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

Log Store

Log StoreA Hawthorn tree, adorned with Virginia Creeper, hugs the hillside for nutrients. Hedera helix ‘Sherbott’ covers seasoned cut logs with re-newed shiny green. A wonderful blend of maturity surrounds you in the Log Store, as everything from 400 year old oak off cuts mingle with 3 year old hazel twigs.

At the front of the log store stands The ‘Owl’ box. It was home to an aspiring blue tit with big ideas for his family – no attempt was made to narrow down the 10cm (4 inch) hole.

After the chicks hatch and leave the log store, most of the wood is used on the cottage and barn log fires at the HoBB leaving the log store shelves free for trays of seeds. Over the summer, the store gets a clean down and as autumn approaches we start stacking up the new cut wood up to 15 inch lengths – “because longer ones won’t fit!”

I designed the log store to fit around a leaning hawthorn tree which covers the ground in white hail-like blossoms in spring and red berries towards autumn. The Virginia Creeper is being trained up through the hawthorn so that it eventually “hangs” from the tips of the branches. Ideally, when this growing design fills out a bit more, we should get the autumn effect of a red weeping willow tree as the creeper sheds its leaves.

The picture shows the result after four years of creeper growth. I’ll update this same HoBBlog with a picture of the full effect after a couple of years more growth – shouldn’t take any longer as Virginia Creeper is growing up to 5 ft (1.5m) each year.

Waves from the trees ~~~~~~~~~ <+))))))))>< ~~~ Grant