Happy 1st Birthday to us!

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IMG_0985Our medicine garden is a year old! I can’t believe we have been there for a year already. It has been wonderful to transform the space from the former unused allotments that it was into a growing and teaching space. Thank you so much to Diana and Richard who we rent the land off for all of their support and use of tools when we have needed them. It has been a big learning curve for me as I have not worked with clay soil before, or put up a polytunnel! Big thanks again to Martin and friends who helped us with that mammoth task. And bigger thanks to the land, plants and animals for being patient with me as I found my way around the site and have begun to understand the ecology and existing dynamics of what is there. It has been a real privilege to work slowly on the site in a way that I learnt from Keith and Maureen on Arran, seeing what is there first and then working with nature rather than against it. So – here are some photos and here’s to another wonderful year at our farm!

Remember this! How the site looked when we first took it over.

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And here it is in September at the open day when we were able to show people around the medicine wheel. The windbreak has been gradually growing and I have planted cornus, crab apples and hawthorn along the outside to help provide more habitat for wildlife such as wrens and shrews.

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The polytunnel has really made a difference. On wet days I am able to work inside and shelter in between showers. This photo shows the different sections of the medicine as well. The plants were arranged in groups according to their effects on the body. Cooling herbs in the north, warming herbs in the south, drying herbs in the east and moistening herbs in the west. The majority of the herbs have established well, apart from the clover, violets and plantain, all of which the rabbits find tasty, and the henbane which completely disappeared despite my slug proofing – they must be some spaced out slugs!

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The medicine wheel is complete and although a lot of the perennial plants have died back such as comfrey and ladies mantle, others such as the marigolds are still blooming, bringing welcome colour on these gloomy days.

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Some plants put down their roots this year and I am still looking forward to seeing their flowers next year. This includes valerian, hemp agrimony and greater celandine. The leaves of celandine are so delicate and the dew droplets on them are so pretty, not sure this photo does them justice.

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Another plant yet to bloom is the angelica. Its leaves keep getting bigger and bigger and have beautiful purple markings on the stems.

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And here is a cheeky little festive robin to finish with!

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