You really can change the world in a garden. As Christmas fast approaches, let’s dispel some of that winter gloom and take a look at the wonderful things that are being accomplished by amazing gardeners in the UK and around the world. These inspiring garden stories should set you on the right path and help you to change the world in your own polytunnel garden:
Small Spaces, High Yields
A small garden is no barrier to growing your own food. Some organic, ethical gardeners manage to create amazingly high yields from surprisingly small spaces. Graham Bell, a forest gardener in the Borders of Scotland, a well-known proponent of permaculture, measured yields of a metric tonne from less than a quarter of an acre. Even a small polytunnel can provide an astonishing amount of food – and other yields as well.
Another inspiring garden story from elsewhere in the world is that of the Dervaes family, who live just 15 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. They produce 90% of their own food, organically, on their own small 1/10th acre plot, and also produce enough extra to create an annual income of around $20,000! Even small scale, urban gardens can provide incredibly high yields.
Beautiful and Productive Gardens
Gardens can be stunningly beautiful as well as stunningly productive. There are countless examples of beautiful, productive gardens around the world. One magical example is Bealtaine Cottage – a smallholding on the west coast of Ireland. Once an unpromising peat bog, this place has been utterly transformed into a biodiverse wonderland, including a polytunnel which allows for a year-round supply of organic produce and beautiful potager beds.
Even if you do not have your own garden, you could still get involved in growing your own food. There are many inspiring community garden schemes around the UK, so even if you cannot get an allotment where you live, there is still potential to start your own community garden scheme and to find disused land to turn into a productive growing area for yourself and those around you.
There are many inspiring garden stories. Individuals and communities around the world are creating gardens in which they can do their own small part to change the world for the better. This Christmas, if you do not already grow some of your own food – this could be a great time to start. Plant trees, buy a polytunnel, connect with others around you to live in a more ethical, eco-friendly and sustainable way.
Do you have any inspiring garden stories to share? We’d love to hear them. Feel free to share your own story in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.