Inspirational Trip to Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)

We had been meaning to get to CAT for some time, mainly to take a look at the forest garden and polytunnels because they’re both ways we’d like to develop our garden. Plus, we really like it. But the trip turned out to have so much more inspiration than that.

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First of all, I wore my new ‘vegetable skirt’ so here’s a quick pic – then on to the real interest of the gardens.

We want to fill the space where our children had allotments (one kid then had kids of his own and stopped doing the allotment – he does have 3 under 5, and another on the way and the other kid bought a house with a big garden, so didn’t need the space any more) with a polytunnel. This is still something we’re exploring but I think we’re now at the stage of ‘when we do this’ rather than ‘if we do this’. First a pretty pic to remind me how good they are, then some photos of polytunnel essentials – seating and a water supply.

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ImageThen we took a look at the forest garden. I had thought CAT had a large forest garden that was somewhere near the carpark, outside the main display areas, but this seems to have gone and been replaced with a small area integrated into the main gardens. This is much better as everyone who visits gets to see it, although it is small and not very old as yet. Still, it was helpful to us. This winter we are planning a day of tree planting – buy lots of bare-root trees, invite friends, cook masses of curry – you get the picture. The idea is to get the area beyond the pond more wooded (inspired by Colette at Bealtaine Cottage). We had thought a forest garden was the way to go, but it seems like too intensive for what we want to achieve. So we’re just going to plant lots of trees and understorey stuff that we like and that is mostly edible – even if we don’t eat it, the birds will. But the garden at CAT was great:

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I also spotted this gorgeous deck – plans for our garden again: we want to add a small cabin (big enough for a bed) by the pond, with a deck over the pond for dipping or swimming (it’s a lovely heatwave in the UK as I write this).

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Okay, that’s enough wittering about my plans for our garden. Almost everything we saw inspired us, from the woodstore to the buildings. Here’s some pics:

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There’s loads more at CAT to see – lots of wind turbines and other alternative technologies. However, these weren’t the focus of our visit and we barely looked at them, although we were there almost all day.

Just one final thing to write. I’ve wanted to open the garden to the public for many years, but never had the confidence. But I think we’re almost there. I’m planning to approach the yellow book people (NGS) this autumn to see if we’re likely to qualify and when we’d need to commit by. I need the fruit cage built and the veg beds back in action before we can commit. But even if it’s not a possibility in 2014, I think we’ll organise some kind of music and garden themed event to raise some money for charity. Watch this space!

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About Home on the Hill

Organic gardening, chook keeping, permaculture, knitting, sewing, cooking, in lovely Warwickshire in the English midlands.
This entry was posted in Crafts, Fruit, Hedges, Herbs, Organic gardening, Ornamentals, Ponds, Vegetables and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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