Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

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The tree of heaven gets its name from its height. Originally from N. China, it can grow up to 27m (c. 90ft) if you let it, but we love it for its three foot long leaves and tolerance to coppicing.

Our young specimen tree was rescued from an overgrown area in a local garden centre.

We have become a heavenly sanctuary for many plants ‘at risk’ – plants that are overgrowing or overcrowding their conditions or those that owners were simply going to destroy because they didn’t fancy them any more and wanted a change. The RSPCA still fight against this attitude in some pet owners to this very day.

Plants are ‘alive’, don’t just kill them, gift them. (OK .. so we are lucky to have the space for a 350ft giant like Sequoia hey! Hmmmmmmmm!)

Waves from the HoBBian Hills ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ <+))))))))>< ~~~ Grant

Indulging in the Cottage Garden Lifestyle whilst applying the Art of Paradise

Indulging in the Cottage Garden Lifestyle whilst applying the Art of ParadiseParadise for me has always been green.

I was given one acre of Beech Woodland in West Sussex when far too young to manage it, but it was then as it is now, the most leafy green paradise imaginable.

In summer, when the sunlight bounces around the coppery canopy and casts a painterly collection of shadowy shades on the pillows of cushion moss covering the forest floor – paradise found.

Within this sixty six acre West Sussex woodland, nature has been working out, and keeping things fit, undisturbed, for centuries.

Here at the HoBB, generations have worked at disturbing the land for centuries with plough and harrow always stretching it towards greater productivity. All land, around here exists regimented into blocks and allocated to farms. The grid of lanes and paths, which once served only for interchange between one farm and another is now a public element, colonised by brightly bedecked walkers sporting satellite guidance systems – paradise found by many.

I have read through many a report on rural growth. The argument for progressive development of rural economies is compelling but the standard method of achieving it for all is often flawed. If you construct a new road to access one mile of previously isolated sandy beach then place alongside it one mile of caravans, you may boost a rural economy, share a paradise, but you may lose a paradise. You may also be hiving off such a paradise into private ‘club’ use.

Shortly after buying the HoBB, we were given a wonderfully useful letter written by our talented next door neighbour; it was entitled “How to live semi-conveniently in Paradise” and split the benefits from the pitfalls of living in this rural community. As there are always two aspects to the concept of wholeness I was not surprised by the content of the letter.

The need for wholeness in a rural community is naturally vital. As in urban and city communities, sufficient activities and opportunities should be available to enable each person to pursue their own goals, and satisfy their own interests thus develop their full potential. If this structure is not in place, rural communities run at risk.

As we grow this ‘HoBB Virtual’ (site) alongside the ‘HoBB Real’ (site), I will risk reputation, risk being wrong or just not as right as I might wish because I believe in the well-being of all rural communities and economies.

The Art of having a paradise, developing, improving and sharing it, is something that the HoBB tries to master. If you are good at implementing a ‘good’ plan and are interested to discuss the development of rural areas, contact me about my planning and action process – conceived as continually fluid and responsive to feedback.
Waves from the Hills overlooking the Valleys ~~~~~~~~ <+))))))))>< ~~~ Grant