This page is ongoing and is unfinished and unedited,
The thistle, Cirsium Vulgare : Not particularly edible but a fascinating plant and well at home in the garden while the edible trees and shrubs get established. It’s a really good plant for bee and insects , a soft hairy purple flower erupts from the spikey bud followed by an explosion of the bud which releases hundreds of seeds carried in the wind by fine white hairs that surround the seed.
The garden surrounding the house is more important than the house itself. The garden in many respects is what the house can never be, a much more pure aspiration of habitat, we are innately more at home surrounded by living structures than inanimate unresponsive ones of concrete and steel, intellectually we may prefer a house but the fundamentals of our being prefer nature. Science and not just ‘flowers in your hair’ hippy notions back up the important effects that plants and animals can have on us through the psychological and the chemical reactions that take place when we are around them. The more research is done the more we are finding the intricate connections that exist on all levels down to the sub atomic level between living organisms. No matter how incredible the house design is, it is my contention that we are meant to live and have evolved to live amongst living structures. The problem and conflict is that whilst we have this deep primal yearning for nature, nature is savage and brutal, it can destroy us and create us in the same breath. This conflict is often resolved by the garden, the garden represents our desire to control this savagery while still connecting with the life force of nature and the plants and animals with whom we all share some deep profound communality and spirit. Perhaps we feel a need to exercise control so that we may feel in control so that we and not nature is the dominate one, only then can we feel safe. There is undoubtedly a series of reasons often conflicting ones as to why we are drawn to make gardens and use them some include ideas of dominance , freedom, altruism, guilt, connection, healing etc. It is important to delve into these reasons and discover what it is that drives each of us to want one or indeed reject the idea of one and to understand what type of garden we want to make and inhabit. This analysis can reveal something about us and in turn inform and reshape what garden we might like.
There is generally no garden without a house, they need each other to maintain a balance. The house is a construct born out of a need to escape the savagery of nature , to deal with the functional aspects of our earthly being, shelter, protection, warmth but in doing so it separates us from most other living things, we symbolically and literally remove ourselves from the ecological system. The deep yearning to be around living structures doesn’t go away and often surfaces with the creation of a garden, which allows us to reconnect but on our terms, in a controlled safe manner. The garden is not a real wild space no matter how it may look, it is always a construct, a controlled fantasy of some mythical or ideal notion that we may have of nature or want of nature .Raw nature is savage, murderous and extremely violent, competitive and bullish, we have spent millennia trying to escape this savagery to the point that we have now almost completely removed ourselves from it. We have perfected house design and for very justifiable reasons so that the external climate cannot affect us in any way beyond that which we have designed it to. We have sealed our houses for the best of reasons but the by product is a further removal from the power of nature. We have perhaps finally got too the point in the last few years that we have been trying to get to ever since we put leaves over our head to shelter from the rain tens of thousands of years ago, we can now almost completely live in an enclosure that is so controlled and well built that we no longer worry what nature might do to us, nature is rendered impotent or at least that is how is seems for now. While we remain in control of nature there needs to be some reflection on the affect that this self enforced removal/isolation has on us. The garden becomes ever more important as we box ourselves away, we need to reconnect with living systems on a physiological and psychological level.
My attempt to do this has been to create an edible wild forest garden that surrounds the house. The word wild can be misconstrued, make no mistake this garden is not wild, wild is a complex and somewhat loose word like native. If the garden was left got wild it would be a garden sycamores and ash trees and briars, but this is because sycamore and ash are common place around the area but are these trees truly wild or are they there as a result of the way we have farmed the land and only left some sod and stone ditches for trees to grow, fast growing multi stemmed trees do better in ditches that tall slow growing ones due to how they are cut etc. So if I were to leave the garden go ‘wild’ would it really be wild or just a result of man’s reshaping of the surrounding land. The same can be said of native trees and plants, this is not as definitive a categorisation as one might first believe it is open to interpretation and debate. Is something only native if it was evolved on the island of Ireland or is it only native if it arrived here by wind or by bird, is man not part of nature and if he brings in a plants should be seen differently, perhaps but it certainly isn’t black and white. There are no doubt native type plants, plants that have existed in the area for millennia and pre-date the last ice age. My aim with the above discussion…………
This garden is the final destination in the literal journey through the house and the metaphorical one through life. . Any garden be it a Victorian designed or wild flowered garden is a construct, it is not real in the sense that it exists without interference from man. We may design it to look so but invariably they are always a construct of some sort. A route is set up in the house, this route is a journey into the…….
The Site boundaries are sod and stone ditches which have existing native trees and shrubs, Ash, Alder, Oak, Scots pine, Honeysuckle, several species of ferns, Bramble, Beech, Crocosmia, nettles and many more. The boundaries have been consolidated with native thorny plants. Hawthorn, Blackthorn, wild roses, Gorse and Holly. This creates a protective barrier both symbolic and real which protects the inhabitants both plant and human within. The continued use of native plants along the boundaries are in keeping with the existing sod and stone ditches in the area. It is the intention that in time apart from the narrow entrance to the site the house and gardens will be invisible from………………