At The Sustainable Garden we’re doing our bit to help the planet by putting the natural world front and centre of everything we do. We can show you how to do so too, through courses that teach you how to create beautiful gardens that support a rich diversity of insects, birds and animal life, and how to grow your own food sustainably with a deeper understanding of the health and nutritional benefits this brings.
Behind an old farmhouse, surrounded by a walled garden full of flowers, alongside ancient cider apple orchards where sheep graze under productive old trees laden with fruit, Charlotte has created a wildflower meadow full of colourful native plant species that support colonies of insects and other wildlife, a nature pond where dragonflies hover and swallows dip and dive and a nuttery where hazelnuts and walnuts are foraged.
After a recent visit to The Sustainable Garden ecologist John Walters said: “The grassland and orchard habitat has been untouched by intensive management and is being sympathetically managed for wildlife. It is an oasis that retains the rich diversity of insect life including grasshoppers and wild bees that has vanished from much of the surrounding landscape.”
This is also the site of The English Potager Garden, where fruit, vegetables and herbs thrive among beautiful companion plants. It’s where Charlotte Parton, the garden’s founder, teaches courses on ecological gardening and growing your own sustainable food.
Drawing on her many years of experience in horticulture, design, nutrition, and ecology Charlotte created these courses help people learn a more sustainable, and ultimately a more satisfying, way to garden.
The series of one-day courses run throughout the year. You can see them all by Clicking Here.
If you want to make a weekend of it, we have accommodation for one couple at our own bijou boutique retreat, Wildflower Cottage, or there are also lots of other fantastic places to stay nearby in beautiful South Devon.
We’re 30 minutes from the coast or Dartmoor, and just a 2.5-hour train journey (or four hour drive) from London.
About Charlotte Parton
Having grown up in Africa, Charlotte graduated from Bristol University with a languages degree and spent the early part of her career traveling the Spanish-speaking world for her job in the TV industry.
A love of gardening eventually led her to change path and re-train at Capel Manor College in London where she gained her RHS certification and a Distinction in Horticulture and Garden Design.
She started her own design and landscaping company in 2006 and created many beautiful small gardens over the subsequent ten years.
During this time Charlotte also qualified as a nutritional therapist, at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London.
She became increasingly concerned about the detrimental effects to human health from planet-damaging pesticides, chemical fertilisers, and plastics, and realised that some of the food she was buying in supermarkets was considerably lacking in essential vitamins and minerals, due to being transported halfway round the country, or even the world.
This led to a desire to grow her own food in a way that would provide maximum nutrition with the minimum negative impact on the planet, combined with beautiful companion planting.
Moving from London to Devon in 2015 she studied various methods of sustainable food production, from permaculture to biodynamics, companion planting to no-dig techniques and combined many of these principles with her other skills when she came to create her own smallholding. She also studied a MSc in Sustainable Food And Natural Resources.
Her background in design, and appreciation for attractive ways to grow vegetables, led her to her passion for potager gardens. She realised this old method combined the beauty she was looking for with an effective way to produce food sustainably.
Creating wildlife-friendly areas with ponds and wildflowers, hedgerows and native trees around the potager, further increased both the biodiversity and productivity of the vegetable and fruit garden.
The Sustainable Garden is the result of Charlotte’s passion and experience in creating beautiful gardens that support happy humans and happy wildlife. It’s a beautiful, biodiverse, productive smallholding and we hope it’ll inspire to create a happy, healthy, beautiful garden of your own.