A forest garden is nothing like a conventional horticultural garden.
But what are the real and distinctive differences – the fundamentals? After all a conventional garden may well have all the layers of a forest garden from tall trees down to ground covers, root crops and also including climbers. A forest garden will however, almost certainly contain far more edible plants and it will also focus on ensuring that the trees and plants have a range of functions. But a forest garden is so much more than the sum of these parts. It is the ecosystem that is supported and facilitated by the structure and composition of the planting that changes everything. And it is the ecosystemic aspect of a forest garden that is the absolutely crucial difference because this ecosystem includes the forest gardener.
A forest garden asks of the gardener their wholehearted participation to learn a new and very different way of relating to it. It asks for a participation which will present the gardener with both profound challenges and deep and enduring rewards. This is a participation that is simultaneously both delightfully simple and mind-blowingly complex.
It was to describe and explain the journey of becoming an integrated part of the forest garden ecosystem that I wrote my forthcoming book ‘the garden of equal delights’ – a book which I hope will open doors to a different way of gardening that many of us never even knew were there before.
“In her deeply engaging book, she introduces you to the practice of forest gardening as a way that maximises the productivity and regenerative capacity of the whole person-garden relationship.” Dr Andrea Berardi, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Information Systems The Open University, UK
principle: forest gardening is based upon the structure, composition and functioning of a natural woodland including the resultant ecosystem and its emergent properties. In a forest garden biodiversity means health; a living soil and increasing biomass mean increasing fertility, and together health and fertility mean abundance.
principle: polyculture learning is slow learning.