The Ancient Art of Moon Gardening
As handed down by R.John Harris
Head Gardener
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    Hello and welcome to the only official web site in America devoted to the teachings and methods of Head Gardener Mr. John Harris. Meet John, shown here in one of the  greenhouses at Tresillian Estate in Cornwall,UK. He has developed many varieties of geraniums, apples, beans and his beloved Sweet Peas, among others.
    John Harris was born in Cornwall, England, in 1941. He grew up with the hardships related to the Second World War in England, and overcame seemingly insurmountable challenges of health problems and family tragedy at a very young age. He acquired and took on his first allotment at the age of 11, to keep his family together after his father's untimely death at that same time. 
     As destiny played her hand, John ended up as an apprentice to a brilliant head gardener who, over the years of John's apprenticeship, taught him the ancient art and practice of Moon Gardening. That is, how to grow fruits, flowers and vegetables using the phases of the moon and natural gardening methods to produce prize-winning and delicious vegetables, fruit and flowers.
    John has explored all venues of gardening including running a very large garden center at one point in his life, but fate brought him to Tresillian Estate over twenty years ago. Walking through the gate of the old walled kitchen garden, which had been derelict for over 40 years, John found his life's true calling waiting for him there. While being the Head Garden of Tresillian the entire estate has flourished  under his watchful eye and master's touch, but the  the walled garden is his true love. He tackled the arduous task of restoring it literally from the ground up, bringing the soil up to his standards of perfection and then creating the deep trench beds he is famous for *. His vast knowledge of companion planting, in conjunction with his trench beds and the knowledge of the Moon's phases and planting according to her timetable, has produced bountiful and magnificent and prize-winning produce and flowers consistently for decades.

              {One of the Deep Trench Beds in the walled kitchen garden at Tresillian Estate Photo: Olive Harris}

    The existing apple orchards which he has maintained since he arrived at Tresillian,  and the orchards he has planted over the years are a living history of Cornish apples, some of which have been around since the Romans walked that land. In his own words, he has created "a living library, a gene bank of the old heirloom varieties of fruits, vegetables and flowers." The gift of shared knowledge which John Harris has given the world should be treasured, and his own varieties of apples, beans and Sweet Peas, among others, should be celebrated. 
    Not only is Mr. Harris Chairman of the Newquay Chrysanthemum Show, and is a guest speaker for many garden clubs and organizations, John is a regular contributor on BBC's Radio Cornwall, Radio Devon, as well as guest lecturer at colleges in the UK, the Kew Gardens (London). This year the internationally known Womens' Institute of Great Britain has secured John Harris's time and talents as their named Horticultural Adviser for southwestern England.  Mr. Harris has also been involved with research and restoration of the apple varieties native to Cornwall and surrounding areas at the University of London, and is currently  involved with the upcoming 200th anniversary of the Bramley Apple, the highlight of which will be the dedication of a stained glass window in a local church commemorating this heirloom fruit.  He has been featured in several BBC film and video productions, including A West Country Childhood,  has narrated a video about Rail Transport in England, and is most recently featured in a forthcoming film production by Mr. John Curtin of KAOS Productions in Quebec, for the Canadian Broadcasting Company. John Harris has also been featured in a beautiful article for Westcountry Weekend (1/7/2007) and many other print articles. While he is an Internationally known speaker, lecturer and personality, he always finds time for playing Father Christmas in and around Newquay in Cornwall. The photo of Head Gardener Harris in his Father Christmas outfit is one of my most treasured possessions, as are his books. John has also been featured in the following books:  Historic Gardens of Cornwall and  The Cornwall Gardens Guide.
    *Specific gardening techniques and methods taught by John Harris will be discussed on the this web site which features my small farm on the plains of eastern Colorado, the eco-opposite of Cornwall, England.  We will begin with a discussion of the construction of deep trench beds, soil preparation, companion planting, and planting according to the phases of the Moon. This information will added in a timely manner during this month, May, 2008, and throughout the seasons.
{photo of John courtesy of John and Olive Harris}

" When the gardener employs the principals and methods of companion planting, he soon realizes there are dozens of possible combinations of flowers and vegetables, each benefiting the other, and that not one garden shall ever look like any other garden, indeed, the possibilities are endless!" 
John Harris, during our telephone conversation in May, 2004
A special note to the web site visitors in the UK~~our spelling is sometimes different from the formal British spelling of words. This was begun by Danial Webster on the occasion of the publishing of the first printing of his New World Dictionary, in an attempt to further distance himself and the young United States from King George. My apologies if this offends anyone's sensibilities.