I wanted to get some current pictures of the Forest garden posted, with a short account of where I’ve got to so far, and what’s next. For those who haven’t visited the blog before, it might be worth you checking out the Forest Garden paragraph of the Pictures, Designs, and Plans page, before continuing.
The first picture is a view from the top (North East) corner of the Forest Garden, which is about an acre in size.
The pink bands that you can see running across the picture are the swale banks, which are covered in Musk Mallow. This is a wonderful plant, perennial, edible leaves and flowers, great bee forage, deep rooted, and able to compete with grass. I planted most of these as self seeded plants from the vegetable garden,and they have started to self seed, and expand. The pictures below show a bit more detail.
The plants are a mass of flowers, and are constantly visited by bees.
These pictures show the large white grains of pollen sticking to the body of the bees, even when they are not actively collecting it, ensuring good pollination for the plant..
The picture below is of the top belt of trees, which are primarily timber trees, with a few fruiting trees on the open, Southern edge.
What isn’t clear from the picture is the grass mulch stacked at the bottom of the trees, cut with a scythe, nor the grass dropped into the swale on the right of the picture. The trees are in the long grass to the left of the picture.
The picture above shows one of five bamboo plants growing in this section. This is Phllyostachys praecox, which is a large, tasty, hardy bamboo. The thin dark lines are the new shoots emerging.
The picture above is taken from the other side (East), and shows the Purple loosestrife flowering in the bottom of the swale.
The next picture is of the first of the food producing belts. There are a couple of things to look at. First of all the fence posts mark the positions of the primary fruit trees, which are on order, and will be planted this Autumn. the second is the slightly darker line running down the centre of the picture. This is darker soil, and more lush vegetation, created where I left a line of mown grass over Winter. This is how I’m planning to mulch the trees. What also happens is that although the grass dies back, the mulch does not hold back the growth of creeping buttercup, and sheeps sorrel. What I aim to do is to replace those with mint, another creeping plant, but with one with more uses.
The picture below shows one of the glades, which surround the individual, primary fruit trees. This is one of seventeen bays. You can also see the browning grass mulch, around the site of the primary tree, and the support trees around the edge of the glade.
This is another view, and shows the series of glades slightly better, along with the dark line running along the open area.
The picture below shows the third belt, taken from the South eastern side, looking up the Eastern shelter belt. The distance between the trees above, and the swale below, is much larger, so I’ve left some long grass un mown. We have a barn owl that hunts over this field, so leaving some longer grass gives space for voles, which gives food for the owl.
The picture above is taken from the other side of the field. Again you can see the glades, and the belt of long grass left after scything.
The picture below is of the third belt, again taken from the South East. The yellow flower is birdsfoot trefoil. Like many of the wildflowers, I mow around them, and they seem to be spreading into the surrounding spaces. This belt has space for four fruit trees below the swale, and three along the eastern side.
The final picture is of the bottom section, below the swale and pond. The dark plant next to the post is knapweed, which is also spreading.
There are two spaces marked out for largeish fruit trees, possibly mulberries, although I’m thinking of putting the two that I have on order above one of the chicken forage areas, to use the fallen berries as chicken food, and putting three hazels in this space. I also have a Phyllostachys nuda here, and will plant out another in the Autumn.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed the pictures, and am happy to answer any questions that you might have about the design, or the implementation.