We recently visited the permaculture garden of Wade Muggleton and his family in South Shropshire and what a wonderful garden it is, full of interest, attractive and so productive. Every inch of space is used and productive on several layers – tree, shrub and ground. The front garden is home to fruit from strawberries at ground level, through gooseberries, including a deep red fruited bush with intense sweet taste, and on up through cordon apples and finally up to apples grown on trees. The star of the front garden though was the Japanese Wineberry with its bright orange and red colouring and textured stems – and they had a sweet, rich taste.
The back garden of this ex-council house overlooks beautiful rambling Shropshire countryside, which can be appreciated from a well-placed bench. Chickens roam freely and contentedly under fruit trees amongst a wildflower meadow. The most striking tree was a pear which bore deep red fruit which Wade was unable to name as it was bought cheaply without a label, but he could tell us that it tasted as good as it looked.
The back garden contained everything a good organic garden should – water butts, comfrey plants, small wildlife pool, compost systems, and a small greenhouse. Examples of original ideas in recycling could be found everywhere, such as a shower cubicle as a coldframe and a plastic container that housed a mini-square foot garden.
Wade talked to us about permaculture, about optimising your productive space by prioritising which crops you grow, choosing crops for richness of flavour and encouraged us to play the percentage game by realising that we could not be totally self-sufficient but every bit we do builds up to reduce pressure on the wider environment.