Friday 7 July 2006


Today I planted the first three of twenty five eucalyptus trees destined to become the Eucalypt Grove. The space I've chosen for them was a nettle bed just adjacent to the hay barn, neglected and deemed unsuitable by M. Briche for hay because of the uneveness of the ground, the probability of machine destroying debris and the presence of so many mauvais herbes. The nettles have been hacked off short and harmless with the brush cutter and the individual trees will be planted in little islands of cleared ground about 3.5 metres from each other. It's a close spacing, the one recommended for Ash coppice which seemed like a good match for habit and speed of
growth, designed to crowd out the weeds and deprive them of light so that they will not compete with the trees. It is, however, wide enough for me to get in with the strimmer or grass cutter to keep the worst offenders at bay during the early years.

Eucalyptus is an unusual choice in an environment where otherwise we plan to encourage native plants and animals but I hope these trees will provide plenty of coppice wood to keep the fires burning. They are fast growers and do well on poor soil and this is a practical experiment, designed to increase our self sufficiency when we start cropping them in 8 or 10 years time. I'm also hoping deer won't like the taste of them, I know slugs don't.


The eucalyptus seedlings have been planted to the right in this picture, next to the hay barn.

You know you're a child of the information technology age when you find yourself designing a database to record your trees in. We have many fruit trees here, mostly cider apple but also pear, plum, cherry and walnut and we hope to add to them with mulberry, quince, medlar and others as soon as we can. The existing trees are mostly in rather bad condition but wherever possible we'd like to identify, preserve them and propagate them for historical continuity. So each tree has to have its position and characteristics recorded and notes made of the treatments given and responses exhibited. One could keep a book, but my tendency is to complicate matters by keeping it all in machine format from the outset. I suppose I should make provision for pictures as well. In order to keep the thing to a craft level I've decided to name each of the trees uniquely instead of relying on some numeric or coded identifier so if you have any suggestions for particular trees you've met here, or would just like a tree named after you, let me know.

1 comment:

Niles said...

The hay barn... actually has hay in it!

Blimey. I wouldn't have wanted to drive a tractor in there.

Is M Briche storing the hay there or is it your hay for your use?