This last month has been all about making, from plants to new connections and body care products. I could try to list all of these things, but it is scary to realise how much we are trying to do, so just some highlights here.

Making Distilled Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel Distilled small

I have been making distilled witch hazel grown at Holt Wood, and the incredible aroma of freshly distilled young leafy twigs is hard to describe. Our distillation is based on harvesting a sustainable amount of fresh growth from each tree or large shrub, a sort of haircut is the only way I can describe it. Within the aroma, there is the charateristic undertone of the pharmacy distilled witch hazel which is made from whole trees usually dragged out of oak forests in North America, bark and pith and all, often a lengthy distillation. In addition to this undertone, our distilled water carries a fragrant and almost floral scent, making a very delicate and special product. We add organic alcohol derived from wheat for preservative quality, so the distilled witch hazel keeps really well. Ideal as a first aid remedy for insect bites, sprains etc. and a highly astringent lotion to tone the skin.

The still condenser


Kay has been making new flower beds at Holt Wood where we can grow more herbs for teas, and some for drying too. She made a new logo/image, a lovely elegant representation of willow, which is going to be a backdrop for our focus on ‘forest garden body care’.

New logo ‘forest garden body care’


Making baby fig trees

Our efforts at making new plants have been blossoming (literally) and my proudest moment is realising that the Fig cuttings have all taken! So now we have to think where we can put them, they do best in a sunny sheltered position and where their roots can be somewhat restricted to ensure growth is not too lush at the expense of fruits. Putting plants in the right place takes a lot of thought sometimes.

Making contacts

We have been making brilliant new contacts, attending the South West Permaculture Convergence recently held near Exeter, a wonderful opportunity to meet other forest garden and woodland people. Our talk on ‘Designing a medicinal forest garden’ was well-attended and described by one person as ‘inspirational’ so a good feeling all around. We came away inspired to try out new techniques such as making bio-char and determined to get out and visit others more.

Making Juniper Insect Repellent Balm

Juniper balm

Most recently we have been making extra body care items to take to the Love Organic Love Natural show in London for 7-9 July 2017 (information and tickets here). Our Juniper Insect Repellent Balm interested a lot of people at the the recent Toby Buckland Garden Festival so we are taking all we can make and carry!