Nature brings us gifts in abundance at this time of year.  I was lucky to enjoy one after another during a brief visit to a jewel in England’s woodlands: the Forest of Dean. I soaked in the view from Symonds Yat Rock, a popular landmark in the Forest, where theContinue Reading

I spent over a decade as a forest scientist working to improve the genetic quality of various hardwood tree species.  To put it another way, to maniupate NATURE.  It became increasingly obvious to me that we must never ignore NURTURE.  We must work with both nature and nurture when creatingContinue Reading

The diversity of the walnut world always holds surprises and today I received a fascinating enquiry.  Donna Beveridge wrote to me with a plea for help in sourcing walnuts for sick Parrots on the tiny Scottish island of Kerrera (population 35): “I am a volunteer at The Island Parrot SanctuaryContinue Reading

Today I met legendary chef Raymond Blanc, at the stunning Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons.  We met to discuss the combining of chickens and egg production with organic fruit production in orchards.  Hopefully RB and I will be working together on an exciting new project in the future. I willContinue Reading

Today we collected seeds from a valley near Gava village. Mamajan headed off to Jalal-Abad seeking permission to collect seeds from this area. After starting promptly at 0900 and having a productive morning, we unfortunately had to walk back to the farmstead for lunch; a round trip of at least 2.5 hours. I have found …Continue Reading

I am delighted to have been promoted to a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. I am proud to be a Chartered Forester as I believe that the profession needs to be promoted more widely in a positive light, and because I strongly support the importance of the ICFContinue Reading

My forestry research work took me to the USA and Italy looking for the best ways to grow walnut trees for timber.  Foresters in both countries pioneered the planting of nitrogen-fixing trees or shrubs with hardwood trees, where their ability to improve soil fertility for ‘hungry’ species, such as walnut,Continue Reading

I recently came across a bird’s eye view of the farmland at College Farm in Southern Oxfordshire, before I had designed and started the planting of two new woodlands: Paradise Wood and Neptune Wood. The aerial photograph, taken in 1991, clearly shows that College Farm was an arable desert.  WheatContinue Reading

I created a pen and ink drawing for the cover of the international journal of forestry research, Forestry, which ran to four issues during 1999. The drawing depicts a sawlog, an oak trunk, a pine branch and an oak seedling.  I think it works particularly well when reversed or asContinue Reading