Anna Gooch

Organic Therapist

 

 

Beauty Begins In The Garden.

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I decided to add a page about my garden to the website as clients often want to know what is going on in it at various times of the year. Those interested sometimes come and have a walk around the garden with me but although always a pleasure this can be difficult to fit in. I thought it would be a good thing to have a page that you can just dip in and have a look from time to time. 

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My garden is where it all starts for me. Nowhere do I feel more connected to what it means to being alive than when I have my hands in the soil and the abundance of nature all around me heaving with life. Nothing is more satisfying to the soul than nurturing a plant from tiny seed to strong healthy growth that will in turn heal and nourish. I can never get over how incredibly lucky we are to have this amazing and precious treasure trove entirely free and at our finger tips. The work I do in my garden has had a huge influence on how my professional working life has evolved too. It is largely due to my belief in the profound effects that medicinal and healing plants can have on people and that I started looking for the best organic products on the market for my treatments.

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The garden is south-east facing and terraced, with large retaining walls. The top two terraces are cultivated, the first with a large greenhouse, vegetable garden, flower beds,  summer house and sun terrace. The second terrace has a fourteen foot high wall that runs approximately two hundred feet and has espaliered fruit trees spaced along it - figs, plum, cherry, apricot, peach, apples and pears, (the bananas didn't like last winter one bit, unfortunately, but are still hanging in there!) The land then slopes downwards, interspersed with more fruit trees to a meadow and a natural spring fed pond and the river at the bottom.

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The garden has had many different uses over hundreds of years, from ornamental woodland garden in the Victorian era to fully cultivated market garden during the war, worked by fourteen full time gardeners. During my eighteen year guardianship of it, I have managed the garden organically and in recent years increasingly bio-dynamically. This has also led me to become interested in permaculture and looking at more energy efficient and sustainable ways of maintaining this beautiful but challenging tract of land. Encouraging wildlife and biodiversity in the garden is fundamental. It is teeming with birds and animals.

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The meadow at the bottom is left to grow wild and is perfect habitat for a very healthy owl population to hunt at night. Buzzards, herons, green and greater spotted woodpeckers are daily visitors, and the vibrant electric blue flash of the kingfisher makes an exciting special guest appearance down by the river occasionally.  I love this garden because it has a  micro-climate all of its own and many different and varied growing environments. I can grow tender tropical and mediterranean plants along the hot dry wall and lush leafy plants that like damp shady positions down by the pond and river. There is always plenty to forage too. I look forward to the spring when the ground is covered with delicious wild garlic and then tender young leaves for salads full of goodness, there is then a continual  profusion of leaves, roots, fruits, nuts and berries throughout the summer and autumn. My favorite plants of all are trees and I have built up a bit of an arboretum over the years of all sorts of native and unusual trees, at the moment I am preparing to plant three new fruit trees, a quince, a mulberry and a new Victoria plum as I lost my old plum tree to a storm in the spring. It is a stunning and highly unusual site especially being so close to the city centre and the intense levels make it very dramatic (the tops of the huge 100 ft Balsam Poplars that line the river at the bottom of the garden are at eye line with you when looking across the valley from the house at the top of the garden) The only downside is that it is incredibly hard work but as I say it will either keep me fit or finish me off, hopefully the former!  

 
© 2018 Anna Gooch