Designing the Biodynamic Garden

On Wednesday we go to Ryton, to Garden Organic, to take a look at the Biodynamic Garden that was created there in 2007. It’s since become horribly neglected and no-one has done anything to it for several years and consequently looks a mess. The CEO of Garden Organic, James Campbell, was going to turn it into a place for growing soft fruit because no-one was taking care of it. My husband, Paul König, discovered this at the Master Composters conference he attended (he is one!) in autumn 2014 and decided he must rescue it.

Around midwinter 2014 after much research and obtaining some commitment from the BDA, Paul took the plunge and asked the CEO, James Campbell, to allow him to rescue the garden. The answer was yes.

Lots more research and discussion went on during the late winter and spring culminating in a good meeting in March between Paul, James Campbell, and the BDA represented by Peter Brown and Jessica Standing.

James Campbell shared his vision about what Garden Organic should be doing which includes nourishment for the senses and informing, educating and supporting anyone with an interest in organic gardening, farming and food. Paul and I completely agree with this. Our aim for the Biodynamic Garden is that should introduce, excite and delight people in what biodynamics is about, how it works and what it does. Paul agreed with James that the garden should be designed and maintained to the highest standards and that’s where I come in.

Between 2004-6 I and my friend Jo Ward-Ellison did 5 award winning show gardens at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show so Paul asked both of us to do the planting design for the garden. The hard-landscaping was done by Andy Jones and we’re not going to change this but the planting is not at all good and desperately needs enlivening, the severe hard landscaping needs softening and the flowforms need to be properly integrated into the garden. The flowforms are very special and interesting water features that do amazing things to the water … and so the plants and the garden and all the wildlife that uses it, but they don’t work well unless they’re part of the planting. Steiner said, “Where rocks and water meet, there are the elementals”. My 2005 Hampton Court gardens was about this and that saying was the basis for my brief.

So Jo and I have been putting our heads together to come up with some ideas and, on Wednesday, we go up to Ryton to meet with Dave Newman who’s in charge of the design and maintenance of the gardens at Garden Organic. We’ll be walking the garden and discussing its needs as well as how to make the garden attractive and inspiring, and easy to maintain. These last two are really important to the people who visit it. If it looks good, exciting and inspiring, and easy to care for, people will feel inspired to give it a go … and this is just what we, Garden Organic and Paul and us, want.

Another of Steiner’s sayings which is as close to my heart as the one above is that he wanted the biodynamic preparations put on as much of the Earth’s surface as possible. Now, I don’t know if you know but there is far more land as garden in Britain than there is land being farmed! So the more gardeners we can get to use the preps the better. And Garden Organic is world famous, people come from all over the world to visit it so, again, the more visitors we can get excited and using the preps the better.

Anyway, I’ve blathered on enough now. I’ll be back after we return with how things went and keep you up to date with how things progress. I gather that Garden Organic also intend to keep a photo-blog of the progress of the garden so I’ll reblog that too.

Watch this space …

This is the basic plan of the garden that we’ll be working with …

BD Plan1