It’s not that I’ve been doing nothing the last six months, it’s rather that I’ve been doing too much! Not just on the holding however, and not just plant related. Things are changing – priorities, the way plants change the landsape, family and work commitments all change the way I interact on this platform. It looks today like WP have made some more changes to the editing software that may make it a bit easier for me to edit and post at least on the PC, so I’ll give it another go and see how I get on this time. Unfortunately they also seem to have changed the scaling, I gues to suit mobile phone screens, but it leaves a lot of blank space on larger screens.
It looks like it is going to be another really good growing year for the trees, and I didn’t lose as many plants as I thought over the winter. I thought I’d lost one of my Elaeagnus in the former Dog Resistant Garden, (FDRG) but I noticed this week that one branch is showing quite a bit of growth and is in flower. The unknown citrus in the polytunnel likewise is shooting up from the base. However the kiwi is a goner, as is my larger gevuina shrub and one of the seedlings. I still have one Gevuina seedling that looks pretty happy in it’s pot, so I need to find a slightly more sheltered spot to plant it out. I’ll have to source some more seeds, since it doesn’t look like any more of the seeds are going to germinate now. I still have a few in pots, but I am not hopeful that they are still viable. The Arbutus unedo looks a bit tatty, but still seems to be alive.
I’ve done a bit of work on the front garden behind the FDRG – trying to get out the creeping grass and plant it up. There are a few currant bushes that are doing OK, some local elder cuttings ditto. I’ve also planted out the miscanthus grass seedlings and various other things that will do better in the ground that stuck in their pots. I was lucky enough to be given some dwarf jerusalem artichoke, and some chinese artichoke, so have planted these where the grass is more likely to come back – the theory is that If I have to dig to harvest then I can dig out the grass at the same time. I could probably do with doing some more mulching in this area too. We’ve had quite a warm summer, and so far the Yacon here seem to be doing better than in previous years.
In terms of new planting, I haven’t done any broadscale tree planting this year. I had intended to replant the area that I had cleared the ash from with small leaved lime, beech, italian alder, local hazel and rowan, however I didn’t really have time for much this spring due to commitments in the shop. The experimental plantings of lime, and italian alder have done very well, however the sea buckthorn has struggled. Some of the bushes are still alive, but I wouldn’t describe it as much of a pioneer. It may be that it really dislikes my acid soil, or it might be that they take longer to get established and will romp away in a year or two. All I know is I’m not about to go out and splash out on expensive cultivars if they’re not likely to make it through. I bought four hazel cultivars this year and have been disappointed that two of them seem to have died. I probably will replace them next year though, since I do think that they have a good possiblity of good yield here. Next year I am also thinking of getting some Walnuts, and maybe some japanese heartnuts.
I managed to germinate quite a few monkey puzzle tree seeds over the winter, and have started planting the seedlings into the treefield. Ideally I would leave them to get a bit bigger, but I have a poor record of keeping things alive in pots, so I think they will do better in the ground. I have marked various places around the tree field where I think the monkey puzzles could go with long sticks, and started turning the turf over to prepare planting holes. Unfortunately the spade handle finally splintered during this process, so there are still quite a few places to be prepared, and about half the seedlings still in pots. The trees in the fruit jungle really look impressive now. I have learnt from them not to plant the monkey puzzles too close to pathways since the leaf spines are really sharp!