Red Shed Nursery, Lees Stables, Coldstream TD124LF

+44 (0)7989 330 550


Now Autumn has arrived the days are getting cooler but still mild for the tie of year.  It is up to us, the people, to repair the world and we have all the solutions we need to do so.  Apart from control over governments of course.  Hey think positive!

We are working away here in Coldstream despite any challenges forced on us over recent times.  Confidence is rebuilding. Careful people are still being careful..  Covid hasn’t left us yet. Face to face courses are rebuilding  In September 2020 we managed to restart garden visits (it’s a registered agricultural holding here at Garden Cottage) with lots of groups of six or less people  all socially distancing themselves.  Since then we have had two great larger groups: The Garden Designers Society and James Chapman’s Permaculture design course from Edinburgh/Peebles…  All visits are now possible by appointment. We are updating course availability as I write.

If you want to visit contact us and make a mutually convenient appointment. We ask for donations. Minimum £50.  In the last year we have taught Permaculture Design, Forest Gardening and Training Teachers Courses.  Not happy with doing Food Preservation online as it is a very practical course. We’ll try and bring that back soon.

During this time we have given presentations at Dr. Elaine Ingham’s Soil Food Web Soil Symposium, for whom we have now recorded an eighteen part Introduction to Permaculture which is available online now.  We also presented on Martin Crawford’s Agroforestry Research Trust Forest Gardening Symposium.  This is now available online soon.  Much enjoyed doing the opening presentation for Verge Permaculture’s Symposium out of Canada.

Many of our presentations are available online.  Just search on You Tube under ‘Graham Bell Permaculture’: click and take your pick.

We are still making courses to happen online.  please enquire by e-mail for latest information. The plant and tree nursery has moved to Aberdour in Fife  Visitors are welcome by appointment.   Try  07908 092298 and I am sure the lovely Carole Egner will be delighted to help you out.  A mobile plant nursery – a whole new chapter in science fiction.  Beats Day of the Triffids anytime.  We have (apart from book sales) currently suspended the  online shop.  Do contact us if you need further help.  

If you find any links missing on this site dinnae fret- they were lost in transition to a new host and are being steadily repaired.


Garden Cottage in springtime – by artist Dave Watson who runs the Foldyard Gallery in Berwick-upon-Twee with Morag Eaton:


Graham Bell is an internationally known and respected teacher of Permaculture and several underlying disciplines including Forest Gardening and Food Preservation. He has dedicated his working life to helping others achieve the skills to live sustainably.

His reputation is built on over thirty years’ experience and having worked on six continents and in many different climates and social conditions.

Appointed as the first diploma holder in the UK and arbitrator for new diploma holders in the UK by Permaculture founder Bill Mollison in 1990, he has unrivalled experience in the discipline. Currently he is Chair of Permaculture Scotland and the Permaculture Association Britain  Education Working Group.

Business management (he has advised over a thousand businesses), forest gardening, food preservation, renewable energy and energy efficiency are particular strengths. Resource management sits behind all these topics. Trained as an instructor by the (then) Agricultural Training Board in the UK he went on to become a trainer of trainers with that organisation (today called Lantra).

He is a qualified electrical engineer, has a Master’s degree in English language and linguistics, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Royal Society for the Arts Commerce and Manufacturing and the author of two books on Permaculture (The Permaculture Way and the Permaculture Garden) and a very large number of articles. His knowledge of plants and trees is legendary. Having taught from the Arctic Circle down to Middle Eastern deserts and sub Saharan Africa, as well as tropical Australia,  his knowledge and experience is adaptable to most situations. He is primarily interested in helping others in confidence and self-reliance with their own work.

Often asked to do consultancy work (which he does) he says: “At the end of the day I’d much rather teach others to be self-reliant.”

His own home garden is a mere 800 sq metres (0.08 hectares) which produces 1.25 tonnes of food a year peak yield (pro rata 16 tonnes a hectare) 500 trees and 5000 plants for sale, half the household’s energy needs, a soft living room and an amazing teaching space which welcomes (and feeds) a thousand visitors every year from all over the planet (literally) – when not in lockdown.

These visitors include an amazing array of wildlife including thirty-eight resident species of bird, another twenty-two who come on a daily basis, just for lunch, and twenty who come on their holidays. Graham says “You just have to create the right habitat and then the right things happen”, a philosophy which applies to his teaching as much as his garden.

“I’m sure there are many people out there who are much cleverer than me. What I offer is a certain gateway to an amazing future. Easy to digest, clear and in simple language that everyone can understand. I can’t empower anyone. People can only empower themselves. But what I can do is offer you the space, the knowledge and the insights where this will all become apparent for you. You will leave our meeting with all the direction you need to take your life forward for personal gain and the good of all the planet.”



8 thoughts on “Welcome!”

  1. Your place looks amazing! I am currently having serious withdrawal symptoms since moving to a lovely new build in Coldstream with a small blank canvas, yet to be gdn landscaped, compared to previous gdns where I grew plums,apples and veggies and entertained all sorts of birds and wildlife. Also miss my previous wk, role at Ridley hall, Bardon Mill where I worked for a horticultural service for adults with Learning Disabilities -a-sowing and a-digging. I am busy, busy, busy but wonder if you have any ops for volunteers or just a chance to look around and gain some ideas? Regards, Eileen.

  2. November 1, 2012I have been an organic framer for many years and keen to see what permaculture can also offer. I live in a 300-350 mill rainfall area so things are a bit different to the higher rainfall country many of you live in.sheep, chooks, vegies, some crop for hay but mostly just what comes from non-chemical farming over many years.

  3. Hi Graham I came across an article about you in Geoffs Lawtons friday additions. I did a course on line with him in 2015 so I am a new Permaculturist. I decided to turn to permaculture just befor I completed my horticulture part 2 and garden design certificate.
    I do keep in touch with various people on line but you will be the only one on the same continent. This year I have managed to change my vegetable gardening to permaculture. I built a hugulculture bed at the end of 2014 and it is in use this year.
    My garden once belonged to a famous plants man Graham stewart Thomas. He created a ground cover system that still exist to this day. I use to marvel at the thick layers of mulch in the woods and the spring bulbs would pop up every year. I decided I would like to change the system to growing vegetable and fruit and keep myself and the wonderful birds that visit my garden happy. I enjoyed reading what you had to say and to know that you have used the system for so long. I also grow mushroom and collect wild ones.
    All the best Florie

    1. Sounds great Florie. I will be teaching at Geoff’s place in New South Wales this October. Just wondering where abouts you are?

  4. Just found my way here through Geoff Lawton’s blogs. Inspiring for me. Having moved to the countryside in south west Scotland, I’ve been starting to design a perma veg garden, but all info was from other countries, very different climates. I lived near Edinburgh previously and amazed at how the climate differs here. The plot is a wee microclimate of its own too, so getting to know it.
    First lesson, you can’t layer & cover over years of neglected elder, it loves this feed! So, how do I employ a ‘no dig’ policy on elder and nettles? I think I may need to employ you to advise on very neglected the plot with no worms or ladybirds, just plenty slug and frogs, which the chooks are loving!

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