- The Wildlife Forest Garden
- It's an emergency
It's an emergency
Mass extinctions and extreme weather events are a thing. It's up to everyone to push for the radical change required.
Despite the pessimism over the COP27 UN Convention on Climate Change, this isn’t your average doom and gloom naysayer newsletter.
I’ve been banging on about the merits of forest gardens for a few years now but I’ve always felt something was missing from the equation. For me, that missing piece is people. One of my gardening heroes is John Little who “has always argued the importance of linking grounds maintenance to the residents that use the space”*. Another big influence has been Kat Anderson’s brilliant Tending the Wild, about how native Californians improved their landscape over thousands of years.
On the current trajectory, things are going to get really bad, 2.5°C kind of bad. Knowing that, we need to prepare as best we can for the changes ahead, we need climate resilience, and that means working together on projects. My part is promoting the ideas of “intersectional gardening”, the space where wildlife, edible and ornamental gardens meet, and “wildlife allotments”, spaces which are productive and social, designed for humans and other creatures.
This is just my take on gardening but it is an interesting exercise: in your field of expertise, what would climate resilience look like? And how do we start building the infrastructure now?
The Walled Garden
Last week I was in south west Scotland, marking up a wildlife food forest within a 2 acre walled garden. It is a dream project and a big space, to be sure.
I have been working on the project for about a year, using videos and photos provided by the client (if you’re interested, the PDF plan is here and the plant list here bit.ly/walled-plants). My eleven year old even built a mockup in Minecraft!
So it was a very strange experience to visit the garden in real life. It was like a dream, everything very familiar but simultaneously all new.
A large part of the project is to cram in a diversity of native plant species (as they’re a better food source for insects) using mixed native hedging. This includes Alder Buckthorn, Dogwood, Purging Buckthorn, Scotch Broom and Wild Privet. We also wanted a diversity of habitat as well, so there are up to 3 ponds, the existing stone walls, stone filled gabions, meadow, hedging and lots and lots of trees.
The area is quite beautiful, in a different similar way to my homeland of Wales.
Roots and All by Sarah Wilson, my favourite wildlife-gardening-esque podcast
Growing Greener podcast by Thomas Christopher, across the pond in the USofA, lots of great episodes