It's been a couple of years since we were awarded funding from The People's Project to spruce up our Learning Area, and since then it's gone from strength to strength. Our Grow and Make team have spent hours planning, building and planting in our raised beds, we've installed a pond (complete with decking that’s perfect for amphibian spotting), and our Wildlife Group are making sure that all the creatures who call the Farm 'home' are thriving amongst the plants and flowers.
Now we’re getting stuck into the next stage of the plan - the Forest Garden!
A Forest Garden is a garden that mimics a natural forest. It is made up of different layers of planting, which can include trees, shrubs, plants and ground cover. These layers should provide everything the garden needs to sustain itself over time, whilst also providing food; medicinal herbs; shelter and beauty for humans; habitats for insects and animals; it should be a positive addition to the surrounding environment. Now that's what we call a hard-working garden!
The Forest Garden at the Farm will be a space for discovery, exploration and learning so it's been planned with a focus on a wide range of interesting and unusual plants. Visit The Farm and you’ll see we’ve already planted fruit trees and hazels, which are soon to be joined by some other, wonderfully named, plants including: walking onions, earth nut peas and nine star broccoli.
It will be a busy few years for us as we sow and nurture the Garden but it should then achieve that all-important natural balance with the plants taking care of themselves. And that means the tasks required in a normal garden, such as planting, weeding and watering will no longer be required. Music to our ears!
We're hoping to achieve that balance through a number of nifty strategies: we’re mainly planting perennials, to minimise replanting, and will be including lots of wild strawberries and wild garlic, to act as ground cover and prevent weeds from getting through. These ground cover plants will also double-up as mulch, keeping moisture firmly in the ground, so less watering is required.
All of the plant species within the Forest Garden will play their own role in the system which will leave us with the very satisfying job of sitting back and enjoying this incredible spot - and we hope you’ll enjoy it too.If you'd like to find out more about creating your own Forest Garden, big or small, take a look at https://spiralseed.co.uk/making-forest-garden/ and https://www.agroforestry.co.uk/about-agroforestry/forest-gardening/.