Surprisingly they went on flowering through the frost and the flowers seemed undamaged but no fruit set.
Photo. Quince Vranja.
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May 2nd

A warm early April was followed by a severe air frost at the end of the month. This did for almost all the plums, damsons and apples. Crawley Beauty, a late flowering apple, is almost the only apple to have any fruit. Currants have survived.
Photo. Fig tree looking badly frost damaged
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The yurt goes up again April 16th


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April blossom

Warm days in April brought blossom on – everything looking good for a plentiful harvest. Plums and damsons have set fruit
Photo. Jostaberry in flower
Photo. Autumn olive



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The Beehive

Green woodpeckers have been attacking the beehive. I made the mistake of wrapping the wire netting too tight around the hive and they were able to cling onto the netting and reach the hive with their beaks. Luckily I noticed in time.



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Permablitz Day 11th February 2017

Terrific day with a record 24 enthusiastic people working in the cold and snow. We planted a Discovery apple (for Hackney Quest), planted all of last year’s cuttings – gooseberries, blackcurrants, sage and rosemary, replanted blackberries (Oregon Thornless, Helen and Adrienne) and mulched with wood chips.

Photo. Planting the Discovery apple
Photo. Our beautiful deer, standing guard over our forest garden. Made from woven willow by Martin Brockman at our first Shoreham Midsummer Festival 2013. Sadly no longer, he fell soon after this photo was taken, his legs, many times reinforced, finally gave up.

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Cold days

Some very cold days and hard frosts. I’ve tried to protect the little bay tree with a coat of straw!


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Birth of the National Forest Garden Scheme!

Inspired by forest gardens Paul Pivcevic set up a meeting at the Quadrangle of forest gardeners, designers and others across the spread of environmental education. What can be learnt from forest gardens and how can those lessons give inspiration and open new ways of thinking to help face the big social and environmental challenges today? How can we spread the messages that forest gardens give?

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Soil Analysis

David Pennell, having taken soil samples for analysis, never got back to us. I found this lab, SoilBioLab, specialists in soil testing and here are the results. More or less as expected. It will be interesting to see if things change over the years.

SBL766 - Deborah Wolton Sample 1-2 copy

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Sichuan pepper

Our Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum schinifolium) has fruited well. It is the seed husk that is so valued as a spice in Chinese  cooking. The leaves and fruit have a very distinctive smell and taste and create an extraordinary tingling sensation in the mouth.



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