- A visit to a field of tree dreams Review by Emma Cooper
Fifteen years ago, Martin moved from a conventional market garden to a bare field, where he hoped to create a productive forest garden following the work of Robert Hart. A forest garden aims to mimic a natural forest system, but to ‘tweek’ it to make it a productive human environment full of edible and otherwise useful plants. If planned and planted correctly, a forest garden is highly efficient – producing a yield year on year with very few inputs.
That’s the theory, and something you can pick up easily from a book on permaculture or forest gardening, but what Martin’s DVD gives you is a feeling for what it’s like to be in a forest garden. You can see that they’re truly beautiful spaces, and you can hear that they’re teaming with life. The whole film is shot on location in the garden, and I don’t think there’s a minute that goes past without birdsong in the background.
Martin is a knowledgeable and passionate presenter, but I think it’s still fair to say that the plants are the stars of the show. You’ll be introduced to plants you’ve never heard of, and discover new sides to some that are more familiar. Depending on the size of your plot you may not have space for a lime tree (its leaves make a good salad vegetable) or a snowbell (with pea-flavoured fruits), but you could find room for the perennial Turkish rocket and its broccoli-like flowers.
And you’ll discover the correct way to harvest bamboo shoots, pollard a tree and graft several varieties of apple onto one rootstock or make a shiitake mushroom log.
If you’re a fan of unusual edibles, permaculture or even just beautiful natural environments then this film is well worth watching. Whatever the weather outside you can escape to a beautiful patch of Devon for a little while, and dream of having your own field to fill with trees. (Posted on 21/07/2010)
- This is an empowering film and will be useful for novice forest gardeners as well as seasoned ones who want to add diversity. Review by Maddy Harland, editor Permaculture magazine
This is an empowering film and will be useful for novice forest gardeners as well as seasoned ones who want to add diversity. Martin’s experimentation with forest garden design and growing plants from all over the world is inspirational. (Posted on 08/07/2010)