Above: Salad beds in disguise.
Right: Merton Pride pear, a family favourite producing firm and juicy fist-sized fruit.
Below: Constructing an access ramp to the garden.
did a two week Permaculture Design Course with Lea Harrison, one of the original Australian permaculture teachers. What was apparent, was that there was little information about cool temperate permaculture design; no books, no magazine. We pored through nursery catalogues, read Australian permaculture books, Robert Hart’s Forest Gardening book, Agroforestry News and Graham Bell’s Permaculture News (the Permaculture Association’s newsletter) and tried to piece it all together. Tim proceeded to plot the garden, measuring it up and drawing it onto a large board and planning what it would look like with mature fruit trees represented by cut-outs of round coloured paper stuck on to the board with blu-tack – all to scale.
Planting The Fruit Trees In our second year we planted 60 fruit and nut trees, many of which constituting our designated forest garden area along the northern side where. We planted the tallest trees at the back with smaller ones in front, allowing the greatest penetration of light to the lower layers where we planted smaller bush fruit and ground cover. We planted 23 apple trees – earlies, mids and lates – to crop through the longest period possible: a fig, pears, gages, plums, damsons, cob nuts, medlars, a mulberry and a walnut. We also experimented, thinking that our weather would no doubt warm over the years, and planted almonds, a peach and a nectarine as well as the freestanding fig. Only the fig remains (and fruits most years). The others were beset with peach leaf curl and never thrived.Adding DiversityTo the hedgerow we added fruiting varieties – and so it became a ‘fedgerow’ – some of which we have allowed to grow as standards which crown above the main body of the hedge, such as: Prunus mirabella, Godshill Elderberry, wild service tree (Sorbus torminalis), Rosa rugosa and Elaeagnus x ebbingei, a favourite of Ken Fern’s from Plants For A Future.
No. 63 Permaculture Magazine