Tree Planting Pledge Archive

Juliet Fishenden

Over the past few months, many of us have enjoyed taking the time to browse online or flick through magazines for interiors inspiration. Whether you scroll on platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest or pick up the latest issue of the major home décor magazines, elegant cottage kitchens are everywhere. It’s no surprise that fresh takes on the French-inspired, rustic kitchens are a mainstay of stylish interiors magazines, given their warm, inviting style and ease of maintenance.

On Instagram and Pinterest, homeowners and renters alike are making some simple changes to transform their kitchens, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Many interior gurus have taken to painting their existing kitchen furniture to give it that cottage kitchen feel. Classic navy tones, soft greys, duck-egg blues, cream hues or light sage greens can all be perfect colours to create a classic, rustic look, which gives dated kitchens a new lease of life.

Finishing touches

If you’re thinking of revamping your kitchen, don’t forget the importance of finishing touches. From freshly-painted cupboard fronts to bespoke hardware, a few simple tweaks can make a huge difference to the overall look of your kitchen space. Changing dated wooden hooks and handles for iron pull handles can really transform your kitchen.

Stylish storage

To help create the illusion of space some opt for open-fronted storage; taking the doors off cupboards or putting up shelving units for crockery and glassware is a nice way to create a relaxed, lived-in feel. Open-fronted cupboards, shelves and dressers make it easy to access crockery and cookware, as well as reducing the time it takes to put things away. Just make sure that you use strong, iron brackets to support your shelves, this is particularly important in the kitchen, where pots, pans and crockery place a heavy load on cupboards and shelving. Iron kitchen racks can be sturdier and more hard-wearing than wooden or MDF cupboards, and are just as suitable for offering a rustic take on suburban style as they are for showing off the countryside charm of cottages and rural homes.

Hang pots and pans

If cupboard and shelf space are at a premium in your kitchen, wrought iron hooks are a fantastic way to store your pots and pans, keeping them off surfaces, whilst contributing to that cosy cottage ambience. ‘S’ hooks on metal brackets are a lovely feature, often used in traditional country cottage kitchens; made from handcrafted wrought iron, brackets and hooks can help to create a handmade personalised feel in a kitchen, whether you’re renovating or simply sprucing up a tired, old kitchen.

Rustic-style textiles

Varied textures and fabrics are a quintessential feature of a chic cottage kitchen. If you’re choosing curtains in your kitchen area, then you might like to consider a handmade curtain pole. Linen curtains in muted tones are a great choice, combining the rustic style of natural fibres with the understated elegance of wrought iron French-style curtain poles offers a modern, stylish take on farmhouse style. Natural linens, understated colours and bespoke metal hardware look fantastic with natural stone or wooden flooring, creating a rich array of textures.

To set your interior apart from the flat-pack catalogues, you don’t need to spend a lot of money or even install a new kitchen from scratch. Whether you’re looking to lend a new lease of life to your old kitchen, transform this important space in your home, or offer a personal touch to a mass-produced kitchen, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. So, choose a muted, elegant tone for walls and cupboards, and accessorise with handmade fittings to create a chic, bespoke look in your cottage kitchen.

Juliet Fishenden

As you probably know, Made by the Forge pledges to plant a tree for every order received. We take this pledge very seriously. In February this year, hundreds of trees were planted thanks to all you wonderful people who ordered ironwork from us last year. The funds to do so were recently donated to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust for landscape trees to be planted around the development at Carlton Marshes Visitor Centre, car park and children’s play area.

Carlton and Oulton Marshes range over a one hundred and fifty hectare nature reserve in Lowestoft. They are collectively a lowland reserve in the Broads National Park. This consists of meadows, wet grasslands, reed beds, marshes and woodlands. We chose to support the planned tree planting needed at Carlton Marshes to help the Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s overall goal to make this reserve a very special place for wildlife and people. The volunteer team is putting in one exterior rabbit fence using chestnut posts and the trees are scattered within.

The Suffolk Wildlife Trust arranged the tree planting at Carlton Marshes, which will go some way towards this amazing location becoming an even more special place to visit. The marshes are open to anyone who wants a wild, outdoor experience. And who doesn’t?

The images were kindly supplied by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. “Thank you once again for your terrific support” Michael Strand, Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

Caroline Brett

Made by the Forge plants a native sapling for every order received. 2018 sees a new series highlighting the virtues of the British trees the company promotes as a major part of its ethos.

Hazel (Corylus avellana)

The hazel is the smallholder’s godsend. It grows relatively rapidly on rough and wet soils that aren’t much use for other crops. Commonly it’s found in hedgerows and in the understory of oak, ask and birch woodland.

Hazel sticks are flexible, strong and long lasting with multiple uses. Crofters and smallholders use them for sheep hurdles, baskets, walking sticks, thatching spurs, netting poles and even coracle boats. In spring, hazel is so bendy it can be knotted without breaking.

The trees were traditionally coppiced for their repeated growth of sticks every 6-10 years.  One tree or stool (cut clump) could last several hundred years.  When left to grow naturally, they can reach 12m and live for 80 – 100 years.

Hazel was grown for large-scale nut production until the early 1900s. Cultivated varieties (known as cob-nuts) are still grown in Kent.

The nuts are a favourite food of squirrels and dormice. Hazel nuts help these rodents fatten up for winter and in spring the leaves are an important source of food for caterpillars that squirrels and dormice also relish. Woodpeckers, jays and nuthatches also enthusiastically collect hazel nuts in autumn.

In coppiced hazel woodland, the open wildflower-rich habitat supports many species of butterfly, particularly fritillaries. It also provides shelter for ground-nesting birds such as the nightingales, nightjars, yellowhammers and willow warblers.

Hazel is ‘the magic tree’. A hazel rod is believed to ward off evil spirits, it was a popular witches’ wand and reputedly good for water divining. Nuts were carried to ward off rheumatism. In Celtic legend and Ireland it’s known as the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ as well as a fertility symbol. There are many versions of an ancient tale where nine hazel trees grew around a sacred pool. Salmon (a fish sacred to Druids) ate the nuts and absorbed the wisdom.

Today the wise snack on hazelnuts which are loaded with health benefitting nutrients including manganese, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron and numerous vitamins and anti-oxidant qualities. They have been proven to help prevent heart disease and improve brain function.

Juliet Fishenden

As you probably know, for every order, Made by the Forge pledges to plant a tree to give back to nature what we’re taking from it. We assign this important part of our business to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Rather than plant one tree at a time, we let the Trust choose the best location and then on a certain day, volunteers who care about the environment come along and plant hundreds of trees at once.

 

 

We are indebted to Michael Strand the Trust’s Development Officer whom we meet usually every year at tree plantings. Alas both he and Site Manager Alan Miller were not available for this years’ plantings but there as the Trust representative was Sam Hanks, the Coastal Reserves Assistant and it was a pleasure to meet him.

While at Thorington in Suffolk, I was struck by the generosity of the volunteers. It’s such a good feeling to know there are dedicated and committed people out there who will give their time on a chilly December morning to plant trees given that the simple reward for their actions – a line of proud trees – will be years in the future. We’ve credited the volunteers at the end of this short 2 minute film to mark the occasion. (Click on the picture below to watch) I hope you enjoy it.