Time and patience will lead us in the right direction, but we already have a strong feeling that the garden will take its lead from nature. We will enhance upon the wealth of wild flowers already present, and try to garden as much as possible with species only plants. Our second aim is to concentrate mainly on plants that have a use to us beyond just their situation in the garden.
We welcome all to come and see what we are doing, so if you are interested just get in touch here.
© 2016 Kelly Mill
The garden at Kelly Mill is our main project, and will take much of our time and focus during the years ahead. The remnants of an old garden surround the house and barns, making up approximately one acre, which in times past contained orchards and vegetable gardens. The garden has many tiers, rising from the river towards the house, and again up towards the ‘top field’.
Always with patience in mind, the garden will be developed over the coming seasons to the highest of standards, combining the strongest design principles with biodynamic methods of husbandry. The garden will be watched, observed and prepared, making the right changes at the right time, after learning what it first has to offer.
The first steps have been to thin, and introduce light into the South Gardens, where the first plantings will soon go in. We have made a no dig vegetable garden on the upper slopes, which will provide food for the family all year. We have also made a nursery containing a large polytunnel, which will produce fruit and vegetables summer and winter long, as well a being a place to raise ornamental plants for the new gardens.
The South Garden in the winter sun, and with too much shade
The Meadows & Hedgerows
It’s our first year as stewards of this patch of land so we are taking time to see what happens, and see what we have. We know that there have been no chemicals applied for over 10 years, and probably not for at least 10 before that. The result is a species rich sward in each field, which vary from well-drained, south facing slopes to low-lying water meadows. The hedgerows are equally untouched, a provide a wonderful habitat for birds, insects and flora. Throughout the course of 2016 we will be surveying and recording everything we find, which you can see on our Pinterest.
We are particularly excited to be a vibrant home to a population of Violet Oil Beetles. The Violet Oil Beetle (Meloe violaceus) is listed as a priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, and considered under threat. They love munching our daffodils, and the larvae climb into Lesser Celandine or Dandelion flowers in order to hitch a ride on a visiting solitary bee. They then alight back at the bees nest, feed up on eggs and nectar before emerging as adults.
The meadows will be allowed to flower and set seed before we cut the hay crop in September. They will then be grazed by sheep until December, and a rest period will follow. The hedgerows will fall into a programme of ‘steeping’ (hedge-laying), an ancient method of maintaining Devon hedges.
We feel certain that there is a lot more to find here, and that through biodynamic management the land will continue to grow in vibrancy and diversity.