My definition of a forest garden is:
A forest garden is both a planned landscape and a functioning ecosystem that takes its composition, form and structure from a natural woodland. It is a naturalistic landscape, but not an entirely natural or wild one. Humans are an integral part of a forest garden but they must accept and learn their own place within the ecosystem.
I want as many people as possible to plant forest gardens and having done so to be able to interact with them in a sensitive and appropriate manner. However forest gardens are unlike any other gardens and cannot be ‘gardened’ in the conventional sense. You need to understand the ecology that governs their operation and to integrate your own actions into that ecology.
When I began forest gardening it was the ecological understandings of Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier in their two volumes of ‘Edible Forest Gardens’ and Masanobu Fukuoka’s ‘method’ of natural farming that enabled me to interact with my garden in a sensitive and appropriate way. But for their invaluable guidance I would have been floundering I am sure. After a number of years I realised that I was acting in a sort of intuitive way in the garden, but that below that apparent intuition was (probably) a set of guiding principles. I set out to uncover these and sought to get beneath the surface of how I interact with my garden and how I have learned to do what I do. Eventually I arrirved at a set of interconnected principles that all also relate directly back to the ecology of forest gardens.
To read more about my experience of and thinking about forest gardens there are currently (early 2020) 99 posts in the category of forest gardening. Of these 22 are also categorised under forest garden development and following this category through time will give you some idea of how my second forest garden in Wales has developed. All posts about this garden are also categorised under Borderland Garden and my first forest garden in Telford is predictably categorised under Telford garden!