the garden going it alone …..

It has been a while since I posted regular updates on this blog –  I have been poorly for some months, but am on the mend now.  It has also meant that I have not been able to spend much time in the garden.  What time and energy I did have went largely on growing plants in pots for Shrewsbury Flower Show – for me this was a very much harder proposition than growing them in the ground.

So over the summer the garden has pretty much looked after itself.  I have been able to harvest lots of goodies recently – skirret, root parsley, root chicory, Jerusalem artichoke, kales, leaf beet, chard.  The perennials were already in the garden and the annuals sown early before I was ill.

It has been gratifying to see how the garden has fared well with the very least of attention:

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Radish (on the left), which I left to flower has attracted insects all summer in droves and lots of questions from visitors – “what is that pretty lilac coloured plant?”.  The variegated Daubenton’s kale on the right is surrounded by land cress going to seed, wild marjoram, dandelion, oca, mashua, wild rocket going to seed.

Last year’s flat leaf parsley made an incredible display of flowers for weeks, if not months, attracting many, many bees, beetles, flies, wasps and butterflies.  It was truly gorgeous.



KODAK Digital Still Camera

There were only a few mashua tubers planted here but they have grown so large, you can just see some oca plants peeking through from below.  The Jerusalem artichokes at the back are taller than me.

There are lots of little patches where herbs, flowers, veggies all intermingle have seeded themselves.  This picture is a is tulbaghia (society garlic) in the centre (which I planted) surrounded with self set love in a mist, calendula, wild marjoram and fennel.  Autumn has been, and continues to be, absolutely beautiful and I am really relishing my luxuriant and lovely garden.

About Anni Kelsey

I love forest gardens and forest gardening, nature, reading and everything good about being alive. I have written two books - the garden of equal delights (2020) - about the principles and practice of forest gardening; and Edible Perennial Gardening (2014) - about growing perennial vegetables in polycultures, which is basically forest gardening concentrating on the lower layers.
This entry was posted in Borderland Garden, Perennial Vegetables, Polycultures and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to the garden going it alone …..

  1. Simon says:

    Hi Anni,
    really sorry to hear you’ve not been well, but very glad to hear you are getting better.
    Your garden is looking amazing. It is great when the garden looks after itself isn’t it? I really notice the difference now that mine is getting established that there is much less to do other than harvesting and some pruning. I wonder when it is that a garden reaches that point of low maintenance? I’ve been thinking about trying to get a community forest garden set up here in Salisbury and have wondered how much effort we should plan on for the first few years for maintenance beyond the planting stage.
    Looking forward to your next posts.
    Best wishes,


    • Anni Kelsey says:

      Hi Simon
      Sorry it’s taken a while to reply. Nice to hear from you and I’m glad your garden is going well! In respect of an anticipated forest garden – which sounds like a great idea- I think it will be very much a suck it and see kind of answer about how much maintenance you will need to plan for. Certainly less than a conventional garden but it really depends on which plants are used and how densely they are planted, how vigorous they are and how it all comes together. In my garden I spend more time preparing a new bed and planting it than I do maintaining it afterwards in that same year. Much of my garden is herbaceous perennials rather than woody ones so they do need some reorganising and tidying each year. Anyway I am sure that your experience of your own home garden will be more than enough grounding for you to make a very productive and successful community forest garden. Best wishes, Anni


  2. Hello,

    I’ve loved reading your blog; only just found it. I hope you’re feeling better and that one day my garden looks even a little bit like yours do.

    GG x


    • Anni Kelsey says:

      Hi there, thank you for your kind comments! Yes, I am feeling lots better than earlier this year, getting back to normal. I have just read your blog too and have no doubt that you will make a great success of it and of your allotment – the determination you describe and learning by what happens, good and bad – that’s what it takes. I am impressed with your udo growing, I haven’t ever tried that, but am inspired to do so now!

      If I can send you any plants or seeds etc please let me know. I have lots of things that I am very happy to share. Whereabouts in the north west are you?

      Best wishes



      • I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling better! So long a the Udo comes up next year (fingers crossed) and I figure out how to take cuttings then I’d be more then happy to send you some. I’m in Lancashire 🙂 That’s very kind of you, thank you. I’ve always wanted to try oca- haven’t even grown potatoes yet, but hey ho! – but all the stuff I’ve read seems to suggest it wouldn’t have the chance to chunk up this far North. What do you think?

        GG x


  3. mortaltree says:

    Reblogged this on Mortal Tree and commented:
    See also this post by Alan Carter:

    I consider these two to be the most refined forest gardeners, so it’s no wonder their gardens would fare so well in their absence.

    I would like to suggest that such longevity of a system’s order runs almost parallel with its day to day efficiency. Careful choice of plants that complement each other and exclude invasive species are a big part of that.

    See also this post about Robert Hart’s garden after his absence:


  4. Andy says:

    Hope all your energy returns 🙂

    It’s nice when things self seed and good to see your Oca and Mashua doing well. The Oca you gave me is doing great and I managed to give some away. We’re still eating self seeded Kale that you also gave me and the Yacon is still going strong and over wintered well.

    Still enjoy reading your posts!


  5. Bill Wright says:

    Hi Anni. Sorry to hear you havnt been well. Good to hear you are on the mend.. Bill ginal Message—–


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