Forest Gardens

Emulating a natural woodland setting with perpetual food and material productivity at low maintenance

Forest Gardens are harmonious, self-sustaining ecosystems that feed and provide for themselves, us and the environment.

Purpose, Practicality & Productivity

 

The three P’s and of course a B, beauty. We can create a windbreak, in order to warm up the habitat and allow richer plants, to be a colourful, buzzing and varied hedge full of edible and useful plants.

Food forest layers

The Seven Layers

Canopy Trees, Small Trees, Shrubs, Herbaceous Perennials, Ground Cover, Climbers and Vines, Roots. 

The multi-storey garden.

Garden designs

Design

Positioning plants to work together as a whole, through the amount of exposure to sunlight, nutrients available in the ground, compatibility planting and ease of harvest.

Forest garden

Harvest

With a wealth of harvestable products the Forest Garden becomes much more of an interactive outdoors space.

What is a Forest Garden?

Forest Gardens seek to emulate a natural woodland setting full of productive and useful plants. Diversity and stability are key components that help create a low maintenance and perpetually productive polyculture. Usually ranging in size from 0.25-2.5 acres, they are rather than monoculture, a polyculture that provides us with a wealth of edible and non-edible products.

 

Harvestable edible crops such as:

  • fruits (apples, cherries, plums, gojis, currants and berries),
  • nuts (almonds, hazels, sweet chestnuts),
  • edible leaves (lime tree and beech),
  • spices (sichuan pepper, mountain pepper, allspice, myrtle and bayberry),
  • medicinal plant products
  • vegetables
  • mushrooms (shiitake, lions mane, reishi)
  • beverages (birch sap wine, elderflower cordial, cider)

And non-edible crops:

  • fibres,
  • craft and basketry materials,
  • canes and poles,
  • building materials
  • firewood 
Forest gardening
sustainable forest gardening

Low maintenance, perpetual productivity, disease and pest resistance are maintained through the inclusion of plants which increase fertility and vitality, thereby allowing us to enjoy all the good work.

  • Nitrogen Fixers (Alders, Eleagnus spp, Broom, Legumes)
  • Dynamic Accumulators: plants with deep roots that bring to the surface there mineral sources in the subsoil making them available for other plants in the topsoil (Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Liqourice)
  • Plants which protect one another and ward off pests (Lemon Balm, Sage, Thyme, Nicotiana spp.)
  • Trees which provide drought resistance and nutrient cycling through leaf litter.

 

forest gardener

The Seven Layers

 Canopy Tree Level

Apples, Cherries, Pears, Sweet Chestnut, Hawthorns, Mulberries.

Small Trees and Shrubs

Hazel, Fig, Almonds, Dwarfing/ Coppiced Trees like Beech or Lime for edible leaves.

Shrubs

Raspberry, Blackberries, Currants, Gooseberries, Eleagnus.

Herbaceous Perennials

Mints, Fennel, Lemon Balm, Sage, Comfrey.

Ground Covers

 Strawberries, Clover, Chinese Bramble.

Climbers and Vines

Grapes, Kiwi, Passionfruit, Hops, Runner beans.

Roots and Rhizomes.

Parsnips, Jerusalem Artichokes, Garlic, Liquorice, Fungi.

Forest Gardens can become educational projects, wildlife habitats, income-streams, or a venue for gatherings, parties and retreats.

Get in Touch

Contact

+44 7948 025 677
contact@sustainablegardendesigns.co.uk

Based in Dartington, South Devon.