Tree-planting party, replacing larch with broad-leaved hardwoods
Tree-planting with Creative Beings
Everything that we do has an impact on the wider environment (gulp!) So, we are on a journey of 'kaizen' (the Japanese principle of continuous improvement) as we experiment with moving to a net-zero-carbon footprint. Whether it’s the food that we grow and source to serve on our courses, or the materials that we use while engaged in creative practices, we attend to the mantra of 'reduce, reuse, recycle' to lower our carbon footprint.
As part of this, we are growing a Food Forest that will sequester carbon for many years, as well as provide tasty things to eat. Our studio is partially-powered by solar panels and is heated with an efficient modern log-burner.
So, where do those logs come from?
Sadly, many have come from ash that have suffered from ash dieback disease. This fungus is wiping out millions of trees across the countryside, causing a dramatic effect upon the landscape. We are collaborating with the Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) and the Trees for Life project to help redress the balance. See below for info about our tree micro-nursery.
Planting woodland in 2019 to shelter the Food Forest
Taking a break from planting out native hardwoods
Guarding bark chippings to mulch round young trees
Freeing-up young trees by removing deer-guarding after 5 years' of growth.
Very occasionally, a tree seedling takes a circumbendibus path up to the light!
The tree-guards will be re-used to protect young saplings from deer.
In 2022, we were fortunate to receive some free trees, from Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT), to give away at our village Free Tree Spree. 200 tree whips found new homes very quickly!
The next year, we installed a tree micro-nursery, kindly provided by DWT, in our Food Forest and grew over 400 trees to give away in January 2024. Most of these were grown from local seed that we had gathered, stratified, prepared and nurtured ourselves. It has been such a joy collecting seed and seeing our own trees shoot up.
As well as giving trees away, we have planted over 1,000 broad-leaved hardwoods here in Awliscombe and Farway with the help of many wonderful volunteers. It's fun to spend wintry days digging holes for trees, protecting them with guard tubes and then having a cuppa and a piece of cake together as we survey what we have achieved.
The frail 'whips' should clear their protective tubes in a year or so. Then they will grow to be higher than our heads after around 3 years. And they should still be around for someone to enjoy in hundreds of years!
Creating the tree micro-nursery
Tree micro-nursery just 6 months later
'Whips' waiting to be rehomed at a Free Tree Spree
1-year-old 'whips' ready for pulling and planting out
The last of 250 whips being given away at a Free Tree Spree