A Pocket Full of Promise!

 

We had been really looking forward to this day for a while. On 23rd February 2024 the wonderful ‘Tree-O’ from Pocket Forests CLG; Ashe Conrad-Jones, Catherine Cleary, and Amy van den Broek, came to Wildacres to plant a Pocket Forest with us.

We planted a mix of 80 beautiful native tree species including Hazel, Hawthorn, Downy Birch, Silver Birch, Pedunculate Oak, Grey Willow, Alder, Alder Buckthorn, Crab Apple, Dog rose, Spindle, Guelder rose, Elder and Rowan in a 6 metre diameter circular plot, which we had deer and hare proofed in advance to avoid the young trees becoming a buffet for the locals!

After what seemed like the wettest winter in a long time, the spot we had designated for this Pocket Forest, in the centre of our wildflower meadow, was completely saturated.

Or as they say in horse racing parlance “The going was heavy”.

Still, we all enjoyed the challenge which involved a lot of wellies stuck in the mud and a couple of even muddier stumbles.

 

What is a Pocket Forest?

 

In the words of the Pocket Forests Team: ‘It is our very own method of planting Native Trees and Groundcover plants in small urban areas. We follow some of the Miyawaki technique. Akira Miyawaki was a Japanese botanist who pioneered a technique for growing a forest of native trees, with dense, mixed native planting which mimics the layers of a natural forest.’

At Wildacres we have already planted over 13,000 native trees in other areas of the Nature Reserve forming native woodland, kms of native hedgerow, riparian zone, stands of trees and a traditional orchard.

We are thrilled to now have a ‘Pocket Forest’ to showcase to visitors what can be created in areas where space is very limited, for example urban areas, community spaces, school grounds and more.

 

Catherine and Gilly showing off how muddy it was planting trees in the Pocket Forest at Wildacres!

 

You don’t have to have acres of land to plant your very own ‘Pocket Forest’.

 

They can be created in all sorts of settings, such as parks, school grounds, commercial lands and more and can be made to fit into a space, as small as a single car parking slot!

They creates precious vital habitat and an idyllic refuge for wildlife and people.

It is important to choose a suitable space, making sure that the chosen plot is not already supporting biodiversity. As you do not want to damage an already important wildlife habitat.

 

Brian created 2 ponds at the Pocket Forest. He’s addicted!

 

 

With this exciting new feature at Wildacres, which is a wonderful addition to our other showcase habitats, we eventually finished up after a busy morning of planting.

We even managed to add two ponds to the perimeter, sure it would be silly not to! 😊

In preparation for the day, we had put up protective fencing to keep the large local population of hungry deer and our beautiful native resident Irish Hares from getting in to chomp the newly planted trees.

It was such an enjoyable day filled with laughs, mud and finished off with Tea and Biscuits.

Overall a lot done, but we have so much more to do to help reverse the huge declines in Ireland’s precious Biodiversity.

Days like these fill us with hope and enthusiasm to push on and do more 💚

 

Amy, Gilly, Catherine and Ashe at the end of a great day creating a Pocket Forest at Wildacres