Forest gardening offers the possibility of meeting human needs in a far more ecological, connected way than conventional farming, organic or chemical. It is the art and science of designing complete ecosystems that bear a useful, usable yield for people.
The approach originated in the tropics, where forest gardens mimic the structure of a rainforest, with canopy trees, understorey trees, shrubs, the ground layer, creepers and animals all made up from useful species. In Scotland, not much light reaches the ground layer in this sort of 'high forest', so designers plant something more like a forest edge, with more space between the trees and a thicker ground flora.
Forest gardening is in its infancy in the UK and most of the research to date has been done in the south of England. Reforesting Scotland encourages gardeners to experiment and build up a knowledge base for how the idea works in practice locally.
If you'd like to share knowledge or to help Reforesting Scotland facilitate the development of forest gardening in Scotland, please email .
The Forest Gardening display was created by Alan Carter, author of Of Plums and Pignuts. The core of the display consists of 9 A3 laminated posters full of information and attractive images. For its first appearance, at the Big Tent Festival, in Falkland, Fife in July 2012, there was also a display of plants, provided by local nurseries and Scottish Wild Harvests Association members, with other materials and resources provided by the Falkland Centre for Stewardship.
If you know of a venue or event that could host the display, please email .
Click on the images below for larger versions, or download the full set of Forest Garden display pages here as a PDF file (large file size - 15 MB). The print-quality file is even larger - get in touch if you need to use it.
The Agroforestry Research Trust is a great resource for plants and information on forest gardening, based in the south west of England.
Plants for a Future is an online database with details on the cultivation and use of thousands of plant species.
The RHS Plant Finder helps you find the species you need, with details of both Scottish and UK nurseries.
Of Plums and Pignuts is a blog about forest gardening in Scotland, with local information about a growing number of species.
'Plants with Purpose' and 'Appletreeman' can both be found at plantsandapples.co.uk and between them supply many useful plants for the forest garden.
Poyntzfield Herb Nursery are another useful Scottish supplier.
Graham Bell is a long-established forest gardener in the Scottish Borders who now sells forest garden plants through the Red Shed Catalogue (PDF file 515KB).