From the outset a forest garden is designed as a natural system. We provide the physical structure – various edible trees, climbers, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and some annuals – to make the best use of the physical space and ensure a diversity of plants for the various needs of an ecosystem. After that it is largely up to nature to work her magic. Diversity ensures health, an abundance of biomass which is allowed to compost naturally back into the soil ensures increasing fertility. Allowing plants to flower and set seed calls forth new generations and fills gaps and nature adds her own plants in from the wind or from the seedbank of the generations before that is sitting in the soil waiting for the opportunity to grow. This enhances diversity and makes the system yet more resilient.
When I began my forest gardening adventure I had in mind to make minimal interventions and let nature have as free a hand as possible. This has continued to be my practice and will remain so. I have quickly looked through photos from 2016 from March to December to illustrate nature’s role as primary gardener – there were hundreds to choose from so here is my selection:
And it was also beautiful – largely thanks to the flowers planted by nature:
Standing on the cusp of spring 2017 I am so looking forward to what unfolds this year.