foundations for fruitfulness

Over the last two weeks or  so we have had persistent, relentless rain or battering winds or, at times, both!  However one evening recently there was a short, warm, sunny interlude and I went out to spend time in the garden.  It felt full.  It felt abundant and it was beautiful.  Mercifully the air was still and as well as my own feelings of tranquillity and joy it seemed to me that the garden herself was feeling the same.  Perhaps it was a hint of the (yet to come) autumnal feeling of mellow fruitfulness, of being surrounded by a deep peace, and the sense of worthwhile accomplishment, things well done and of deep satisfaction.

Of course, none of this is my doing.  As an ecosystem the garden of equal delights is her own ‘being’ and I am but one part of that greater whole.  It is the garden that brings forth the abundance.  I assist in setting up and supporting conditions that will help, but that is all, the real ‘work’ is done entirely by others.

In a forest garden biodiversity means health; a living soil and increasing biomass mean increasing fertility, and together health and fertility mean abundance .”
I think of this as the foundational principle because it holds within it just about everything needful to know; that is to say that everything in the forest garden and the forest gardener’s experience relates directly to this principle.”

This then is the principle of forest gardening that encapsulates the entirety of possibilities that may ensue.  How that works out in practice is explored and explained further in my book ‘the garden of equal delights‘.

Every year since the currant bushes began to bear fruit there has been huge amounts of fruit on them.

juicy blackcurrants bursting with flavour

Last year I pruned one blackcurrant bush back to the branches that I thought would be able to hold the weight of future heavy crops, but the bush is once again so full that many branches are close to lying on the ground.

left hand side of a blackcurrant bush, branches supporting themselves on the fence and leaning to the floor

central part of the same blackcurrant bush, some branches are upright and my partner is picking currants

right hand side of the same bush, laden branches leaning to the ground

I swear these blackcurrants must be the tastiest on the planet, they are simply superb!  I made jam with one kilo of fruit and we have had some more fruit either raw or cooked, but my estimate is that we have taken off less than a quarter of the fruit from this bush and hardly touched several other bushes.  It is never my intention to take everything.

Redcurrants, whitecurrants, gooseberries and jostaberries are also heavily laden and bending downwards.  There are lots of these bushes all over the garden where I put cuttings in the early years.  I have made some jam and jelly from jostaberries and whitecurrants and plan some gooseberry jam and redcurrant jelly, but once again the vast majority of these fruits will feed the birds.



gooseberry, Hinomaki red

jostaberries ripening

This is the first year that strawberries have done well and for a few weeks we had a bowl of them each evening with our meal.  I left about half the fruit for the mice and birds.  It is also the first year that the amelanchier bushes have borne fruit.  I tasted them cautiously at first, and soon found out they are very pleasant, if a bit seedy!  The colours are magnificent as they ripen through a range of reds and purples.  I have gathered a small bowlful most days since they began to ripen, and the majority will be eaten by the birds.  At first I thought the birds may not be interested in them as some over ripe berries were falling to the floor; but then I saw a blackbird balancing on a swaying branch in the wind and getting his fill before hopping across to the cherry tree for his next course!

Amelanchier (Juneberry) berries

This is also the first year that the cherry trees have had more than a few fruit.  The two sweet varieties – Stella and Cariad – lost a lot of their fruit during the very dry time we had before this very wet time, but the Morello cherry has held on to hers and they are utterly beautiful.

Morello cherry

Morello cherries

I have a bowlful to make some jam later on today, and once again, the rest will be for the birds.



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, forest garden development, Forest Gardening, Fruit, Fruit trees, Principles of forest gardening, Relationship with nature, the garden of equal delights and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to foundations for fruitfulness

  1. Helen says:

    I too am envious of your berries. My strawberries have done okay (fruit getting a bit old as well as the very dry spring to blame) but the currants have been poor. The red currants only produced at the bottom of the plant, while the blackberries only at the very top and have not yet ripened. Not sure what’s going on there.


  2. forestgardenwales says:

    Reblogged this on Forest Garden Wales.


  3. tonytomeo says:

    Such enviable currants and gooseberries. Neither are popular here. I have no idea how productive they could be because I have never worked with them.


  4. Carole says:

    Oh, my mouth is watering! Lucky, lucky birds. We currently have a mahonia bush full of young blackbirds, so they love those berries too. My Stella also lost most of her fruit in the drought, but kept one right at the very top, tantalising. I wonder who will get there first, me or the blackbirds?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. drtkm2010 says:

    Very nicely reflected the true passion for the mute lovable refreshingly ever-beautiful creature of God, that is, the plants! They speaks so loudly that we cannot hear!


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