Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Brave New World

I went off to beautiful Devon to attend a Forest Gardening course with the inspirational Martin Crawford.  The two day course took us through the process of understanding what a Forest Garden is and how to create our own.

I came back and frightened everyone with my enthusiasm.  This poor, sleepy little garden that quietly snoozes in the lea of the hill is about to have a rude awakening.  Whilst she is yawning and stretching and waking up to LIFE, she has no idea what's in store.  It's going to be Garden Boot Camp.  She's flabby, undisciplined, out of condition and downright lazy.  She has let herself go completely and her diet is appalling.  Her hair and nails need seeing to, her wardrobe needs revamping (although there are some key pieces) and her general outlook on life requires an overhaul. She's lost her mojo, her sense of purpose, her self-worth but we are going to make this bad girl GLORIOUS.  

The most important thing is not to scare her - or myself - with the scale of the job.  Let's break this thing down into manageable chunks.  

The Weigh In:
The first stage is to do a site survey: soil readings, draw a site map to scale and plot not just what is here, but what needs to go.

Nutritional Review - or the non-diet diet:
As Martin talked us through the history of his garden we were aware that he used really simple strategies to keep his workload manageable, for example, after planting a tree he covered the surrounding area with protection to kill off weeds, grasses and other competition.  Genius.  I would have dug a big hole, planted and then made loads of work for myself having to weed regularly.  As one participant whispered 'he's quite lazy, isn't he?'.  My kind of gardening.

Lots of digging is bad for the soil.  Just as the human body is very vulnerable when cut open, dug over soil can lose valuable resources and is exposed to external bacteria, unwanted seeds etc.  So rather than brutal digging, weeding etc we're going to throw a dark blanket of covering over tough areas full of brambles etc and kill off weeds that way and throw good seeds/plants at other areas to encourage fertility and improve the soil.  A two-fold approach depending on the area's needs.

In other words.  You can still have a Hobnob, but let's start the day by juicing.  A kind of Stealth Bombing nutritional programme.

Mini Make-Over
When embarking on a health kick every woman needs a new wardrobe - just a few new pieces to make her feel better about herself and give her some confidence.  

What is our girl going to get?  A lovely little number that can be used for many occasions - dressed up or down and lovely to look at.  Rosa rugosa hedging!!!

Beautiful flowers that can be put in salads and, later, lovely hops that are full of vitamin C and can be made into syrups and cough mixture.  There is a delicate scent and the bees love it.  The garden equivalent of the Little Black Dress!

Waiting for the new outfit
We'll put this at the fence at the entrance to the garden and it will really give her a boost.  It's the first thing that people will notice and it will communicate her change of attitude.
Definitely time for a make-over

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