Thursday, 19 April 2012

April in the Forest Garden

The first food arrives:
 Harvest when about 8" long
 peel away the outer layers
Tender young shoots from Phyllostachys Aurea and P.viridi-glaucescens can be eaten raw or cooked (boiled or stir fried) and have an asparagus flavour. About half of the new shoots can taken without weakening the plant. I have already harvested 60 canes for plant supports in early spring, these should be cut when 3 years old.Besides all this, these 2 bamboos are part of my windbreak and are very effective giving food shelter and plant supports and of course weaving material.Bamboo makes excellent charcoal which is also the base for making a yarn. Anyone for a bamboo bike:!!!

Its Cherry blossom time

This is one of 8 trees in the FG which gaveI us super crops last year and I am hoping that the current cold and windy weather  doesn't damage the blossom.

The Bay tree is also in blossom and in no danger from the elements.

I am giving my first Open Day exclusively for members of Coppicewood College on Sat 19th May. You can become a member by contacting the College at Its a great Charity that teaches sustainable woodland management practice and green woodworking craft and its only £12 for single £18 for families.I will be demonstrating sustainable methods of managing the FG using a scythe, using cardboard mulch,making leaf mold and compost etc.

I Volunteer at the College's woodland in Cilgerran heres some of the action from a March Volunteers day. The plot has been cut and the large logs need to be cut into more manageable pieces for removal. We use a 2 handed cross cut saw which with good old human power makes light work of the ash log. thats  me on the left with colleage Ian Bowler doing his share. Note the tee shirts and shorts a reminder of the strange weather patterns of late.You can find out more at where a full listing of courses and activities can be found.

Till next time

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Its Blossom Time plus a few surprises.

Damson with Forsythia

 For several years I had a forsythia growing away happily(inherited from the previous owner as this is not a FG shrub) almost without noticing a sucker from a near bye Damson tree hid within the shrub until it was too late for me to stop it. What an interesting result and what a super crop of Damsons (I hope ) will follow this September.This is a warning though to anyone planting a Damson as they do tend to sucker and need attention each winter. The suckers can be lifted and will turn into viable trees if planted elsewhere.

Elaeagnus ebbegnei  fruit ing in March!!!! This pic taken last week 29th March

Who would believe it semi ripe fruit in March from my Elaeagnus wind break. Its evergreen, it fixes nitrogen for surrounding plants and the fruit is delicious when ripe (the whole fruit juiced makes a sublime drink).

This is a close up of The Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) foliage as it started to emerge last week.This tree looks fantastic as the foliage breaks out in spring and again in the autumn with its browns and rusty reds, eventually it will give us showy yellow flowers followed by seed pods containing a shiny black seeds which when roasted are a coffee substitute.

So there you have it a delightful selection of blossom, fruit and foliage very unusual for late March in the UK.
Anyone reading this can contact me for a visit please just email me first at to make an appointment.