We were delighted to find that a friend had posted this excellent video from National Geographic on Facebook recently. It showcases the work of Martin Crawford, a Forest Garden pioneer and a huge inspiration to us for the last eight years.
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.
We believe the best kind of gardens mirror their creators and echo the owner’s interests and passions. Like a green haven that has the power to evoke feelings in the visitor and where creativity is limitless.
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.
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.