I’ve been taking advantage of the mild weather – with soft soil after all the rain it is the perfect time for planting. Today’s session started at first light around 07:00, was interrupted by heavy showers all through the day, and ended at 15:40 sunset. In a productive day like today I can plant about 60 trees. So far this year I have planted about 190.
The process involves the removal of 2 square foot of turf, digging, dipping the tree in a gel suspension of mycorrhizal fungi, planting, wrapping the tree with a bunny guard and then staking it with a cane. This weekend I planted alder buckthorn, lime, wild pear, paper bark birch, silver birch and jacquemontii birch.
These are the jacquemontii birch, grown from seed this year. There’s 62 in this (future) thicket.
Hopefully they will grow as fast as the silver birch which seem to do roughly 1.5m a year at Snakesbury.
This is a (future) avenue of small leaved lime.
Here’s some bird cherry, spindle and wayfaring trees.
It’s good to have these planted in December before the ground gets frozen. And although it’s more like a plastic woodland at the moment within a few years it will start to turn into a real woodland. The journey is wonderful and I’m grateful every day to be doing this.
The first frost of the year; it seems like winter is here. On the plus side, annual weeds have flopped into mush. The last leaves are falling, revealing the underlying structure of trees. Days are short, the darkness longer every night. The best place is fireside. When morning comes the frosted garden is worth getting cold for. These sedums hold the frost well.The last of the medlars, bletted, now frozen, soon to return to earth.The long borders are being shaped by the frost.Leonotis seedbeds will persist through the harshest winter weather.Gunnera is not nearly as resilient.The weekend brought more rain which made for slightly warmer soil, so I planted some bareroot trees and shrubs: 10 each of guelder rose, wayfaring tree, bird cherry, hornbeam and spindle. That brings the total to 96 planted so far this season, with another 240 to go. The new woodland is starting to take shape..
Light is precious as autumn gives way to winter. With sunshine and clear skies, today was perfect for planting trees. I’ve put some evergreens in at the top of the field. Partly to remove a future view of the new housing estate on the other side of the tracks. Partly to provide a backdrop for future deciduous trees in the field. Partly because I like conifers. There’s 24 in place now – they seem very vulnerable in the open field but I’m hoping they’ll do OK.
Pinus wallichiana, a wonderful gift, has a great church view and – in the future – beyond.
The hedgerow looking quite wild, in need of weeding – but great, strong growth this year.
Chimneys of Snakesbury and the woodland beyond.
Three newly-planted Acer rubrum; the edge of a future clearing in the future woodland.
The big cherry lost most of its leaves in a single week. Soon to sleep.
Deciduous larch catches fire in the low afternoon light.
Through the hedge.
Classic autumn hues of cotinus and beech.
Recent visits by the heron have depleted the pond but there’s still life in there.
Some very sad news this week. Poppy is no longer with us. She was the most wonderful dog. I planted this Koelreuteria paniculata in her memory. Forever in a field in England.
Autumn colour has reached its ultimate; from here on the colour falls and seeps away into the damp earth. Frosts are starting to knock the more delicate leaves back to earth too. Owl hoots echo through the dark early evenings and into the long nights.
These sedum take on an anaemic look as their colours drain away.A few red berries remain – full of sugar, an attractive autumn snack for birds.The spindle reds go beyond natural, and then they are gone.Cotinus: no smoke but lots of fire.Dogwood leaves drop to reveal their black upright stems.Rowan, red enough to take a position in the field.Prunus ‘Collingwood Ingram’ and liquidambar Pinus radiata: a cone for Christmas.Acer rubrum: nearly lost the lot now but they were incredible.Parrotia persica catching the last of the evening light in the last of its leaves.Rhus glabra ‘Laciniata’ in a delicate moment before final fall.
Soon most of the colour will have gone to ground, the leaves will be away and the low sun won’t really warm the ground. Winter is coming.
Autumn mornings are damp and heavy with dew. Mist flows downhill and gathers in areas where it is obstructed.
The sun rises late these days; usually after we have left for work so we miss how it catches the last of the mist.
The deciduous plants are hanging on to their leaves for now, slowly changing colour every day with some spectacular results.
Autumn is the perfect season for propagation. I’ve been busy splitting perennials, planting seeds and bulbs and doing cuttings. There’s also more than 200 trees to be planted in the next month or so but the shorter days catch me by surprise and it’s dark before I know it. Winter is coming and soon it will be time to rest and plan, but in the meanwhile there’s work to be done.
A seemingly endless progression of sunny hot days – quite unusual: very dry and very warm. The flocks of house sparrows are up at dawn, later to sleep at 7:00pm precisely. After that the quiet is only broken by blackbirds, the occasional overhead flight or train, and the very distant sound of the A-road.
Photography light in July is best in the evenings when it sinks behind trees and lights up the borders from the side. These are Crocosmia and Persicaria.Agastache and Deschampsia; great companions.Blues and silvers of Catananche caerulea.Golden RudbeckiaThe giant oat grass Stipa gigantiaSteel blues of sea holly Eringium aplinumAnd in the white border some white Echinacea purpurea
July is when the season starts to change, very slightly at first. Things like Asters and Japanese anemones start to appear – not flowering yet but soon. Berries, apples and pears are ripening, the few remaining cherries are a feast for wasps and brave birds. We are very happy to see the Indian Bean tree flowering more prolifically than ever.