Meet our latest Guest Gardener!
Our latest Guest Gardener stood out to us from afar, for his permaculture way of gardening, his embracing of the no-dig method, his glorious Instagram profile with it’s swoon-worthy veggie pics, and his incredible knowledge of food gardening. So in that sense, this is more than a story of a non-traditional garden, and more of a glimpse into a truly sustainable gardeners life and world.
Howzit, Sawbona, Yebo! I’m Adam from South Wales, but I have family from South Africa and can speak and understand Afrikaans. 😊 I love gardening and absolutely love how beautiful some of South Africa’s gardens are. One of my all-time favourite places are the Terraced gardens in front of the Union Buildings in Pretoria…wow!
– How regularly do you buy plants?
Any excuse and I will find a way to buy new plants, seeds, or bulbs. I often propagate my own plants from cuttings as well. But I would say that I at least buy new plants monthly, if not sometimes weekly in the summer months.
– How much time, on average, per week do you spend on plant upkeep?
In summer I could easily spend 6-8 hours a week on plant upkeep and this generally slows down with the Autumn and Winter. In Winter for example, some weeks could pass where I have not done anything with plants.
–How is the gardening planned in such a large space?
We have tried to squeeze as much growing space as possible with over 20 raised beds, containers, greenhouses and polytunnels all to maximize our food production. We’ve have also created large wildlife areas (flower meadows, wildlife pond, native hedging) to try and create a wildlife corridor and entice beneficial creatures into our garden.
On our property we grow a large variety of vegetables, fruits and flowers. We grow brassicas, carrots, potatoes, artichokes, beans, salads, tomatoes, peppers and of course leeks (our national emblem in Wales). Recently, we’ve planted a new orchard and have a fruit cage with blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. The raised beds are also interplanted with companion plants and flowers to entice pollinators into the garden such as French Marigolds, Feverfew, Liatris Spicata and giant hyssops. So understandably this all take a lot of planning and time.
– Why do you garden in your non-traditional space?
Gardening it is what I have always done, to me, it’s second nature to spend time in the outdoors, with the sun on your face, breeze in your hair and just completely shutting off from the world and its tribulations. It is certainly an escape, especially now. I also garden because we are trying to live a self-sufficient lifestyle and reduce our dependency on the supermarket. We generally grow all the vegetables that we need here 😊
I garden following permaculture principles and using the no dig method – this means that I never dig the soil, I just add fresh compost/mulch every year. I have found that this has improved the health of my soil, reduced the need for weeding and watering! It’s a win win!. I also love mixing flowers and vegetables together in the same planting beds – just because we want our gardens to be productive, it doesn’t mean they can’t be beneficial to nature and beautiful at the same time! (For more on companion planting, click |HERE|)
– How did you get into gardening?
I never really found gardening or decided one day that I would like to start a new hobby in gardening rather gardening found me in a way. My Tad-cu (or Grandfather in Welsh) was a huge gardening inspiration. My grandparent’s generation grew their own food because they had to, it was what was done after the second world war.
I was fortunate to be brought up playing between the gigantic rhubarb leaves of my grandfather’s garden or stealing his raspberries or strawberries. Luckily for me, living on the same street as my grandparents and with neighbours who were all keen gardeners. This offered the best gardening know-how ever, years of experience from all the gardeners and everyone sharing their knowledge with me. After all, that’s how garden knowledge is developed and shared, through the fantastic community and society that is built upon gardening.
– What are your social media handles? If you have an Instagram account what is your handle?
- Instagram @adamynyrardd
- Twitter @adamynyrardd
- Facebook: Adam yn yr ardd | Facebook
- www.adamynyrardd.cymru (in construction)
– Where do you currently reside?
I live in Wales but have family who used to live in Joburg, Roodepoort. I spent an incredibly happy 3 weeks there on holiday! Travelling around KwaZulu Natal and the Drakensburg area revealed an amazing country. I will never forget the masses of Sweet Williams (dianthus) that I saw flowering not far from Spion kop! Baie mooi!
– What type of home do you have? Flat/apartment, house, flat-share, garden cottage, etc?
I live in a semi-detached home with a large garden, it is nearly half of an acre. It is like a small cottage with original features and it is over 150 years old 😊.
– What is your favourite place to buy plants?
I absolutely love wandering around garden centres and nurseries browsing at different plants, it is addictive! There is a local garden centre near me here in Wales and I often find any excuse to pop by and fill the boot (we also call it a boot in SA!) – it’s always fun trying to squeeze plants into the car. I once had fun with large Lupins in flower but was adamant not to damage any of the flowers!