What are Forest Garden Patterns?

Wild flowers in a field, trees on the horizon

Natural wild flower combinations

Interesting conversation with Nickie Bartlett from NFGS has led to me thinking about what I’m trying to achieve

I was helping Nickie Bartlett out with the National Forest Gardening Scheme website today, and we had a really interesting side-chat about templates and patterns.

I’m really keen to create some sort of reference of common patterns, an inspiration for people creating forest gardens.

My first thought was of creating templates, for different situations. But then, there would be an infinite of templates, depending on size, aspect, requirements etc.

Then I thought about planting combinations. But again, in my livestream about Patterns, I point out that, if you were to choose just 50 plants from the 453 plants listed in Martin Crawford’s Creating a Forest Garden book, there are 12651429946451336882860626720243426012525065706891451222531650425928 combinations 🤯

And who wants yet another forest garden spreadsheet?! 🤔

Nickie then suggested user-submitted photos of plant combinations that work well together. The trouble with user-submitted work is that the quality can be very variable but, does that really matter?

Then I thought, maybe a simple matrix with soil type, acidity and sunlight, and automatically generate slideshows? Something along the lines of my Garden Wild proof-of-concept slideshows? Provide with basic guidelines for the design process, and user-submitted examples of what can work well together?

Thank you for allowing me the space to think out loud!