About Forest Gardening

From 'Working With Nature; A Practical and Compassionate Philosophy For Life' By Steve Charter (1998)

Forest gardening involves the creation of a productive and stable mini-forest. In particular it works with the different layers of a forest system and places together plants that benefit each other - so it is rooted in an understanding of forest ecology. The layers of the garden are: the canopy, smaller trees (often shade tolerant), climbers, shrubs, herbaceous, ground cover, roots. As Robert Hart sayes:

Diversity is the keynote of the forest garden concept, but it must be an ordered diversity, governed by the principles and laws of plant symbiosis; all plants must be compatible with each other. Most froest gardens are designed primarily to meet the needs of the cultivators and their families for food, fuel, timber and other necessities, but some can also include a ,cash component.
The forest garden is the most productive of all forms of land use... [It]is far more than a system for supplying mankind's material needs. It is a way of life that also supplies people's spiritual needs by its beauty and the wealth of wildlife it attracts.
From 'Forest Gardening' By Robert Hart, Green Books, Hartland, (1991).

The permaculture designer, teacher and author Patrick Whitefield prefers the term 'woodland garden' as he feels this is easier to relate to in our British situation. A woodland tends to imply sonething more diverse and natural than our ideas of forests. However, whilst making this useful point, Patrick also feels that because the term 'forest garden' has become widely used it is easier to stick with that.

From 'How To Make A Forest Garden' By Patrick Whitefield

Last updated: 2009-04-22

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