Tomas Remiarz

Tomas Remiarz book “Forest Gardening in Practice” is a series of case studies of developed and emerging forest gardens, mostly in the UK.

Yesterday I visited Tomas at his home only a few miles from Robert Hart’s original forest garden in Shropshire.  We talked about many things, including his recent visit to Robert’s garden,  which has been closed to the public for over a decade.    Tomas was interested to note that although the garden was very overgrown (having not been maintained for 17 years), there was still some edible yield available and he was particularly interested in the presence some groundcovers not usually seen outside ancient woodlands (e.g. wood speedwell and sanicle). How did they get there?  Did they pre-date Robert’s work in the garden?  Had Robert brought them in?  Had they come in since Robert’s death in 2000 – taking advantage of the ‘abandoned’ nature of the garden?  Impossible to know for sure, but an interesting phenomena to observe.   (…and another spur to me to learn more plant ID skills!)

Tomas showed me around the housing co-op where he and 6 other adults live.  It is on a 7 acre property & has been running as a community of one sort or another for over 40 years, although the current co-op members have all joined within the last 5 years.  Their current focus is on restoring and improving the Victorian buildings on the site.

It wasn’t all chatting –  we scythed a few nettles around the on-site wetland that processes all grey water produced from the 3 houses on site.

Tomas is actively involved in a forest garden research project for the UK Permaculture Association.  Initial work has identified three areas of particular interest:

► The ratio between energy put into the forest garden and the energy yield

► Making a living from forest gardening

► The potential of forest gardens in amenity horticulture

Lots of great data and more information here:  www.permaculture.org.uk/research/forest-garden-research