We have begun creating a Wellbeing Forest Garden within the orchard at Queenswood. The next phase of its development is to showcase sustainable food production, through forest gardening, using wildlife friendly methods. It aims to provide a space for people to learn more about growing food in tune with nature, whilst enhancing the wellbeing of the volunteers involved.
We are grateful to funders who have already helped with the first phase: the Finnis Scott Foundation; Edward Cadbury Foundation; the Southall Trust and the Herefordshire Foundation. Applewood Permaculture has also offered advice on designing the garden and how to include sustainable gardening methods.
We have also worked with MIND and the Herefordshire Voluntary Organisations Support Service (HVOSS) who have referred volunteers to us and, going forward, we are hoping to work in partnership with other organisations to become a showcase Forest Garden within Herefordshire.
Forests are the most stable and sustainable type of ecosystem in our climate. Forest Gardening is an example of permaculture, and is a way of producing food and other useful plants, by copying the natural processes of a forest. For example, growing plants of different heights, so that you can harvest fruit from the tree canopy, nuts and soft fruit from shrubs, and herbs and other crops grown at ground level.
We offer volunteers the opportunity to learn different gardening methods via our practical work days and workshops throughout the year as well as using the space for schools and community education events.
In March 2020, the garden featured on BBC Countryfile. Presenter Ellie Harrison joined in with volunteers to do some planting and spoke with former Engagement Officer Karen Roberts.