Healthy neglect…

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Last month other commitments pulled us away from the garden. Apart from us harvesting apples, raspberries and vegetables, the land was left to its own devices for the duration of the month. On the very last day of September we walked around the different areas to get a few pictures for this blog and we realized that the land had not suffered at all in our absence. Sure, it looked a bit untidy and overgrown on the surface, but underneath it was healthy, alive and brimming with wildlife. Maybe that is the biggest lesson we have learnt from looking after and developing our land over the last few years. A forest garden, mimicked on young natural woodland but full of edible and other beneficial plants, is a very forgiving place. Nature has a marvellous way of doing what is best for the land and when you start to work with nature and not against her fantastic things can happen. We wanted more frogs, newts and other wildlife so in addition to our stream we added two ponds. Because of this the slug population is being kept small and is not the major problem it was for the first couple of years.

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The little people preparing for the big day.

 

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It is less than a week now to our Open Garden day for Amnesty. Although we have lots to do still, today we decided to help the little people in the garden, by building them a summer house and putting up some bunting. We know they are shy creatures and that they may be a bit startled by all the visitors to the garden on Saturday, but we still think they want their place to look the best.

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June in retrospect.

June was a month that seems to have passed very quickly this year. Maybe that is because we have been busy preparing for our open garden day on July 15th. There is still quite a lot to do in the garden, and we are baking every day and kind friends are letting us use their freezers for all the muffins, Swedish cinnamon buns and scones. We have had masses of ripe raspberries over the last couple of weeks and most of them have been used for vanilla and raspberry muffins for our guests on the open day.

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Our stamp on the stumpery.

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The Victorians were known for adding a lot of quirky and artistic aspects to their gardens. Grottoes, unusual water features, mazes and labyrinths. We are particularly fond of the stumpery;  a Victorian invention built from a pile of old tree roots and stumps with ferns, mosses and other plants growing amongst and on them.  The first stumpery was created by an artist and gardener named Edward William Cooke in Staffordshire in 1856.

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Wildlife watch in May.

 

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We are entering our fourth summer season on our land and it is fascinating to see how a balance is starting to form with all the plants, fungi, microorganisms and animals working together. The first couple of years we had thousands and thousands of slugs but now our newt and frog population has grown so much, the slugs are much less in numbers.

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