New newsletter and autumn events
- Dear Friend,
The latest plants for a future newsletter is now out.
If you are a current friend you should hopefully receive one in the
post, otherwise you can drop me a line and I'll send you
an attached word document (500kB).
· Winter Report from the Field, by Frank, which describes a plant
based life at the field during the winter months.
· Plants For A Future and the Eden Project, Rich's comparison and
critique of the two projects.
· Previously "Blagdon Cross Plant Research and Demonstration
Gardens" hence forth to be known as "Plants For A Future Education
Centre", by Elaine, details of the future plans for the Blagdon site.
· The Woodland Garden Edge, part 1 of Ken's latest article about
the plants suitable for grow around the edge of a woodland, or other
similar habitats like an urban garden.
· Tree Bog Rules, Matt's tale of encounters with a talking
· The Plants For A Future Quiz, try you hand at the Plants For A
Future quiz with some challenging questions about useful plants.
We would like to invite you to three events happening this Autumn (for
more details see the back cover):
The Plants For A Future Autumn Equinox Gathering, following on from the
success of the last two gatherings at Blagdon we will be holding another
gathering this September, which will be a little longer, covering a long
weekend 20th-23rd September, there will lots of opportunities to see the
site and learn a bit more about PFAF as well as lots of practical
activities and plenty of time for tea, chat, music and fun.
Woodland Gardening with Stephen Nutt, 5th/6th Oct and 26th/27th Oct. Two
weekend courses inspired by Robert Hart and Ken Fern looking at design
and implementation of a woodland garden within an existing woodland:
"The Garden of Love" which is dedicated to the memory of Robert Hart
(the pioneer off temperate 'forest gardening').
Green Woodworking With Anthony Waters, 19th/20th Oct. A ideal time to
learn woodworking skills using green wood and create your own chairs,
stools, benches, coffee tables etc.
Please, please ring in advance (0845 458 4719/01208 872 963) before
coming to any event or visiting, especially for the courses, where
advanced notice is very important.
With Love All at PFAF
Latest news from Plants For A Future
The last year has been one of the most challenging for Plants For A
Future. This time last year the task looked almost impossible: we needed
to get 700 people through the Blagdon site to meet funding targets; we
had a large debt which needed paying and we were getting very little
income; we needed to recruit more volunteers for both sites and the work
needed to develop both sites was vast, especially at Blagdon where there
were a lot of planning permission conditions to meet. On top of this
both Elaine and Jim our key people at Blagdon were completely exhausted
after four years working at full pelt.
The situation now looks a lot brighter and there is a much more positive
attitude. We have been amazed by the generosity of many of our loanstock
holders, many of whom extended their loans or converted them to
donations. This took much of the financial pressure off the charity and
the future of Blagdon now looks financially more secure. It has also
allowed us to buy a much need nature friendly grass cutter for the Field
One of problems has been that the Blagdon project is so vast that its
difficult to know where to start. To help overcome this problem a set of
project files have been developed. These identify many of the smaller
projects which make up the whole with the idea that someone might want
to become involved in one of these. There is a big range of exciting
projects including: an Edible Maze, a Children's Garden, a Sensory
Garden, a Permaculture Research Garden, Container Garden, woodland
management, regional agents, and creation of our visitors centre.
Jim giving a talk to visitors from the vegan gathering Aug last year.
There has been a number of successful events at Blagdon. The Shaping the
Future event held at the beginning of April was a great success and
attracted 45 people from around the region. It featured a site tour with
a wheelbarrow picnic. A number of trees were donated and planted,
including; Walnut, Fig, Dogwood and Plum. A large stretch of long
overdue fencing maintenance was carried out - just a few miles to go.
Volunteers also helped reclaim a kitchen garden and built a rustic
retreat shower facility. Quite a few new faces with ideas and enthusiasm
are becoming involved with the project including Mat who's especially
interested in researching medicinal plants.
We look forward to our next Shaping the Future event, 20-23 September,
with anticipation. All friends are invited to attend this meeting.
The other major event was the South West Permaculture Convergence held
at the end of June. This attracted people from all round the region many
of whom also have their own interesting projects and a lot of time was
spent exchanging experiences over cups of tea. Sunday morning saw the
arrival of three special visitors: three cows from a neighbouring field.
Gaile, our local Permaculture Association representative was woken by
the cows bringing back memories of India as a white cow strolled by. A
few of us then had the task of herding the cows away from all the
delicious plants in the demonstration gardens and back to their own
field of grass, luckily the cows seemed to know the way home. One major
achievement was that we managed to obtain water self sufficiency for the
Convergence: all the water used at the convergence was collected from
the roof of a mobile home, filtered through a British Berkfield ceramic
water filter (give us a ring if your interested in getting one) and
stored. We managed to filter and store enough water to last the whole
We have also had two permaculture groups (from Bristol and Exeter) come
to visit who where both given the full site tour and were the first to
fill out our visitor record sheets, needed for recording the information
to meet our Key Fund targets, and also doing the new Plants For A Future
Quiz, which you'll find below.
At the Field in Cornwall the focus is now shifting to the research side
and there are plans to concentrate on a one acre patch of woodland
garden where medicinal plants and super foods like Elaeagnus x ebbingei
and Hippophae salicifolia will be grown. The focus of this project, code
named Crataegus, will be on the Economic aspects of Plants For A Future
style gardening, trying to identify plants which could be grown
commercially in a woodland gardening situation and assessing the yields
and commercial viability of such crops.
As already mentioned a Benassi Horizontal Sythe mower was bought for the
Field. We think this is a lot more friendly to little critters than
rotary mowers as the horizontal action makes a clean cut and allows the
creatures to jump free rather than being spun about inside a rotary
mower. Its also a much better tool for cutting through long undergrowth
and can easily cut through anything up to waist height, the only time it
has failed was on a large patch of brambles. On the first day we managed
to clear all the very overgrown paths on site using the mower at walking
pace. The only thing to watch is that all the nuts are good and tight,
trying to find a lost nut in a 20 acre site is not an activity to be
The field has also seen a few first flowering of several plants
including Walnuts, Japanese Dogwood, Bladdernut and Japanese Persimmons
and we are looking forward to many tasty treats.
The website continues to do well attracting 30,000 hits and 7,000
visitors each week and several very good contacts have come out of this.
A much needed major redesign is underway (when I get the time!)
A Plants For A Future Electronic Mailing List has now been set up, which
can be found at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pfaf. This has nearly a
hundred members and has seen several interesting discussions. The
mailing list is probably the best way to keep in touch with the goings
on at Plants For A Future as it's the first place that news and events
Our database being used by the American Association for the Advancement
of Science's Traditional Ecological Knowledge Prior Art Database
(TEK*PAD) which is collecting public domain plant lore so that such
knowledge can not be patented which would remove it from the public
We also had our first academic publication, a paper entitled "World Wide
Web as an Aid to Search and Explore New Plants of Global Importance"
published in the proceeding of the "Symposium on Perspectives in
Medicinal & Aromatic Crop Plants: Research and Development," held in
India, the paper was written by Ashok K. Chhabra with Ken and Rich as
Theres been a number of successful stall. At the Celebration of Cornish
Gardens at Trelissick Gardens near Truro our portable potted garden of
unusual edible plants was displayed. We also had stalls at the Halwill
Junction Mind Body and Spirit Fair, Wadebrigde Green Fair, Falmouth
Green Fair and The Natural Heath and Healing Show at RHS Rosemore. We've
been focusing this year on local events trying to build our local
contacts but we've also been able to display leaflets at the Buddafield
festival and the Big Green Gathering.
On the whole it has been an eventful year. There is still a lot we need
to do: we have to meet our Key Fund targets of training 500 people by
October and a lot of work is needed to meet planning permission
conditions, our temporary permission runs out in June next year and we
are starting to prepare a revised application, which will reflect on our
needs and experiences of the last 2 years.
Autumn Events 2002
"Shaping The Future 2" The Plants For A Future Autumn Equinox Gathering
20th-23rd September 2002
4 days activities and space with many possibilities including: ·
Creation and maintenance of Gardens · Developing wetland ecosystems ·
And other infrastructure development · hold your own workshops! ·
Exchanging skills, knowledge and ideas There is no fee but Contributions
in money or in kind most welcome
The Garden of Love Woodland Gardening Courses
5th/6th Oct and 26th/27th Oct 2002 With Stephen Nutt And Plants For A
Two weekend courses inspired by Robert Hart and Ken Fern looking at
design and implementation of a woodland garden within an existing
woodland: "The Garden of Love" which is dedicated to the memory of
Robert Hart (the pioneer off temperate 'forest gardening') and will form
a central component at Plants For A Future's Education Centre.
Cost £50 per weekend (a limited number of concessions are available)
19th /20th October 2002 (date tbc)
With Anthony Waters of West Country Woodsmen.
Harvest wood from Plants For A Future's 15 acre woodland, and then
Create chairs, stools, benches, coffee tables etc. using pole lathe
Cost £75 a limited number of concessions are available
Plants for a Future: 7000 useful plants
Web: http://www.pfaf.org/ := http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/pfaf/
Snail: Blagdon Cross, Ashwater, Beaworthy, Devon, EX21 5DF
Tel: 01208 872 963 / 0845 458 4719
PFAF electronic mailing list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pfaf