as to maximise the benefits.
— The “traditional” way of clearing the ground is to use sheet mulch. An alternative and possibly less wasteful way is to scrape the ground with a mini-digger.
— Using a satellite photo as the basis for your forest garden plan is a good and quick way of creating an approximate plan without having to measure out in the field.
— A simple checklist for anyone interested in setting up a Community Food Forest (AKA Community Forest Garden)
— A fedge (or dead hedge) can have many uses, one of which is as a support for scrambling soft fruit like the Tayberry.
— These nifty plant labels keep on expanding with a growing branch, and are easy to make from old plastic milk bottles.
— A step-by-step guide to establishing a living ground cover: to protect the soil, create a habitat for wildlife and provide you with a harvest. Win, win, win.
— This is the CAD plan for Forest Garden One
— This is the CAD plan for the Ornamental Forest Garden
— A forest garden works with nature to grow edible crops, which is why it’s good for climate change. Here are the reasons why.
— The itinerary for my forest garden tours and workshops, with a link to a “live” page that will be kept up-to-date.
— Now is always a good time to start propagating ground cover plants for a forest garden, indeed any garden. Here’s how to make a simple, no-dig propagation bed, where you can plant-and-forget.
— Advice on how to set up a website for an organisation, as promised to Teresa Filipponi at the Hub Cymru Africa permaculture event at Botanic Garden Wales!
— Both of my apple grafts from The People’s Orchard workshop have taken! Beginners luck methinks…
— These are some of my favourite flowers, simple but colourful flowers, adding a splash of nectar, pollen & colour to that verdant forest garden green
— Forest gardening is not a “style”, rather it is a practical and considerate way of gardening, and its beauty is drawn from necessity. It is the ultimate in vernacular gardening.
— There’s still time to make a bird nesting box for your garden. All you need is 4½ feet of 6x1, a saw, half a dozen screws, a bit of old inner tube and a hole saw.
— The gaps between tree canopies should be about ¼ to ½ of the average tree canopy diameter. This is to allow enough light to reach the understorey plants.
— A daily rambling about the plan for a wildflower meadow at Forest Garden Wales.
— In a rekindling of my daily weblog format, here’s some thoughts about some really important things.
— A small garden can be a forest garden, and this is a peek into how I approach a small forest garden design.
— Orchards need pollinators, which in turn need particular help in spring. Based on DNA barcoding research by @WalesBotanic, these are the top spring flowers. This article first appeared in The People’s Orchard Newsletter.
— The majority of Forest Garden Wales workshops & tours are on Airbnb, with monthly discount slots on Facebook/Eventbrite.
— The first stage of the Ornamental Forest Garden is complete and there are large gaps about the place. This is fine, for now.
— Reading about the Kordia sweet black cherry, I remembered my notes saying black was the least favourite fruit colour of birds
— You have 3 minutes to advise someone starting a forest garden—what are the most important things?
— A quick reference for the multiple layers of a forest garden, because I can only ever remember 3 of them (see my logo)…
— We’ve been planting an 80 metre long, 5 metre high windbreak on the northern boundary of the Ornamental Forest Garden. If you’re doing something similar, you may find these notes handy.
— It’s not glamorous, it’s not plants but I do really enjoy the design and planning stages of a forest garden. It’s the best time to make the big mistakes 😉
— What is the difference between a plant which is a good performer and one which is an aggressive thug?
— These are my rough and ready notes from the grafting workshop for my personal consumption.
— These are just some of the benefits of a forest garden
— A chance encounter has me thinking about optimal plants for a windbreak hedge that will deal with salt-laden gales
— We’ve just been added to this informal network of forest gardens, the aim of which is to facilitate visits between members.
— After a pruning workshop with orchardist Martin Hayes, I marvel at the skills and knowledge of professional horticulturalists.
— I worked with a computer technician called Three-Way George. If you asked him how to do something, he’d always reply “Well, there are three ways…”. Likewise, there are (at least) three ways to describe a forest garden.
— Garden designer Sarah Price gave an insightful and motivating talk at Botanic Garden Wales ‘Inspirational Women in Horticulture’ series. It piqued my curiosity about the role of aesthetics in gardening, and the wider, age-old framing of form and function.
— A small garden web log about the middle of winter in the forest garden
— The term “forest garden” can be misleading. It’s neither forest-sized nor a forest, so rest assured that your small garden can be transformed into a forest garden.
— Botanic Garden of Wales’ has an excellent series of talks called Inspirational Women in Horticulture, I’ve drawn up my own list of inspirational women, some of whom are in horticulture.
— I’m very excited to announce that the 2019 Forest Garden Wales tours and workshops, known as “Experiences” in Airbnb speak, are now available to book!
— Eight flavourful steps to tempt you into the exhilirating world of forest gardening. Creating a forest garden isn’t too difficult, it just takes hard work and perseverance. Like any garden.
— When gardening with a 3 year old, you really have to let go and go with the flow.
— It’s about time forest gardening reached a wider audience. Nevertheless, a garden is also about time; a seasonal, cyclical time. Herein lies some temporal whimsy…
— In a sweltering 12°C of this mildest of winters, I’ve started spreading powdered lime in the Ornamental Forest Garden. Phew.
— Reinvigorated by Ruth Stout’s ‘No Work Garden Book’, I’m back to mulching all the raised beds.
— The purpose within a forest garden is to create a beautiful and productive space which meets the myriad challenges of climate change.
— I thought I might start using the blog as a log of what I do in the garden, a diary of ramshackle thoughts, minor ramblings and garden ambles.
— After a couple of hours deturfing, I now remember why I prefer sheet mulching in order to remove grass.
— Three years after buying Hippophae rhamnoides 'Orange Energy', they’re finally planted in the forest garden Willow Walk.
— I nearly composted the whole Groundcherry bed and I’m very glad I didn’t.
— One for you gdnbloggers – after a recent fracas with Flickr, a quick of summary of where online you can catalogue, store & link to your garden photos
— I have neglected my greens in the forest garden, so I’m making them a Greenery, a place for perennial alternatives to cabbage and spinach.
— Very happy to announce I’m now offering a remote forest garden design service. Using email and Skype, I can create an outline forest garden plan for only £100.
— Thankfully there is a shift in traditional gardening toward trees & wildlife.
— Coloured Poundland pencils come to the rescue in my outline design for a small forest garden.
— A gentle reminder to myself & others to propagate large quantities of hardwood cuttings – they’re so simple & quick, and the rewards are bountiful.
— Oh, if only I could start planting the Ornamental Forest Garden straight away. But no. I need to survey the land before I make my Cunning Plan, before I get to the joy of planting.
— I’m on a mission to prove that a forest garden can be as aesthetically beautiful as it is productive, wildlife friendly & low maintenance.
— Is bulk auto-scheduling akin to spam, or is it a useful tool for promoting your blog?
— TL;DR low maintenance, productive, biodiversity, resilient 🙂
— Bring a splash of colour to your forest garden with some stalwart “system plants”, providing a much needed boost of all-year-round nectar and pollen for your friendly pollinators and predators 🐝
— The “chop ’n‘ drop” method of mulching applies equally to weeding in the forest garden
— After listening to a @margaretroach podcast & reading a @DaveGoulson book, I realised that I don’t need to worry about plants!
— Three Italian Alder, three very different outcomes
— @doctor_oxford’s article on palliative care and nature struck a chord with my own experiences
— Sometimes, failure is the best option
— Stalwart recipe of the foraging community
— A long time ago I heard about the legend of The Stinging-less Netlle, a fabled plant with all of the nitrogen-rich, low-maintenance and nutritional benefits of the stinging nettle without any of the stinging.
— Very easy vegan banana cake, which I topped with our first ever gooseberries (Hinnomaki Red)!
— A forest garden is like a wildlife orchard underplanted with edible shrubs and perennial vegetables. It is productive, sustainable and low-maintenance 💚 🌳
— A recipe for the kind of world famous cakes you can expect on our #ForestGarden tour!
— Photographs of the @permatywi visit to #ForestGarden Wales, by Christine Jones
— @PermaTywi came for a #ForestGarden tour on Saturday, about a dozen, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves!
— With @GWandShows highlighting the benefits of #meadows, rain gardens & #plasticfree, have a look at the magic a #ForestGarden can provide 🙂
— All that doesn’t glitter isn’t not gold! Or, it’s okay to have a green garden like a forest garden
— Gardening should be the most environmentally friendly of endeavours but that isn’t necessarily the case
— Forest Garden Wales is now open for tours by individual members of the public. Tickets on Eventbrite 🙂
— Grass in Welsh is glaswellt, which translates as “blue hay”. I’m using freshly scythed grass as a mulch in the polytunnel 🙂
— Many people believe that woodchip applied as a mulch around plants can tie-up nitrogen and cause deficiencies. Apparently not!
— A bit of a geeky post about the software that powers forestgarden.wales
— Instructions for making your own thermostatically controlled propagator, cribbed from @GWandShows
— Thanks to inspriation from The People’s Orchard and Permaculture Tywi, we now offer a half-day forest garden tour and talk! £10 per person, minimum 5 people
— “Critical” was my word of the day on a recent tour, so I thought I’d formalise the list of things I think are critical when creating a forest garden
— A legion of People Orchardoers made the inaugural tour around Forest Garden Wales
— Fun but serious work on Thursday morning, planting an apple and plum orchard by the car park at Poppit Sands, St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire
— After days of building my own blog, I’m curious as to what other people are using and how well it fits in with social media.
— Wild Bees in Pembrokeshire - an introduction to Species, Diversity and Learning to Record Wildlife with Clare Flynn @wildaboutnature, talk at Moylegrove Old School Hall, Tue 23 Jan 7.30pm
— A quick heads up for handy plants database app
— A 1 hour talk entitled ‘An introduction to forest gardening’, St Dogmaels Abbey, 7.30PM Friday 23rd February 2018, hosted by The People’s Orchard
— Excerpt from Radical Mycology listing which plants have which mycorrhizal associations
— You can make your own arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi inoculant, like rootgrow™, for adding to roots for healthier plants. Notes & photos kindly from Antony & Emma of @HyphaeShroomery. Photos copyright @HyphaeShroomery.
— I am always wary of outright statements but this one is interesting and time saving
— A small clarification about the origins of the name Forest Garden Wales
— Notes from Martin Crawford forest garden course back in the summer of 2016
— Notes from another excellent pruning and planting workshop with Martin Hayes, Orchardist, near Llandudoch in Pembrokeshire
— The sheet mulch is up, the soil is bare and my mind is blank
— Symphytum ibericum (dwarf or iberian comfrey) is a good mineral accumulator ground cover for shady areas, planted buckets of the stuff today
— Starting the final section of the Coppice, with sweet chestnut to be planted soon
— All manner of forest garden stalwarts spotted on a winter visit to the National Trust Colby Woodland Garden near Amroth in Pembrokeshire
— A mixed species north boundary windbreak hedge has grown on leaps and bounds
— No matter how much administration there is in the world, I try to find some time to garden
— Picked up a freebie old chipboard cupboard from the dump, working fantastically as a tray cupboard. +1 recycling
— Not exactly forest gardening but it was lovely and misty this morning in the hills where I released the mouse
— In a garden, it’s 95% perspiration and 5% inspiration
— Scant notes from the Planting & Pruning workshop held by The People’s Orchard in St Dogmaels on 7th December 2017
— Martin Crawford’s predator strip is a combination of perennial flowering plants to attract predatory and pollinating insects
— Forest Garden Wales has a website