We love winter, not just for the rest it affords us all – not that there is any rest for us, as we are busily working on several really interesting, and very different design briefs (see below) but we love winter for the views through filigree branches on empty trees; the texture on revealed bark. We like to encourage our clients to not always be in such a hurry to plant for winter colour or structure, but think perhaps that there is beauty enough in the emptiness of the winter landscape: and purity.
Talking about trees, as wildlife gardeners and active environmentalists, we are so aware of tree wastage at xmas time. A Nordmann fir, the ‘non-drop’ variety now accounts for around 80% of the Christmas trees bought in the UK, it takes eight to 10 years to grow to 6ft. After its brief decorative turn in a festive front room, Wrap estimates that in the UK we throw away 6 million Xmas trees each year. Did you also know that 300,000 tonnes of card packaging is used at xmas; enough to cover London’s famous landmark, Big Ben, almost 260,000 times. 1 billion cards end up in the bin, when they could be recycled, and the amount of wrapping paper used for presents is enough to wrap around the equator 9 times. All once a precious tree which once we glanced at in a winter landscape.
Talking about landscapes, we have been given a brief to design a wonderful vertical landscape – a large green wall spanning the whole of a small garden in Kentish Town. This wall will be viewed through all the windows in this very contemporary house. More news soon.
We are equally excited about the prospect of creating a new wildlife friendly garden for a young family in N7. The main aspect of the brief is to design a child-friendly garden around the 3 existing mature fruit trees which are placed right in the middle of the garden. Who says a garden has to be all about lawn and herbaceous borders! We have always said ‘Out with the herbaceous border, in with the pollinator border!’
During the autumn time, we often turn our attention to community projects, which is a very important aspect of the work we do at Of Butterflies and Bees. We prioritise it, working for no cost, and often help raise the needed funds. Our work with Transition Kentish Town is progressing really well, with projects ranging from creating a community orchard in a local secondary school, to creating veg beds and cob oven in a youth centre, to continuing to develop our plans to create ‘Trails of Well being,’ all over North London. We recently turned our Platform 1 cottage garden at Kentish Town overground station into a winter wonderland, complete with a mistletoe kissing arch. We are hoping that the station will fast become re-named the snogging station!
Our ‘Listening Space’ garden at the Caversham Group Practice is fast becoming a hub for sharing, and community enterprise. Surplus/waste food and food insecurity, is an area we are very passionate about. Last weekend, a shared meal for over 100 people in the garden, was created partly from surplus food. (See dishes created on poster below)
Hoping that your winter will be peaceful and inspiring. Don’t forget to keep turning that bottle of sloe gin, and creating festive decorations from nature…