About The TURAIDA Forest Garden Design
Turaida's landscape design resembles a park-like atmosphere. The design uses organic, permaculture, and hugelkultur principles along with city-like 'forested' neighborhoods and narrow winding pathways. Human-made raised beds are combined with water collecting swales and a pond water catchment system. Turaida's design uses microclimates and vertical gardening to improve yields and extend the growing season. We use many edible hedges, unique curvilinear walkways for wheelbarrow access, and raised beds using no-till gardening with hand tools. We plant open pollinated, grow and sell specimens of heritage as well as new cultivars of many genus and species. Additionally, we grow seedlings of different shrubs, trees, herbs and select vegetables for forest gardens. Availability is limited by our small scale size.
About The TURAIDA Name
Turaida forest garden is named in honour of the Turaida Museum Reserve in Sigulda, Latvia. Turaida means God's (Thor's) Garden in the dormant Livonian language. It is also the place name for the UNESCO world heritage site that includes a picturesque restored Teutonic castle in Northern Europe. Known as Turaidas Pils, the medieval castle stands above a bend along the Gauja River. The Latvian National heritage site includes a forested sculpture park and a cultural museum as well as one of the oldest wooden churches in Latvia. The Gauja River is the only main river that begins and ends in Latvia.
DAVID (with both sun and tower behind him) AFTER CLIMBING THE MAIN TOWER AT THE HISTORIC TURAIDA, LATVIA AUGUST 2013. He later discovered the last Livonian speaker died in 2013, according to wikipedia.
David and Michelle met as University of Waterloo Health Science classmates who graduated, became business partners and got married in 2007. The left their urban life (retired from health care) for country living in Wainfleet. Together, David and Michelle work as a team to grow the forest garden.
Michelle White is the stained glass mosaic artist and illustrator behind Niagara Glass Mosaics. She comes from a rural past growing up in the heart of the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. She divides her time between her studio and producing in the forest garden. During the growing season, she also helps maintain the market stand and nursery with David.
David Buckton inside their home, in front of an antique wood armoire at Turaida. David is a multimedia artist (view his youtube multimedia music channel in this link), entrepreneur, writer and working forest gardener that now applies theories to practice in the forest garden. His work includes designing, growing, building and maintaining Turaida Forest Garden along with the help of Michelle. He is working to develop a small scale sustainable nursery with unique products. The networks of wheelbarrow pathways allow a steady flow for travel. By 'dancing with a wheelbarrow' to music, he hopes to include a new fitness regime to forest gardening. His mother Lolita was born in Riga, Latvia in 1940. His background in biochemistry has helped with soil chemistry and its structure.
Before starting Turaida, they were involved in landscaping projects in city home gardens across Ontario. Turaida was developed with an eclectic approach. There are so many contributing influences it wouldn't be fair to try and list. However, special mention goes to Robert Hart, Patrick Whitefield, Toby Hemenway, David Jacke and Eric Toensmeier, Masanobu Fukuoka, Mark Shepard, Marjorie Harris, Sepp Holzer, Eliot Coleman, and Niki Jabbour for all their work.
They are indebted to the musicians, writers, professors, teachers, classmates, friends and family that have all contributed and helped them to awaken and grow over the years. This collective 'Spirit of growth' encouraged Turaida Forest Garden 'to become alive'.
MICHELLE HOLDING A MAMMOTH SUNFLOWER HEAD AT TURAIDA FOREST GARDEN IN NIAGARA SOUTH, WAINFLEET. She holds 'the sun' behind David's back (see the photo beside). In this photo, the sun stands beside her (as David does in the photo beside).
Michelle White outside their home, in front of the open air drying shed in at Turaida in Wainfleet. She is working to develop sustainable planting in the gardens.
Her background in plant physiology as a Biology major has been integral to Turaida's living ecology.
Her lifelong pursuit in the life sciences has extended into her mosaic work both in her art and in the forest garden.
Michelle creates unique glass mosaic artworks as well as watercolours and illustrations. Her glasswork blends stained glass, mosaic, and illustrative techniques into a modern hybrid art form.
Visit her online shop Niagara Glass Mosaics and Illustration to view her artwork.
David & Michelle seated together with 'the sun in their eyes' on a bench along the strand in Jurmala, Latvia on a trip to the beach in August 2013. They are indebted to the Grende family for their hospitality during their stay in Riga.
Michelle & David with the bounty from the sun at the Wainfleet Farmer's Market 2018
We are located at 31826 Highway #3, Wainfleet, Ontario.
Wainfleet is a rural township in South Niagara region. We are approximately four kilometres north of the North Shore of Lake Erie, and one kilometre south of the village of Wainfleet.
Click HERE to view us on the map.