The first tiny blossom in a newly planted plum tree

Where We Grow It

We live on a kind of peninsula called Salling, surrounded by fjords in the north of the Central Jutland region.
It is a quiet area, rural and with much arable farming, unfortunately little organic, as far as can be judged from deep ruts in fields over which tractors drive with great regularity for spreading fertilizer and spraying pesticides.
Regularly scattered in the landscape we see stables for pigs and cows, again unfortunately: few pastures where cows can graze, and certainly no pastures where pigs can be outside.
In our immediate neighborhood there is a sheep farmer with a large flock that is always outside. One of our immediate neighbors is a small, part time farmer with a handful of cows that do spend a lot of time outside.

Map Jutland

Our plot of land is 3000 m2 (0.75 acres). About a quarter is laid out as an English garden, with a wide variety of flowering plants and some special trees like a Gingko and a Tibet Cherry (aka Birch Bark Cherry, Prunus serrula).  The rest of the garden has many trees, from willows, oak and birches to horse chestnut. That part is fairly wild, which in itself we are rather happy about because over the years it has gained a healthy soil and there are many insects and small wildlife, for example frogs and salamanders. We also see many birds and early this year we were happy to see a hard working large bumblebee, which now, a few weeks later, has been joined by several smaller bumblebees.

At first we had some doubts about the usefulness and necessity of the English garden part, but now that we are getting to know a growing number of plants better, it turns out that these too have their usefulness or even a great importance for pollinators, a few have a value as food or medicinal as well. More on those later.

See at the bottom of this page the app and documentation we use on identifying plants and trees and looking up their specific characteristics.

Food forest garden 2024-04-14

On the drawing above, I roughly indicated where we planted the perennial food plants: nut trees, fruit trees and berry bushes. The part south of the house, including a bit to the left and right, is flower garden. The piece north of the house we are turning into mostly herb garden, but we are also putting more and more herbs on the south side.
On the part to the left of the house, so to the west, are the nut trees and I am digging a pond/swamp. On the right, east of the house, are mostly fruit trees and berry bushes.

The trees along the access path, very special looking trees that unfortunately we have not yet been able to identify, are somewhat older and appear to be slowly hollowing out, especially in the rootstock. Before they become a danger from blowing over, we first prune them back considerably, and when the rootstock is hollowed out to the point that it becomes wobbly, we remove it and plant a summer lime tree to replace it.
Once those trees regain leaves, we hope to be able to identify them. They have a lobed leaf, which I have not been able to find on any "native" tree found in northwestern Europe....

Access path sept. 2023
Access path Apr. 2024

Indentifying and knowing: our sources of information

We have two wrist-thick (Dutch) books that are enormously important reference works. The titles in English:
- Handbook Ecological Gardening [Velt]
- Large Handbook of Medicinal Plants [Dr. Geert Verhulst]
We also use an app on our phone for identifying plants and trees: Obsidentify
And, besides Wikipedia, this website is a fantastic reference work on plants and trees in temperate regions:
Useful Temperate Plants

I love this kind of information: all kinds of facts about what grows and flourishes I find fascinating. Of course in terms of nutrition and medicinal effects, but certainly also use of materials and all kinds of trivia. I can spend whole evenings leafing through it without getting bored! 

Photo at top: The first tiny blossom in a newly planted plum tree

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