Sunday 10 September 2006

Willows revisited

The basket willow coppice project has been running for a while now. The planting was done back in early spring in a rather slapdash fashion because it was so cold and the ground so hard and lumpy. Pest protection wasn’t carried out in a fully effective manner either and the net result after six months is that we have lost about a third of the cuttings inserted. However, most of the others look as if they will survive with a little care and of these the most successful varieties have been the recommended basket willows

I will take some small cuttings this week and keep them as named references as the original labelling is fading, then in the late autumn cut back the existing plants to the ground for their first year of coppicing and use the material gathered to replace the missing stock.

In the spring I also planted a weeping willow in the hollow near the stream behind the house. This has done extremely well and must have made several feet of growth this year. This tree will be left to its own devices, I’m hoping it will grow tall and majestic and shade out the nettles and brambles currently inhabiting the ground there.

The eucalyptus are mostly doing well, even though they were started from seed this year they are nearly all a metre high and bushy. They’re quite pretty too but are surrounded by a veritable sea of fierce stinging nettles so can’t be seen without extraordinary danger. Other trees planted throughout the year have had a mixed fate. Two silver birch have been swamped by brambles and I may not be able to rescue them, the oak trees planted over winter from Ouville have nearly all died or have been reduced to tiny shoots from the base, hopeful for the future but not the four foot saplings I transplanted, the willow cuttings in the hedge gap have mostly rooted but have also suffered die back and the newly planted hornbeam and field maple further along that hedge are grimly hanging on. One or two other small trees seem to staying alive but haven’t made much growth this year.

There are still many trees in pots waiting for their chance, another month and the time will be perfect for planting them out if I can break holes in the unyielding earth for them.

That fish – I saw him briefly today – can be seen in the photo below.

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