Wild Nettle Gardens

Wild Nettle Gardens

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Wild Nettle Gardens was a labour of love that started with an idea, a piece of borrowed land, and some seeds in Wales in Jan 2018. With no experience, very little capital, and lots of enthusiam, I started building beds, raising plants, and learning a huge amount from Youtube videos. 

I started a YouTube Channel so that my rather sceptical friends could watch my progress and took videos of how the gardens in Wales progressed. In February, the off-grid hut that I was living in caught fire and I was fortunately not in it, but lost all my possessions. It was deeply challenging on many levels, and yet it helped me to formulate what I wanted to do. A gentleman from Social Farms and Gardens came to visit the site and when I told him my tale of woe, he asked me if I had heard of Care Farming? I said that I hadn't so he invited me to go to a weekend course explaining what it was and how it helped. 

I was hooked. I loved the idea and knew how very helpful it had been for me when I was dealing with the trauma of the fire to be able to go and spend the day in the gardens with the plants. And so the idea of a social enterprise was born. 

Here is a video of where I had got to by May - Wild Nettle Gardens Update May 2108

So by the end of the season I had learned a lot. The biggest thing that I had learned was that I loved this and wanted to spend the rest of my days in the garden. We had had the hottest summer for years, the latest frost, and much more and none of that put me off. I was hooked. However, I did know that I did not want to stay on that piece of land, as there was no soil. I started looking around for another plot and putting everything that I wanted to take with me into pots.

My sister offered me refuge in the North East, and wanting to be near family I decided to move up there. This is what I was taking with me at the end of my first year in agriculture. Packed Up and Ready to Head North.  I felt so proud- I had given myself a season to see if I liked it- and was really pleased that I did. I had built a stock up, set up a website, www.wildnettlegardens.com a Patreon account, learned an awful lot and I set off up north to try my hand at growing food. 

It did not go as I had planned. 2019 was an interesting year. I joined the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and made some really good friends, & continued to look after my plants and look for land. I was offered around 5 pieces of land, but none were really suitable, and if they were, they turned out to be unavailable. The plants were being looked after in the Shaw Trust in Stockton, who were very kind but I needed to move them at the end of the year, so I found an allotment in Middlesbrough where they continued to grow in their pots. 

So this is them Dec 2019, covered in snow and Just Arrived at the Plot in Middlesbrough

And then there was 2020. I inherited a lot of fruit bushes from an orchard that shut, and many other bits from allotment holders, friends and so on. I needed to take on another plot as the numbers grew. I fell in love with Peonies and Roses and substantially grew my stock. I added flower growing to my business plan, and started looking for land again but lockdown made that difficult. It did however give me the time and space to ask the important question - where did I want to be? And it came back clearly that I did not want to stay in the North East, and so as I write this I am looking for land in the Bristol region. I hope to move by the end of the year. 

Here is the gardens in full leaf, exuberance and colour- Update August 2020

I now have all the seeds and plants that I need to plant the acre and the food forest. All that is missing is the land. I am having some very interesting conversations and will post on here as soon as I have some news. If you want to support the project, please get in touch. Many thanks!