Abundant Gardens is based in Totnes, Devon

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wildflowers

Consultation

What is an Abundant Gardens consultation? If you want to grow food, you want your garden to be brimming with life. If you want it to be beautiful as well, then you’re on your way to having an Abundant Garden. However, it’s not always straight forward. There is a lot of information about gardening, often conflicting and reading books and articles online can end up making things more confusing. It’s different when you have someone standing in…

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your garden that you can discuss things with. I will visit your site and advise you on how to turn your garden into an Abundant Garden. I will share with you my knowledge of bringing gardens to life, distilled into 6 key elements, as well as how to grow food in a way that will be manageable for you.

Ever wanted to pick a professional’s brains about your garden? You get the chance to ask me any questions about your garden.  Perhaps you’re stuck and uncertain about what to do with it.
Or, you have ideas but you’re uncertain about the best way to implement them. I am happy to talk through your ideas and I will share my thoughts and knowledge to get things moving.

1 to 1½ hrs should be enough time to cover all aspects, depending on the size of your site. After we’re finished I’ll follow up with an email covering the main topics of our meeting and next steps for you to take.

Let’s turn your garden into an Abundant one!

maintenance

Maintenance

How you maintain your garden will have a large impact on the diversity of it and the available habitats and food sources available through the year. This goes for you and all the wildlife that will inhabit your garden. I will help you to maintain your garden as a beautiful and productive space, that is a home for yourself and wildlife. I enjoy working with people in their garden, sharing my knowledge to help see your garden come to life..

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Gardens are ever evolving and do not stay the same, so I will suggest any changes or additions that I see. Such as planting, raised beds or a pond and we can discuss how these would be best incorporated in to your garden.

When it comes to planting I choose plants from this land. These are my favourite and are generally the ones that aren’t found in the garden centre. These are the plants that are best suited to grow in your garden, look great, can often be edible, have medicinal properties and support wildlife.

Two that I think work really well are pink campion and purple toadflax. The flowers go on and on and the pink and purple look great. Herb Robert will brighten up any shady corner you have, sweet cicely is also happy in the shade and is beautiful and tasty. I’m also not sure if there is a more beautiful colour than fox and cubs in flower. And finally my favourite the foxglove, I mean whats not to like?

raised beds

Raised Beds

Are you struggling to successfully grow plants in your garden?

A raised bed could be the answer.

 Raised beds are a highly effective way of growing your favourite plants and vegetables. If the soil in your garden is poor, or heavy clay like we often get in Devon which tends to get waterlogged. Then a raised bed filled with gritty compost would solve the problem. 

Or if you’ve been trying to grow blueberries with no success…
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then filling a raised bed with eracacious compost should do the trick.

They are versatile, can be tailored to your needs and specifications and they look great. They work well if your garden is on a slope and the angle makes it difficult or uncomfortable for you to enjoy gardening.

I can advise you on the best location a to have a raised bed in your garden and, if you are new to growing, offer suggestions on what to grow in them.

I use locally sourced Larch and Chestnut or Oak when making raised beds. They are naturally rot resistant so there is no need to use treated timber. I use 2inch thick timber which will last a long time. 

Depending on your needs, and the aesthetics of your garden, raised beds can be built in a number of different ways. They can have curved edges which I think look great, help to add a softness and sit better in the landscape. They can be made to whatever height you would like and can be made so that you can access them from standing.

scything

Scything

The scythe is the tool that I use to manage grass long and short. It is a highly effective and versatile tool for in the garden. I manage people’s meadows, orchards and lawns. I also use it to for clearing fleshy weeds and scrub. The main element to having species rich grassland is management. The timing and the number of cuts are what will manage the fertility and that is what affects what will grow in your meadow. A simple way to…

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welcome wildflowers into your garden is by leaving a section of grass uncut to grow long, or by cutting your lawn less often. Either way, by doing less you can get some lovely results.

Nearly all the flowering plants in a meadow are perennial, which means that they will come back year after year. They can handle being cut back regularly through the summer which is why you can still have a tight cut lawn and have it flowering. You just need to cut it less often. Cutting every 3-4 weeks allows time for plants to grow back and flower.    

When I am managing grassland I prefer not to cut everything at once, instead I spread the cutting out through the summer.

This way

Its manageable
It maintains habitat
creates diverse habitat
extends the flowering period
provides a supply of mulch

Talking of mulch.

Tired of weeding and watering your garden?

I think that grass is one of the most under used resources in the garden. Have you ever piled up lawn mowing clippings? They breakdown fast and turn into a slimey mess. Where as longer grass won’t do that, it holds its structure. This makes it perfect for using as mulch in the garden. Which reduces the amount of watering needed and will help suppress weeds.

If you would like to learn how to manage your own wildflower meadow and experience the joyful satisfaction of scything I run courses through the summer.

trees-and-hedges

Trees and Hedges

These are the more structural elements in the garden and need care and attention to make sure that they provide the right framing, they offer a lot aesthetically and can also provide food and refuge. I enjoy giving trees crown lifts, shaping and pruning them, opening up areas and allowing more light in. I am amazed at what a difference can be achieved, enhancing the mood and feel of certain areas and even the whole garden. Fruit tree…

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pruning can be done in either the summer or winter depending on what fruit it is. Apple and pear trees can be pruned in summer and winter where as soft fruit needs to be pruned in the summer.

Hedgelaying is the art of rejuvinating a hedge as over time they can become overgrown and or gappy. The hedge is laid to the ground which encourages new growth and thickens out the hedge. This helps to provide a better environment for a whole host of wildlife, most noticeably birds who are seeking the cover and protection hedges provide.

Hedgelaying and tree pruning work I do with handtools, using an axe, pruning saw and billhook. The brash from the work I cut into cordwood for firewood and the thinner parts I create deadhedges, which are absolutely fantastic for wildflife. I can create them so that they are tucked away or I also think that they make great features.

For hedge trimming I use a battery powered hedge trimmer. Where possible I manage hedges by cutting each side and the top on a 3 year rotation. For example I might start by cutting the top of a hedge one year, the next year I would cut one side, the following year the other side and then I am back to cutting the top. This has been shown to be the best way to manage hedges and support an array of wildlife. It also allows for flowering, as annual cutting will stop certain species likes Hawthorn from flowering. If this isn’t possible, then doing the cutting in the spring allows insects to overwinter in the hedge.

willowstructures

Living Willow Structures

Weave some magic into your garden! Living Willow Structures add a lovely feature to your garden. Willow is incredibly versatile and flexible and it can be woven into any number of shapes. If you are looking to create a shady corner in the garden for reading a book and relaxing, then an arbour would work well. Or perhaps you would like to create a some framing in your garden then an arch is a great way of doing that…

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Tunnels and domes make great places for kids to explore and play.

Screens and fedges (a hedge crossed with a fence) add screening with softness.

It grows fast, is quick to establish and comes in different colours, so the limit really is your imagination. Willow is host to many species of wildlife as well.

It is important to maintain living willow structures to keep them looking good. I can advise you on the best way of doing that.