“….Hope

Then to belong to your place by your own knowledge

Of what it is that no other place is, and by

Your caring for it as you care for no other place, this

Place that you belong to though it is not yours,

For it was from the beginning and will be to the end.”

Wendell Berry Leavings

I arrived at Lester B. Pearson Airport in Toronto, Ontario at 3:45pm EDT on Friday 18th May 2018 at the start of a nine month sabbatical from my job at Surrey Wildlife Trust while I ran the Hedgelaying in the Ontario Landscape Project at The University of Waterloo. In 2016 I had, with my friends and colleagues Nigel and Jef, been invited to give talks and demonstrations on hedgerows and hedgelaying, and attend seminars to explore themes such as place-making, collective stewardship, agro-ecology and resilience. The new and very welcome offer had come from the HOL project’s architect Professor Stephen Quilley to manage practical elements of the project including hedgerow planting and the creation of more rural skills-themed courses which would explore the connections between craft, ecology, community and place.

It was also a very personal opportunity for me finally to be with Sarah, Farm Manager at Mount Wolfe Farm. We had first met on the HOL trip to Canada in 2016, Mount Wolfe Farm being one of the hedgelaying demonstration sites, although nothing but sparkling conversation and the sense of a connection has passed between us then. It wa snot until the following year that we decided to embark on an impossibly long-distance relationship when Sarah came to England to learn hedgelaying from Nigel a Adams. So my sabbatical was a chance now to live together at last to see if we were as good and as strong as it we felt we were. Ultimately to continue our relationship long-term I was facing a life-altering continent-shifting change.

I had left behind an England warming gently from Spring to Summer and expected the blossoming May sunshine to help me settle into my new home. Instead within a few days the weather was in the high 20s to low 30s celsius made worse by the attendant humidity that characterises the Great Lakes weather system. With the heavy air came the mosquitoes, especially numerous in the wooded creek and wetland areas of the farm. It seemed that vast squadrons of them descended on me every time I left the house as if they sensed I was a exotic and exciting meal. Their attacks left my flesh red and swollen, but It also felt like a personal challenge from the Nature Gods of this continent: this is NOT your home. I wonder how the first settlers felt in this new land, accustomed as they were to the mild climates of Europe, then faced with a struggle to survive in an unforgiving landscape. Its a testament perhaps to conditions they left that they chose to stay when arguably they should have returned, for this was not their land to settle, and now Canada is occupied with more settlers than indigenous peoples. Yet settlers now call this home, and have recently celebrated 150 years calling it their new home.

I stepped off the plane into this new place on the 18th May but what did that mean exactly? Anthropologist David Seamon contends that, as an integral structure of human life, place can be understood in terms of three dimensions:

“…first, the geographical ensemble—i.e., the material environment, including both its natural and human-made dimensions; second, people-in-place, including individual and group actions, intentions, and meanings; and, third, spirit of place, or genius loci. “

David Seamon, A Way of Seeing People and Place: Phenomenology in Environment-Behavior Research. S. Wapner, J. Demick, T. Yamamoto, and H. Minami (Eds.), Theoretical Perspectives in Environment-Behavior Research (pp. 157-78), New York: Plenum, 2000, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2214430

While I had been here now four times in my life for short stays, and while it was certain that I had arrived at a geographic location- 43.6777° N, 79.6248° W– it was only familiar enough to allow me to navigate my way through arrivals and find the right pillar at the front of the airport where Sarah and her mother Sheilagh were waiting to great me. I had no real sense of where I had arrived.

I never returned to work at The Wildlife Trust once I had made the decision that Ontario- and with Sarah- was the place where I wanted my Story to continue. In contemplating my arrival now two years later as a permanent resident of Canada, I am examining whether I truly knew the place I left as deeply as I could have. Did I take the relationship with the place I grew up in for granted, and do I now only appreciate it for having left it? I have been prevented from returning home since January because of the COVID 19 pandemic, and I find myself missing the strangest things like seaside towns in the winter and even the high street shopping experience, so hard to find in mall-town Canada. I have no regrets for making my choice, but I am intrigued by the unfolding relationships to place I am discovering as the shores of the British Isles retreat into memory and Iseek to understand my connection to this new land. In England I was a native with an ancestral history and a land relationship dating back thousands of years or more (probably to Celts and Saxons). In Canada I am a settler, a descendent of colonists intent on resource exploitation, who at their worst traded humans. Can I ever belong here?

I wonder if you can overcome not being born in a land by working in it and for it, or will you always be an immigrant, an outsider? I suspect that some people born to a country never have a deep relationship with the physical geography of a place and the deep belonging- the ecological citizenship- that working on and with the land confers. My two favourite explorers of space relationships Gary Snyder and Wendell Berry write about work as the best way to bring yourself into a relationship with the land.

“Here is perhaps the most delicious turn that comes out of thinking about politics from the standpoint of place: anyone of any race, language, religion, or origin is welcome, as long as they live well on the land. The great Central Valley region does not prefer English over Spanish or Japanese or Hmong. If it had any preferences at all, it might best like the languages it has heard for thousands of years, such as Maidu or Miwok, simply because it is used to them. Mythically speaking, it will welcome whomever chooses to observe the etiquette, express the gratitude, grasp the tools, and learn the songs that it takes to live there.”

Gary Snyder, A Place in Space: Ethics, Aesthetics, and Watersheds

So I work: I make and tend hedgerows; from the woodland here I shape spoons and grow mushrooms and maybe even tap maple syrup. I am planning to get the forge up and running again soon. With all these skills I”m trying to foster a community of crafters, a natural marriage with the farming that Sarah and her family are such champions at. I garden with MsPlants of Caledon. I Occasionally like this morning I pick beans and check chickens. One day I may get some sheep, if that feels right.

And I write and teach and find others seeking to understand this complex and wonderful dance between the individual and the community and the Place we all call home.

And from work and being in place, come stories…..

‘The explorer who will not come back or send back his ships to tell his tale is not an explorer, only an adventurer; and his sons are born in exile.'”

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed 1974

In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete. During a rite’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold” between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which completing the rite establishes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liminality

Where do you start when you set off exploring? When the mood takes you, perhaps. Rise up from your seat, open the door and, without a hat or coat set your foot on the path. Or maybe you wait for a significant event. Your eleventy-first birthday perhaps?

I find Beltane (May 1st) is always a good place to start. We celebrate Winter and Summer Solstices at Mount Wolfe Farm with those of our community who care to join us for food and storytelling and Gratefulness ( I prefer this word to ‘Thanksgiving’ which has religious and colonial overtones). The other festivals of the Wheel of the Year we meet as they meet us. I’m always there in some way, marking the crossing over of the Threshold.

The celebrations that mark the eight-spoked Wheel are thresholds (limen), or doorsteps if you like, and in Celtic myth where I have looked to all my adult life for inspiration, spiritual guidance, stories and sense of oneness, each festival is marked by a breakdown of the barriers between worlds so that the gods and ancestors may be greeted in a world where laws of time and space no longer rule.

So it was that this Beltane I marked not so much by a physical action, a stepping out on the path, but more a heightened awareness as we crossed the threshold. I think I’m now writing this because, like so many synapses firing in a chain of cognition, moments have fused together to mark out the past few days at the beginning of this month where a significant change in my perception occurred. How significant still remains to be see

First, I should say, we have context.

We are travelling through perhaps the most liminal space any of us can remember. Locked in to our homes, wondering when COVID-19 will have finished waging its viral war against us, many of us are using the time to ask questions about how we got here, whether we are happy with how life is working right now, and importantly where do we want to go from here. That most final of thresholds is so much more present for many of us, especially the old and immune-suppressed.

I will also confess to having my creative imagination filled recently with wonderful imagery– if a little violent in the latter case- from the minds of creative geniuses: Ursula K. Le Guin and Noah Hawley. LeGuin needs no introduction, although I will say I am alarmed I haven’t discovered her before now. I pulled The Compass Rose off the bookshelf where it was on lone but as yet unread along with other titles from Jeff our Farm Hand and Skateboard King. Noah Hawley is the writer of all three (currently) series of Fargo, the TV series adapted from the brilliant Coen Brothers Movie. It is storytelling at its finest, but also reminds me of the sublime (there’s that liminal space again) Twin Peaks from David Lynch, which managed to be both incredibly homely and disturbingly dark both at the same time. I can still hear the wind through the pines in my day dreams and it chills me to the bone. In one scene in Series 3 of Fargo, we indeed have the actor Ray Wise who was magnificent as Leland Palmer in Twin Peaks, now playing the mysterious Paul Marrane , The Wandering Jew reimagined, and meeting the parolee and card queen Nicki Swango in a bowling alley in the middle of nowhere, bestowing on her a mission of (divine?) justice. This is as Lynchian as you get, but I also love the reference to the ‘bowling movie’  The Big Lebowski, another Coen Classic.

So the scene is set. COVID-19 has given me the opportunity to do something I have always wanted to do: I have a storytelling group. On Friday nights at 7pm I host a Zoom session as part of my Ontario Rural Skills work. We have a small but perfectly-formed company of five at present and have shared stories both real and fictional around topics like resilience and dreams. On May 1st, I set the scene for the tellers that today was Beltane when boundaries were broken, lovers frolicked in the fields, cattle ritually purified between two fires, and the Lords of Misrule were on the hoof. I read a poem by Edward Thomas, ‘As the Teams Brass Head’, which to me has liminal aspects to it: the young lovers wintering and leaving the woods marking the space; the returning ploughman like the seasonal cycle offering wisdom; and the alternative timelines suggested by the ‘what -if?’ scenario of Thomas’s fallen comrade and the still-standing tree in which he sits. Shelagh read the Story of The Chinese Farmer here retold by by Alan Watts which speaks also of another quality of interest to me and in the same camp as liminality: that nothing is inherently good or evil, just that our interpretation makes it so.

On Saturday morning I found myself again on Zoom, this time speaking to new friends in England and India and Ontario about a new project I am becoming delightfully entangled with called The Midnight Kitchen, the brainchild of doctor, spoon-carver and fellow lover-of-stories Jane Myat who created a liminal space at the Caversham Group Practice in the UK called The Listening Space, a patients’ community garden in the central courtyard of the Caversham Group Practice.

“It’s for anyone who’d like to come and potter around a garden in a relaxed and friendly environment. You don’t have to know about gardening and you don’t have to feel pressured about making conversation. ​The garden is meant to be like an imaginary village hall ……, away from the stresses and strains of everyday life, where we grow flowers and food that is shared; and where we hold seasonal celebratory gatherings. It’s a gentle way to come together as a community: a base to connect with people in a simple way.”

The Midnight Kitchen will be another place for communal sharing of food and stories, through recipes and on-line dinner-parties and picnics, but this time in cyber-space. This pandemic has made many of us more familiar and comfortable with crossing the threshold into a life played out over the web vai technology like Zoom, and even though we are craving physical contact its hard to imagine us going all the way back. I will be hosting a picnic from the farm by that most liminal space, the hedgerow. Why the Midnight Kitchen though? Its a magic time, It’s the Witching Hour, when for a few moments either side, the rules don’t apply or are made to be broken. Its also the time when people are most in need of companionship and succour, or maybe just a naughty tasty snack! It is also not lost on us that Midnight is also a liminal space, a space inbetween days. Have you ever sat and watched the clock reach 12 midnight and in a breathless moment wonder whether it whether the second hand will make it through the Twin Pillars of the Hour and Minute that lock yesterday from tomorrow.

Lastly, for now at least, Sarah spots a weasel by the hen house. In Britain, a weasel (Mustela nivalis) is a weasel but in Ontario, it’s a least weasel, to distinguish it from the short-tailed weasel or ermine Mustela erminea (a Stoat)  and the long tailed weasel Mustela frenata which is a native of the Americas. Sheilagh thought it unusual to see a weasel in the day when they are more active at twilight, although in fact small Mustelids ( or Mustelidae, the weasel family) are most commonly nocturnal. One of my favourite words is used in biology to describe animals of the twilight hours: crepuscular. The etymology of this word is fascinating.

“In figurative use, “dim, indistinct,” is attested from 1660s; literal use, “pertaining to or resembling twilight,” from 1755, from Latin crepusculum “twilight, dusk,” related to creper “obscure, uncertain,” from Proto-Italic *krepos “twilight,” which is of uncertain origin. It is not certain whether “twilight” or “obscure” was the original sense; de Vaan writes, “there is no known root of the form *krep- from which the extant meanings can be derived.” Especially of evening twilight, but 17c.-18c. also “like morning twilight” as symbolic of imperfect enlightenment. In zoology, “flying or appearing at sunset,” from 1826. An older (and lovelier-sounding) adjective form was crepusculine (1540s).”

From https://www.etymonline.com/word/crepuscular

Liminal spaces-edges and boundaries and thresholds-are such interesting spaces, and I know I’m not the first to think so by any means. They have fascinated minds for at least as long as the first hominid developed his sense of other, and since we aren’t sole proprietors of ego in the evolutionary tree of life, probably long before that. I’ll be exploring limnality through the eyes of others in future blogs. But since there are also only really seven basic plots, it’s the context that curates curiosity, so mine is a personal exploration of these liminal spaces.

Here’s something about liminal spaces though: They are fuzzy places where it’s not often clear whether you are in one space or the other.  When you get down to the level of grains of earth and water molecules, there is no absolute border between Cold Creek and the land it drains through. Twilight is the place of obfuscation, not day, not night. The hedgerow is edge habitat between woodland and field or between field and field. Hedgerows have been described by the ecologists Richard Forman and Jaques Baudry in their 1984 paper on hedgerows as ‘woodland edge without the woodland’.

When you look close enough at an edge it disappears and you see it for what is it: flow frozen in the moment.

Here are some of the liminal spaces currently in my life.

The Caterpillar

An old caterpillar tractor is being reclaimed by nature down on the way to the stone bridge. The Cat was here when Arnold and Sheilagh Crandall bought the farm in the 1960s, so it might as well have been there forever. A dinosaur, or an echo from the future of things to come…..

Cold Creek

A classic liminal space, where water meets earth and sky! More explorations from here forthcoming!

The Black Walnut Hedgerow

Sarah and I have nearly finished laying this. We do it in between everything else which is why its taken a few weeks. The black walnuts were ‘healed in’ here in two double lines by Arnold Crandall (Poppa) who loved the tree, probably while he figured out where to put them, but then never got around to doing anything with them. They make the perfect hedgerow!

Between the Chicken Coop and the Forest

This is where the weasel lives!

I’m sure I will find more for you to enjoy.

This week the International Association for Landscape Ecology-North America (IALE_NA) is holding its first ever Annual Conference. I was originally a member of the UK branch of IALE and joined the North American chapter when it was formed last year from what was IALE-US.

The conference was to be held in Toronto, and I was looking forward to it being on my doorstep, but because of the lockdown it has become a virtual, on-line meeting with Plenary and Symposiums hosted live on the Zoom platform and a neat virtual Conference space hosted on Zoho. Although I was originally scheduled to give a talk on my paper, the organisers decided that Track speakers would instead produce an Iposter and allot times to stand by their posters ready for ‘chat’ with interested attendees, much as you would if you had a poster at a live confernce.

I’m presenting the provisional findings of some analysis i have undertaken on the body of literature about hedgerows in North America (81 papers and publications so far). I’m also showcasing the projects I have been working on at the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience- the Hedgelaying In the Ontario Landscape Project and Ontario Rural Skills Network; and also the collaboration with US partners and Hedgelink colleague Nigel Adams on the North American Hedgerow Society.

My research is focusing on sense of place, place attachment and livelihoods using hedgerows, hedgelaying and other rural skills as a model for exploration. this Autumn I’ll be starting my PhD at Waterloo focusing on these themes.

You can view my poster by clicking on the image above. You can also here go directly to the video embedded in the poster which is on my Hedgerows You-tube channel

Please feel free to post comments, suggestions or related stories

Last Wednesday I attended a Greenbelt Foundation Workshop on Creating Complete Communities in Rural Municipalities at Gellert Community Centre in Halton Hills.

As an independent researcher, I’m collaborating with Waterloo and Queens Universities, Save The Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) Coalition and Mount Wolfe Farm in the development of the Oak Ridges Institute of Applied Sustainabiity (ORIAS) . This will be ‘clearing house’ for research and action on sustainability issues in the Greenbelt, using a complexity and systems thinking lens to solve problems and direct action. Today would be an opportunity for me to improve my knowledge on issues facing rural communities.

‘Complete communities’ offer a full range of jobs, retail and services, housing options, transportation options, and public service facilities. The Garden City Movement was one of the first proponents for creating communities that accommodate a wide range of community members through a mix in housing types and uses. Increasing urban sprawl, and its associated negative social, environmental, and health effects, prompted a turn in theory towards increasing density in urban areas. This idea has been brought into contemporary theoretical movements including Smart GrowthNew Urbanism, and Sustainable Development, which all advocate high-density ‘compact’ communities, and also increase the mix of activities and land uses that contribute to a complete community.

While supporting the development of complete communities in all settlement areas is a core objective of Provincial policies, small and rural communities can face difficulties with implementing the complete community concept in their unique context.

Today was an opportunity to hear about what rural municipalities in and around the Greenbelt are doing to support more diverse housing options, transportation modes, local jobs, and revitalized downtowns to create healthier, more sustainable, and complete communities.

The workshop started with a review of current work by Anna Shortly, Reesarch and Policy Analyst at the Greenbelt Foundation on her review of Rural Municpal Initiatives to create Complete Communites which will report next year. Municipalities are working to:

  • -directing growth to areas with infrastucturee (e.g King City Go Station)
  • -using focal points or nodes with a concentration of services eg Waterdown Community Node, and adopting policies to identify ‘nodes
  • -promoting diversification of housing types e.g -appartments & condos
  • -using vacant under-utilized/ lots
  • creating Community Improvement Plans CIPs)- e.g Bolton CIP with financial support support
  • Policies to promote Walking & Cycling and Public transit
  • Looking to create local Jobs!
  • Investing in historic, downtown & waterfronts
  • Creating valuing-added agricultural opportunities
  • Recreational tourism
  • DOWNTOWN revitalisation
  • Multi-Use Trails
Challenges

We then heard from Melissa Ricci, Senior Policy Planner at Halton Hills on an intensification opportunity in Acton with some innovative use of Lego bricks and visualisations!

Michael Benner Directer of Planning and Building Services from the Grey Highlands gave as a fascinating overview of work to revitalise Markdale- the home of Chapman’s Ice Cream. The problems here are two fold, despite the ice cream firm being a big employer most of these are not locals. There is growing development pressure in this area where the main buyers are either (i) older people looking towards retirement or (ii) people who can work from home using teleconferencing facilities. Town Units are selling for $500K+, which is very likely outside the range of people with local jobs. But the attraction of building new homes is easy to see: $9 million in one time development charge revenue and $3m annual tax revenue, plus a new school and hospital. Grey Highlands is working to put this development in the right place, looking at local cores and main street and has even purchased property in the Downtown Markdale area for a multi use retail/ offices and private dwellings.

One aspect i found very interesting living here at Mount Wolf Farm is allowing a diversification of on-farm uses. There has been a rise in the number of machine shops on farms, particularly in the Mennonite community, adding to local employment and the rural economy.

The last speaker in the morning was Vicky van Ravenswaay from Pelham who spoke about community efforts amounting to a claiming back of the streets of Pelham for people. Focusing on the concept of Applied Walkability and Place-Making. Movements to redesign roads and pavements to make them more accessible to walkers- even through the wintert. In Pelham, Thursday nights are now market nights with street closures giving the streets back to the community.

The town also erected a series of Arches which at first looked like the entrance to McDonalds gone mad, but I found it interesting that after an accident that caused their removal they are now reinstated with colour themes and decorations at different times of the year. The concept of having a landmark or symbol can be a powerful place-maker (marker?) and – love it or hate it- can add an identity to a town .

Key lessons from Vicky: Don’t be affaid to close streets; Support, empower local groups; Start small & grow; Must have support of your leadership

A clear message was “if you have to put up street signs to say slow down you have designed the street wrong!”

The afternoons discussions were held in focus groups around these themes:

I joined in with Public Consultation and Small Town Revitalization discussions. My takeaways were:

Public Consultation

Public consultation should be a partnership. It should aim to get to the heart of local stories and develop visions in a participatory journey

Generally this comes too little, too late. If you are afraid of what the public might say and you aren’t prepared to give up control over the outcome, then consultation just becomes a box ticking exercise. At the point most of the respondents will be making a knee-jerk reaction in fear over loss of THEIR control.

Small Town Revitalisation

Our session started with a serious concern about the maximum number of people that a community can support before it loses its character as a small town, which prompted the group to think about what makes a small/ rural town what it is and consider that this might be a moving target as expectations change from generation to generation. Are we perhaps suffering from shifting baseline syndrome. A conversation around public consultations emerged, with the agreement that this happens too late in the path to development so towns suffer from death by 1000 cuts rather than any serious efforts to focus on long-term planning. In the context of sustainability, focusing on local jobs, affordable housing and reducing dependence on the car/ increasing active transport were thought to be good mechanisms for revitalisation.

I found this a very valuable workshop with my key takeaway thoughts for creating Complete Communities:

  • Make people part of the planning process at the beginning and define review processes.
  • Explain the role of risk, uncertainty and complexity especially with reference to climate change
  • Focus on local livelihoods and active transport/ transit where possible
  • Don’t underestimate the power of place-making in creating communities

” Hedgelayers do it in style!” may sound like an amusing bumper-sticker but it refers to one of the most fascinating features of this rural skill: that local differences exist in hedgerow management, called by the National Hedgelaying Society Regional Styles. There are more than 30 styles recorded in the UK, with more in Europe, according to the NHLS.

Hedgelaying in Europe has evolved over hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years in a process perhaps not dissimilar to that which drives the emergence of new species. The simple practice of cutting or bending stems to form a living fence is expressed differently as local ecology and geology, and the temperament of local people define it, with differing styles- and even the tools for the job- as an emerging property. Hedgelaying certainly came to the Americas with European settlers (although dead hedging was use by the First Nations, and some form of management may have existed…) but it seems to have died out, along with the planting of deciduous hedgerows outside gardens.

In the modern world, connection to the landscape and the local appears to be waning. The Hedgelaying in the Ontario’s Landscape project was started to explore, amongst other things, the relationship between people and the landscape through the practice of this rural skill. How might Ontarions interpret hedgerows and hedgelaying? How would it fit into the landscape where field boundary management is not a familiar practice?

One of the drawbacks for anyone wanting to learn and practice hedgelaying in the North American landscape is the paucity of good hedgerows. If you want to manage your hedgerow using hedgelaying techniques, you need a high frequency (approx 5/m) of stems in the 2-10cm width bracket, and really not much higher than 3-4m. For the traditional hedgelayer this paucity represents a serious drawback. However, as I am learning, thelack of ‘good’ hedgerows can be navigated with a bit of imagination!

Last weekend professional hedgelayer Nigel Adams and I taught 17 people to lay ‘hedgerows’ at Wellspring Forest Farm in New York State. We had seen the materials we would be working with on video thanks to owner Steve Gabriel but what looked reasonable on film didn’t translate well to reality. Seeing the woodland edge with many mature trees and a section of patchy invasive European buckthorn scrub we tried not to be dispirited but it seemed like it would be a hard job to produce anything resembling a well layed hedge. Having taught workshops already in Ontario, I think I had been more prepared for the North American hedgerow context than Nigel. Then Steve showed us a line of willows along a raised bank which, although a little short, was enough to raise our spirits. We also found two sections of woodland edge with a fair number of stems. After a good nights sleep Nigel felt better about our hedges and even decided that we should increase the number of stems in the hedge by pushing in cut willow branches from our binder pile- we had more than enough. Not something you would see in the National Hedgelaying Championships in the UK!

The hedgerows we layed, in South of England and Midland styles, both made good living fences and were aesthetically pleasing, and it reinforced my belief that until new planted hedges mature, North American hedgelaying was perhaps going to be about bringing skills developed on European hedgerows to local contexts, not being afraid to break rules and try new things. The interplay of skills and new contexts will hopefully allow new styles to emerge.

Yesterday as I continued to research the history of hedgerows and hedgelaying on this continent, I came across the work of Dr Johann D. Schoepf (1752-1800), a German-born physician and botanist who wrote about his travels in North America in “Travels in the Confederation (1783-4)”

Its clear then from Dr Schoepf’s writing that the methods of hedgelaying we practiced this weekend were even in 1783 the ‘Style’ in North America: inter-planting stems where they didn’t exist and finding stems ‘standing together as much as possible’- in effect creating a hedge line out of a confusion of stems in the woodland edge or field boundary.

Something to think about as the interest in hedgerows and hedgelaying in North America continues to rise.

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