Blog

  • Grass path up side of polytunnel, by bushy green bed

    Multipurpose pathways

    — Paths in the forest garden are useful in so many different ways. They go places. They define places. They keep plants in places.

  • View over sunny river valley

    Welcome back

    — Jake has a new website and the blog is back up and running!

  • View along top of a bank with newly planted hedge

    Mostly native

    — Detail of a mostly native windbreak hedge on the eco-homes project

  • Blurry photo of leaves in the wind

    Tree leaves for salad

    — Tired of sowing, growing & munching lettuce? A pollarded tree can provide you with a salad leaf crop

  • White tree blossom against blue sky

    Pt.6 Canopy Tree Layer

    — Part 6 of my online course preview has been livestreamed and is now available on my YouTube channel 🙂

  • Close up of top of kale leaf

    Pt.5 Perennial Vegetables

    — Part 5 of my online course preview has been livestreamed and is now available on my YouTube channel 🙂

  • Screenshot of livestreaming software and two webcams in operation

    Livestreaming & recording setup for online courses

    — 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 😎

  • Polytunnel & young hedge overlooking valley

    Pt.4 Protect a Backyard Forest

    — Part 4 of my online course preview has been livestreamed and is now available on my YouTube channel 🙂

  • CAD plan atop satellite photo

    Pt.3 Design a Backyard Forest

    — Part 3 of my online course preview has been livestreamed and is now available on my YouTube channel 🙂

  • Chalk circles on bark mulch

    Pt.2 Plan a Backyard Forest

    — Part 2 of my online course preview has been livestreamed and is now available on my YouTube channel

  • Small edible forest garden, wooden planks and woodchip paths

    Pt.1 Introducing the Backyard Forest

    — Part 1 of my online course preview has been livestreamed and is now available on my YouTube channel

  • Text over photo of red flower and bark with young seedlings

    Forest Garden Course, livestreamed free over 8 weeks from Wed 10th June

    — I’m previewing my online forest garden free, as part of my regular Wednesday Lockdown Livestream

  • Screenshot of 3D Apple Maps
  • Vertical stripes, from blue on the left to red on the right, showing increase in annual temperatures in Wales

    Warming Stripes

  • Screenshot of livestream text over photo of yellow poppy

    Lockdown Livestream, launch of free mini-course

    — This Wednesday 3rd June, I’m launching the revamped free mini-course ‘Make a Backyard Forest Plan’, followed by a Zoom Q&A

  • Screenshot of writing on frothy white hawthorn blossom

    Forest Garden plants list

  • Umbellifer, white umbels of flowers

    Online forest garden design course, by RakeshB

    — 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

  • Screenshot of Livestream details over photo of hoverfly
  • Hoverfly on small white flowers

    Wildlife Forest Garden May 2020

  • Small pink flower and green foliage

    Perennial Veg workshop April 2020

    — Forest garden perennial vegetable workshop, recorded for your viewing at your leisure

  • Furloughed

    — It’s official, as of today, I am being furloughed.

  • Young, pointed & serrated tree leaves

    Are you ready?

    — 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.

  • Screenshot of video, showing valley, polytunnel & forest garden
  • Screenshot of slideshow, big photo of hoverfly, small square with smirking face

    Small Forest Garden Workshop

  • Outline of garden on graph paper triangulated with interconnecting triangles

    Measure with triangles

    — Making a plan for an irregular shaped garden can be tricky. Triangles, cosines and The Internet to the rescue

  • Mature free standing espaliered fruit tree

    Plants for a small forest garden

    — 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

  • Dead hedge in process of being built, with blue hedge hammer
  • Screenshot of livestreaming from the forest garden, view of dead hedge

    Free Online Workshops

    — For these difficult times, I’m running a weekly free online forest garden workshop, Wednesdays 10am BST, livestreaming on twitch.tv/forestgardenwales

  • Snowdrops in late afternoon sun

    2020 Garden Trends Correction

    — 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”

  • Lichen on a branch

    2020 Garden Trends

    — I’ve spent 2 months fulminating about this year’s garden trends and it can be summarised in 2 words: more nature

  • Trees silhouetted by late afternoon sun

    Life as the measure

    — 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

  • Screenshot of Roots and All podcast website

    Roots and All review

    — A handy list of the Roots and All podcasts

  • Screenshot of coloured square grid

    The idea of a modular forest garden

    — Modular design can make designed meadow planting easier but can it do the same for a forest garden?

  • White flower orchid spike

    Wild Orchids of Wales

    — My notes from fantastic talk ‘Wild Orchids of Wales’ by Sue Parker, Publicity Officer at Hardy Orchid Society

  • Cover of Planting in a Post-wild World book
  • Close up of hoverfly on oregano flowers

    Hoverfly & wild pollinators research at Botanic Garden Wales

    — Abigail Lowe at the Botanic Garden Wales is researching which are the most beneficial flowers to plant for hoverflies and other wild pollinators

  • Moss covered stones by dry gravel Japanese Garden

    The Japanese Forest Garden

    — 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

  • Tubular pinkish flowers
  • Screenshot of CAD program with large scale satellite photo in background and circles for trees

    Creating a forest garden plan with a satellite background image

    — 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.

  • Small bird on a seed head

    Pretty forest garden pictures

    — Despite my ambivalence toward aesthetics, a pretty picture can connect a wildlife forest garden with a wider audience

  • Screenshot of video editing software

    Recording Online Course

  • Painting of distinguished 18th Century academic

    The meaning of Latin plant names

    — Handy reference for finding out what scientific plant names mean, via The Seed Site

  • Cover image for State of Nature report 2019

    State of Nature report 2019

    — 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.

  • Hand-drawn Venn diagram. Ornamental garden, vegetable garden & wildlife garden in circles, forest garden in intersection.

    Inter-disciplinary forest garden

    — A forest garden is a niche that falls between “traditional” gardening disciplines

  • Autumnal oak tree branches against blue sky

    One screenshot to change the way you think about native plants

    — 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

  • Man in checked shirt giving talk in front of screen

    If we don’t change direction, we’ll end up where we’re going

    — I gave a talk to Llangwm Gardening Club about The Smaller Forest Garden. I digressed onto Native Plants and the Climate Emergency. Oops.

  • Pear hanging on branch

    My favourite place

    — I like being in forest gardens & living places. You can give it a name (biophilia) if you like. But I just like being there.

  • Willow basket full of red tomatoes

    Overwhelmed by Vegetables

    — I’m in transition to perennial vegetables but whatever the crop, it is easy to be overwhelmed by vegetables!

  • Screenshot of CAD garden plan, overlaid on satellite photo

    Overview of my forest garden design process

    — A bird’s eye view of my approach to designing a forest garden, in the form of a slideshow and screencast

  • Man standing in front of projector screen

    Bruce Slark Forest Garden Talk

    — Bruce Slark has been growing a forest garden for nigh on 20 years and his talk at Moylgrove Hall was full of tasty nuggets

  • Crowd with banners in front of modern buildings

    More or less politics

    — Time to redirect my politically charged radical sentiments elsewhere methinks

  • Ladybird climbing up stem

    Wildlife: the power of a name

    — Gardening for others is so much more rewarding, particularly when you know their names

  • Computer Aided Design screenshot of small garden design

    Pivot

    — I’m switching my work to concentrate on wildlife and forest garden design, with a view to an online course next year.

  • View over stock fence to cloudy sunlit sky

    Hawthorn all the way

    — Creating wildlife habitat in a farm garden

  • Screenshot of peat free nursery list web page

    Peat Free Nurseries

    — Does your nursery use peat-free compost? A list of nurseries that do, compiled by Nic Wilson 🙏

  • Massive peat mining field with tiny yellow mining machine

    PeatFree Climate Emergency

    — 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.

  • Bright pink and purple flowers next a gravel path

    My advice for a forest garden? Flowers and annual veg

    — 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.

  • Messy hedge thing with young trees in the background

    Let go control

    — 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.

  • Group of half dozen people standing on grass

    Biological recording workshop

    — Clare Flynn ran a fantastic wildlife recording workshop at The People’s Orchard in St Dogmaels, here are my notes to my future self

  • Sketch of strip of forest garden on grass verge

    Wild Food Corridors

    — 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

  • Scruffy, muddy, wildlife pond

    Wildlife garden checklist

    — Inspired by Malcolm Berry’s talk, here’s a simple checklist of invaluable features for your wildlife-friendly garden

  • Scrubland, grass paths, wild flowers, house through trees

    Designing wilderness well

    — If you create any wildlife friendly space, a forest garden included, care is required to design it well, so as to maximise the benefits.

  • Man in mini-digger, scraping the top soil

    Forest garden ground cover preparation

    — 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.

  • Satellite photo

    Forest garden CAD photo

    — 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.

  • Bundle of green plants in a mixed up bed of fruit

    Community Food Forest

    — A simple checklist for anyone interested in setting up a Community Food Forest (AKA Community Forest Garden)

  • Newly planted shrubs in front of dead hedge made from old branches

    Lynda’s Tayberry fedge

    — A fedge (or dead hedge) can have many uses, one of which is as a support for scrambling soft fruit like the Tayberry.

  • Hand holding plant label curled around small branch

    Recycled ever-expanding plant labels

    — These nifty plant labels keep on expanding with a growing branch, and are easy to make from old plastic milk bottles.

  • Bright yellow flowers of mustard by a grass path

    How to establish ground cover in a forest garden

    — 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.

  • CAD plan of forest garden

    Forest garden plan

    — This is the CAD plan for Forest Garden One

  • CAD plan of forest garden, overlaying satellite photo

    Ornamental Forest Garden plan

    — This is the CAD plan for the Ornamental Forest Garden

  • Raspberry bush and strawberry ground cover

    Why a forest garden is good for climate change

    — A forest garden works with nature to grow edible crops, which is why it’s good for climate change. Here are the reasons why.

  • Red flower on spiky branch

    Forest garden itinerary

    — The itinerary for my forest garden tours and workshops, with a link to a “live” page that will be kept up-to-date.

  • Patch of leaves in a sloping field, fence in the background

    Creating a simple propagation bed

    — 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.

  • WordPress theme for garden website

    Grow your own website

    — 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!

  • Hand cradling newly grafted apple in leaf

    Easy graft

    — Both of my apple grafts from The People’s Orchard workshop have taken! Beginners luck methinks…

  • Bumblebee on open blue flower https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarashotley/34874866562/

    Splashes of colour in a sea of shimmering green

    — These are some of my favourite flowers, simple but colourful flowers, adding a splash of nectar, pollen & colour to that verdant forest garden green

  • Allotment in winter with ramshackle buildings

    Gardening in the vernacular

    — 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.

  • Bird nesting box in evening sun on back of big sycamore, polytunnel in the distance

    Bird nest box plan

    — 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.

  • CAD plan drawing of trees, showing two examples of spacing

    Tree spacing in the forest garden

    — 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.

  • Recently cleared bramble from sloping field next to wood

    Wildflower meadow genesis

    — A daily rambling about the plan for a wildflower meadow at Forest Garden Wales.

  • Bumblebee on purple periwinkle flower

    Act right now on climate

    — In a rekindling of my daily weblog format, here’s some thoughts about some really important things.

  • Montage of original photo, sketch and two photoshop mockups

    Designing a small forest garden

    — A small garden can be a forest garden, and this is a peek into how I approach a small forest garden design.

  • Bumblebee on yellow willow catkins

    Flowers for pollinators in an orchard

    — 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.

  • Screenshot of Forest Garden Wales’ events page

    Our forest garden tours & workshops setup

    — The majority of Forest Garden Wales workshops & tours are on Airbnb, with monthly discount slots on Facebook/Eventbrite.

  • Big cumulus cloud, blue sky over mature trees on horizon, new garden foreground

    Leave space

    — The first stage of the Ornamental Forest Garden is complete and there are large gaps about the place. This is fine, for now.

  • Solitary black mulberry on a tree

    Most attractive fruit colours to birds

    — Reading about the Kordia sweet black cherry, I remembered my notes saying black was the least favourite fruit colour of birds

  • Screenshot of inside of forest garden book

    Condensed forest garden knowledge

    — You have 3 minutes to advise someone starting a forest garden—what are the most important things?

  • Tree shrubs crowded up against each other

    The seven layers of a forest garden

    — A quick reference for the multiple layers of a forest garden, because I can only ever remember 3 of them (see my logo)…

  • Illustration showing how to sheet mulch new windbreak hedge in weedy area

    How to plant & mulch a weedy windbreak

    — 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.

  • Satellite photo of field overlayed with forest garden CAD plan

    The joy of forest garden planning

    — 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 😉

  • Large clump of bramble dug out of hedge

    Forest garden thug or doer?

    — What is the difference between a plant which is a good performer and one which is an aggressive thug?

  • Pots in the polytunnel

    The People’s Orchard Grafting Workshop with Steve Wilson

    — These are my rough and ready notes from the grafting workshop for my personal consumption.

  • Snow covered young orchard on hill and chickens

    Benefits of a Forest Garden

    — These are just some of the benefits of a forest garden

  • Close up of blue green stalk and leaves of the Saltbush

    Windbreak hedges for an exposed coastal site

    — A chance encounter has me thinking about optimal plants for a windbreak hedge that will deal with salt-laden gales

  • Graphic with the words "Forest Garden Network"

    Forest Garden Network

    — We’ve just been added to this informal network of forest gardens, the aim of which is to facilitate visits between members.

  • Close up of cut in bark of apple tree branch

    I know nothing

    — After a pruning workshop with orchardist Martin Hayes, I marvel at the skills and knowledge of professional horticulturalists.

  • White apple blossom

    Three ways to describe a forest garden

    — 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.

  • Hanging white flowers of a Hellebore, wet green foliage

    The place you want to be

    — 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.

  • Stunning pink sunset over line of bare trees

    The forest garden in midwinter

    — A small garden web log about the middle of winter in the forest garden

  • Small white dog in front of sunny green plant bed, with dark trees in background

    Your small garden can be a 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.

  • Screenshot of Botanic Garden Wales’ Inspirational Women in Horticulture talks website

    Inspirational women (some of them in horticulture)

    — 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.

  • Screenshot of Airbnb forest garden workshop booking page

    Now taking bookings for forest garden tours and workshops

    — 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!

  • Hand beneath green leaf on tree

    Creating a forest garden in 8 easy steps

    — 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.

  • Sheet mulch and rather untidy corner of the garden

    Gardening like a child

    — When gardening with a 3 year old, you really have to let go and go with the flow.

  • Journal with the title “One Line a Day: A Five Year Memory Book”

    The forest garden: it’s about time

    — 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…

  • Lines of grey powdered lime on rough pasture field

    Cream-crackered lime

    — In a sweltering 12°C of this mildest of winters, I’ve started spreading powdered lime in the Ornamental Forest Garden. Phew.

  • Old wheelbarrow full of rotting hay in a field

    Mulching raised beds

    — Reinvigorated by Ruth Stout’s ‘No Work Garden Book’, I’m back to mulching all the raised beds.

  • Close up of white hawthorn blossom

    Gardening with urgency and purpose

    — The purpose within a forest garden is to create a beautiful and productive space which meets the myriad challenges of climate change.

  • Freshly deturfed and mulched side of an existing bed, next to raised beds

    Gardener’s log, start date 2018-12-20

    — 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.

  • Rainbow over the forest garden

    Deturfing the Greenery

    — After a couple of hours deturfing, I now remember why I prefer sheet mulching in order to remove grass.

  • Newly planted trees in recently mulched beds

    Sea Buckthorn planted in Willow Walk

    — Three years after buying Hippophae rhamnoides 'Orange Energy', they’re finally planted in the forest garden Willow Walk.

  • Gloved hand holding secateurs and bright orange Groundcherry fruit

    The Groundcherry Experiment

    — I nearly composted the whole Groundcherry bed and I’m very glad I didn’t.

  • Screenshot of online photo catalog interface

    Where to store your garden blog photos

    — 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

  • Close up from above of purple sprouting broccoli leaves

    Eat your greens from the Forest Garden Greenery!

    — 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.

  • Outline forest garden CAD plan

    Now offering remote forest garden design service!

    — 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.

  • Jungly forest garden, with spiky leafed plant and opposing leaf tree

    ‘Miniature Woodlands’ at Chelsea Flower Show

    — Thankfully there is a shift in traditional gardening toward trees & wildlife.

  • CAD forest garden plan

    My first ever paid forest garden design job

    — Coloured Poundland pencils come to the rescue in my outline design for a small forest garden.

  • Close up of pink round snowberry, with sinewy branches & shiny leaves

    Now is the best time for hardwood cuttings

    — A gentle reminder to myself & others to propagate large quantities of hardwood cuttings – they’re so simple & quick, and the rewards are bountiful.

  • Two chickens running toward camera across measuring tape on rough cut field

    The surveying legwork of the Ornamental #ForestGarden

    — 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.

  • Sunset over close up of white pink blossom

    Introducing the OFG: Ornamental Forest Garden!

    — I’m on a mission to prove that a forest garden can be as aesthetically beautiful as it is productive, wildlife friendly & low maintenance.

  • Screenshot of bulk auto-scheduling service

    My social media blog experiment

    — Is bulk auto-scheduling akin to spam, or is it a useful tool for promoting your blog?

  • Close up of red autumn leaves on tree

    Benefits of a forest garden

    — TL;DR low maintenance, productive, biodiversity, resilient 🙂

  • Close up of purple drooping comfrey flowers

    Top 10 bee friendly plants for the forest garden

    — 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 🐝

  • Weeded plants on a bark mulch

    Weeding forest garden style

    — The “chop ’n‘ drop” method of mulching applies equally to weeding in the forest garden

  • Pale pink Quince blossom in the low evening sun

    A forest garden is a way to garden

    — After listening to a @margaretroach podcast & reading a @DaveGoulson book, I realised that I don’t need to worry about plants!

  • Young tree in front of young hedge

    A Tale of Three Trees

    — Three Italian Alder, three very different outcomes

  • Closeup of white Rosa rugosa flower with bumblebee in centre

    When you are dying, surround yourself with life

    — @doctor_oxford’s article on palliative care and nature struck a chord with my own experiences

  • Big clouds behind row of trees, telephone line and small green hedge

    I’ve had enough, it’s time to quit!

    — Sometimes, failure is the best option

  • Bowl of nettle soup with creme fraiche

    Nettle soup

    — Stalwart recipe of the foraging community

  • Close up of nettle, with flowers and slightly curled leaves

    The Lure of the Stinging-less Nettle

    — 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.

  • Cake with fruity topping in tin

    Vegan banana cake

    — Very easy vegan banana cake, which I topped with our first ever gooseberries (Hinnomaki Red)!

  • Misty view of mature trees in middle distance, foreground young trees in grass in garden

    What is a Forest Garden?

    — A forest garden is like a wildlife orchard underplanted with edible shrubs and perennial vegetables. It is productive, sustainable and low-maintenance 💚 🌳

  • Plate piled high with chocolate brownies

    Vegan Chocolate Brownies

    — A recipe for the kind of world famous cakes you can expect on our #ForestGarden tour!

  • Man in hat with pouch (not paunch) standing in the long grass, talking with a circling group of permaculturalists, polytunnel, house and hills in the background.

    Photographs from the Permaculture Tywi forest garden tour

    — Photographs of the @permatywi visit to #ForestGarden Wales, by Christine Jones

  • Chocolate brownies on a white plate

    Permaculture Tywi forest garden tour

    — @PermaTywi came for a #ForestGarden tour on Saturday, about a dozen, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves!

  • Hover fly on pale pink composite flower

    7 Magical Things about Forest Gardens

    — With @GWandShows highlighting the benefits of #meadows, rain gardens & #plasticfree, have a look at the magic a #ForestGarden can provide 🙂

  • Photo of a very green bed surrounded by grass path

    The Green Tangle

    — All that doesn’t glitter isn’t not gold! Or, it’s okay to have a green garden like a forest garden

  • Photo of yellow mustard flowers in foreground with tree lined hedge and bark mulch in distance

    How green is your garden?

    — Gardening should be the most environmentally friendly of endeavours but that isn’t necessarily the case

  • Screenshot of Forest Garden tour poster

    Forest garden tours now public!

    — Forest Garden Wales is now open for tours by individual members of the public. Tickets on Eventbrite 🙂

  • Wooden hay rake leaning on apple tree in front of freshly scythed grass

    My blue hay mulching experiment

    — Grass in Welsh is glaswellt, which translates as “blue hay”. I’m using freshly scythed grass as a mulch in the polytunnel 🙂

  • Woodchip used as a mulch in a border

    Does woodchip mulch rob nitrogen from the soil?

    — Many people believe that woodchip applied as a mulch around plants can tie-up nitrogen and cause deficiencies. Apparently not!

  • Screenshot of Netlify CMS screen on forestgarden.wales

    Now using Netlify CMS!

    — A bit of a geeky post about the software that powers forestgarden.wales

  • Side view of thermostatic propagator with clear plastic lid in a shed

    Heated propagator howto

    — Instructions for making your own thermostatically controlled propagator, cribbed from @GWandShows

  • Photo of polytunnel on a slope with raised beds to the side, mature leafless trees behind and blue sky

    Forest garden tours now operating!

    — 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

  • Small raised bed with bark mulch and small plants, old wheelbarrow behind

    The Order of Things

    — “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

  • Five peoople about to plant trees, in front of a ruined building

    The People’s Orchard visit Forest Garden Wales

    — A legion of People Orchardoers made the inaugural tour around Forest Garden Wales

  • People planting trees on bracken covered mound, field & hill in background

    The promise of planting a tree

    — Fun but serious work on Thursday morning, planting an apple and plum orchard by the car park at Poppit Sands, St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire

  • Screenshot of Forest Garden Wales website in browser, with browser tools showing

    What blogging software do you use?

    — 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.

  • Backs of heads looking at projector screen in hall

    Notes from Wild Bees in Pembrokeshire talk

    — 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

  • Screenshots of Joy of Plants database app

    Joy of Plants app for iPhone

    — A quick heads up for handy plants database app

  • Grass path leading to mature trees, young hedge on the right, sheet mulch on the left

    My maiden forest garden talk!

    — 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

  • Radical Mycology - decompose toxins to cultivate life

    Plants that make mycorrhizal associations

    — Excerpt from Radical Mycology listing which plants have which mycorrhizal associations

  • Close up of top of white woven sack with plants growing out the top

    How to make your own mycorrhizal fungi

    — 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.

  • Photo of hand holding tree branch buds

    Don’t stake fruit trees

    — I am always wary of outright statements but this one is interesting and time saving

  • About the name…

    — A small clarification about the origins of the name Forest Garden Wales

  • Japanese Rose hedgerow

    Forest Garden Design Course notes 2016

    — Notes from Martin Crawford forest garden course back in the summer of 2016

  • Man pruning goblet shape fruit tree with onlooker

    The People’s Orchard pruning and planting workshop

    — Notes from another excellent pruning and planting workshop with Martin Hayes, Orchardist, near Llandudoch in Pembrokeshire

  • Photo of bare earth prepared bed, trees to the back, grass path to the front

    Blank canvas and the Prickly Quad

    — The sheet mulch is up, the soil is bare and my mind is blank

  • Dwarf comfrey in raised bed

    Dwarf comfrey ground cover planted in Shrubbery

    — Symphytum ibericum (dwarf or iberian comfrey) is a good mineral accumulator ground cover for shady areas, planted buckets of the stuff today

  • New rows of coppice trees with two rows of sheet mulch in the foreground

    Growing the Coppice

    — Starting the final section of the Coppice, with sweet chestnut to be planted soon

  • Bright red Cornus kousa fruit

    Winter visit and forest garden plants at Colby Woodland Garden

    — All manner of forest garden stalwarts spotted on a winter visit to the National Trust Colby Woodland Garden near Amroth in Pembrokeshire

  • Wheelbarrow in foreground by long hedge receding to oak tree

    Diversity in all things, including windbreaks

    — A mixed species north boundary windbreak hedge has grown on leaps and bounds

  • Bark mulch covered area, bamboo markers, faint line of ground lime

    Even in the smallest moments

    — No matter how much administration there is in the world, I try to find some time to garden

  • Old knackered cupboard with open doors

    Tray cupboard from the dump!

    — Picked up a freebie old chipboard cupboard from the dump, working fantastically as a tray cupboard. +1 recycling

  • Path through misty trees

    Misty valley whilst releasing mouse

    — Not exactly forest gardening but it was lovely and misty this morning in the hills where I released the mouse

  • A mound of bark

    Unglamorous grunt work

    — In a garden, it’s 95% perspiration and 5% inspiration

  • Fruit and growth buds on apple tree

    Planting & Pruning workshop notes

    — Scant notes from the Planting & Pruning workshop held by The People’s Orchard in St Dogmaels on 7th December 2017

  • Bright yellow flower on evergreen plant

    Predator strip!

    — Martin Crawford’s predator strip is a combination of perennial flowering plants to attract predatory and pollinating insects

  • Welcome to Forest Garden Wales website!

    — Forest Garden Wales has a website