Down on the New Farm – Green Fingered Goings On

Keith Trueman - Sunflowers

By Quince Honey

As you may have heard by now, Quince Honey Farm is on the move! We are relocating to a nearby site, just off the A361 North Devon Link Road and it’s all systems go to be ready for opening in Easter 2019.

The project allows us to create something from scratch; a bespoke design, just for us, and we’re very excited!

A major element of the new site is to create beautiful, landscaped gardens that will surround the buildings and make the most of the farm land in which it’s situated. They promise to be a wonderful feature just in themselves. Head Gardener Pip Howard joined the team this summer to take on this exciting job and begin work on the blank canvas.

Pip has already been hard at work making a start on the gardens. He has carried out a comprehensive survey of the area, including the soil and existing vegetation, to determine what plants can be grown here. The next step was to put together some basic designs.

Pip said, ‘I’ve been able to draw up much more interesting designs than I originally thought, because we have some good quality stone and soils on site. I have started working on some basic construction, including a dry stone wall Bee Bole [stone alcoves where skep hives are kept], which is helping me to work out what extra tools are needed and how much time things are going to take.’

He’s also been hard at work building a plant nursery for the growing on of many thousands of plants, constructing ten raised beds where he is planning to grow up to 500 plants on each. Pip said, ‘The only real constraint is that the plants must be beneficial to bees, but this of course still allows for a huge range of plants.’

His ideas are plentiful, as you might expect from a creative gardener, who is keen to trial traditional and innovative landscaping as part of the design. He says, ‘I have so many ideas, and new ones every day. I have already exhausted one notebook!

‘It is a huge area and the potential is unsurpassed in terms of other projects’ he continues. ‘Sustainable design can be followed through the whole project, so there’ll be dry stone walls, traditional carpentry and surfacing alongside very new and original design.’

Doesn’t it sound amazing?!

Pip is an experienced gardener and began his career in silvicultural surveying (tree planting), specialising in soils. This led him to landscaping and horticulture, working for many years in France restoring landscape features and working on terroir systems for estates (all environmental factors affecting crops).

We’re very lucky to have him on board, and he is equally glad to be a part of it, ‘It is the most interesting and challenging project I have come across in my career! Nothing comparable has been done for many, many years and working towards creating gardens that will become an exemplar for wildlife friendly, sustainable horticulture is a privilege.’

We simply cannot wait to see the finished results, and we hope the same goes for you too! Do keep an eye on our website and social media pages for updates and see the gardens for yourself when we open next year.

Main image: Sunflowers © Keith Trueman


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