Friday, 17 August 2012

Communal Mandala Garden

Please click HERE if you would like to view a booklet on how to mark out and build a garden like this one.

This garden is a small part of:
Applewood - the Golden Valley Permaculture Centre

Applewood recently ran a Training of (Permaculture) Teachers course with Looby Macnamara, Chris Evans and Rosemary Morrow. The link below is for a wonderful short video posted on the Applewood Facebook page.

A wonderful montage of 9 days sharing at Applewood - the Golden Valley Permaculture Centre's Training of Permaculture Trainers 2015

The garden in the first season:

Beautiful cleft ash and chestnut deer fence by Morgan Allen, Herefordshire.

Post and rail construction with 5' and 6' laths

Marking out the garden beds

Cutting the turves and piling them into the beds

Beds edged by Western Red Cedar off-cuts from a mill. The beds were to be raised more, but a change of plan left the posts sticking up. These proved to be useful for reaching into the beds. The keyhole design means there is no need to stand on the soil

all hands on deck to fill the beds

Elf and Weddy

Cardboard sheet mulch, trees and berries planted in the perennial 
bed surrounding the 8 raised beds.

Planting began asap as spring was well on the way

all the beds ready and some planted

Continuing with the sheet mulch on the outer perennial bed. The posts on the raised beds also served well for attaching netting and fleece to keep birds and insects off the young plants.

Here it is possible to see the sheet mulch folding over the edge of the pathway. The pathway and the edge  were covered with resinous woodchip (from cedar) to be inhospitable to plant growth, natural insect repellant and also more durable due to the resins in the wood. The outer bed was mulched with 'freshwoods' woodchip, mainly Ash, Hazel and Alder chips. These 'freshwoods' do not contain resins which may hinder plant growth. These woods also biodegrade at a faster rate.

A lot of rotted manure and organic compost was added to all the beds to ensure a high nitrogen content. This is important when applying high carbon mulch materials, as they can leach nitrogen from the soil, hindering plant growth.

The garden with fully mulched pathways and outer perennial bed.

The outer bed was also seeded with annual self seeding pollinator seeds. Mainly Phacelia tanacetifolia for the bees, but also some clovers for Nitrogen, and buckwheat for hoverflies. These plant species are self seeding and also green manures.

The site is on a pasture which is heavy populated with the invasive Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens). To prevent this from creeping back into the garden, a 80-100cm wide section of turf was removed around the garden, then sheet mulched with cardboard. A 15-20cm thick mulch of stinging nettles and grass cutings was applied to keep the creeping buttercup out.

when necessary the grass was mown around the garden and the clippings placed onto the mulch to keep it topped up. Nettles were also added. By continuing with the mulch, stops weeds from growing and keeps the bottom of the fence free from long grasses and other weeds.

The photo below was the following year before cutting the grass. Some weeds were creeping toward the garden, but they are easily pulled.

The edges of paths and along the bottom of fences are where long grasses and weeds can grow. This would require weeding or strinmming, but sheet mulching and adding mulch material prevents or at least resuces the likelihood of this maintenance requirement at the outset - saving time for other jobs

Here, the pathway was edged with cardboard sheet mulch and woodbark

The garden in its second season

Benches added to the centre circle

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Front Garden Fruit and Herbs Design

Design for small suburban front garden.

  • Herb Spiral with perennial kitchen herbs (use Rosmarinus prostrate 'Spicata' for the top, as this is dwarfing and trailing in habit)
  • Pear, Apple and Plum trees with a fan-trained Cherry 
  • Herbaceous planting for cullinary and medicinal uses, for pollinators and other beneficial insect life
  • Raspberries, Gooseberries, Blackcurrants, Strawberries and Rhubarb with wild strawberry (fragaria vesca) groundcover
  • Rose bed with sorrel, strawberry, garlic-chive (Allium tuberosum) and french sorrel (Rumex acetosa)ground cover

Garden is West-facing (sun coming from the left)

Landscaping stage complete... ready for the plants and trees to go in!

Garden under construction..

mounded beds covered with cardboard and woodchips

nice helping of horse manure... the layers in this bed are original soil, old lawn, cuttings from clearance, cardboard, horse manure, organic soil improver/compost topsoil, straw mulch. into this will be planted the berry bushes and a grouncover of strawberries

the clippings and brush from the initial garden clearance were shredded and piled underneath the new mounded beds - worm food! over time this will break down and be added to the soil.

An image of this garden is featured on an american website