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Friday, May 20, 2011

Front Yard Food Forest

When I first moved here about 20yrs ago, this Mt Fuji ornamental cherry tree dominated a front yard of lawn.
It wasn't as big then but still substantial enough that the root system was starting to make lawn mowing more an exercise in obstacle course.
In order to appease the tree and go a little more low maintenance, I changed the front to a more "woodland" type of forest.
Over a course of years I put down mountains of newspaper and pea straw to kill the lawn and encouraged ground coverings and added shrubs.
This is strictly a "square lawn out the front" kind of neighbourhood so they didn't think my efforts sane at all and were positively aghast when I put a lemon tree in the front!
This plan has only been successful on one side of the front garden, the other side seeming to be a completely different micro-climate despite my best efforts.
In the last 20yrs my gardening ethos has shifted quite a bit. The front was planned as an area of flowering white shrubs with bluebells in the spring.
Now I'm looking for food production

I have decided to try for a food forest based on permaculture principles. I will not be able to reclaim the "woodlands" on the southern side of the front, and nor do I want to, this is a lovely outlook  from my bedroom window. It will become a fairy walk for the future grandchildren.
But this side.....

It doesn't look like much yet but I have planted blueberries, red and black currants and a pomegranate for the middle story and rhubarb and strawberries for the understory.
I will relocate the raspberry canes out here too.
Everything can be under-netted together when the time comes.
I am planning kiwi fruit vines and grapes on the other side of the driveway.
I am still deciding which tree for the footpath to replace the one that was broken several years ago. I would love a small hazelnut or an olive but I think they would present an OHS problem underfoot for pedestrians.
Any suggestions?


  1. suggestions? i can't even understand most of what you said, except rhubarb and blueberries! (what's an "understory?") You are so creative. I think your talent goes way beyond green thumb. I love all of you ideas--they way you dealt with your front lawn problem--EVERYTHING! Can't wait to watch it all come to fruition!

  2. There's a guy in my neighbourhood who has everything planted in his front garden. Pear trees, vegetables, and all sorts. I love walking past and watching what he's been up to.

  3. So Barbara sounds like you have a few Margo Ledbetter's on your street ;)

    Love you idea with your front garden - there is a horticulture term for it even - its called INTEGRATED GARDENS - basically means its pretty AND useful !

    Topiaried Gooseberries ?
    Espalliered Dwarf Almonds ?
    Hedged Lilli-pillies?
    Kaffir Lime ?

    Hazelnuts need more then one plant to cross pollinate so you need three different cultivars.
    Plus they end up HUGE !
    Unless of course you pleach them . . . .can't be anyworse then treading on acorns in City Park :)

  4. I love it Tanya.
    Beautiful, productive and individual.

  5. How about something edible but not immediately recognisable, and which holds its fruit? Something like a loquat or pomegranate.

    I like your idea of an olive tree though - I don't think they drop their fruit so aggressively that it would be a HSE hazard.

  6. A gardener after my own heart :))
    So much can be grown for the kitchen, that look wonderful in the garden.. An intergrated garden indeed :))
    I love the idea of an olive tree for the nature strip.:))

  7. I work for Mr Mollisons and he is putting in a forest garden right outside our office window. He loves to put in potatoes with plenty of mulch first but is also putting in heaps of fruit trees for a longer term grow.


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