• Kay

An early start


I woke up at 6:30 am and continued to speed read through more Forest Gardening books (‘Food From Your Forest Garden’ and ‘Creating a Forest Garden’, both by Martin Crawford, and the ‘Food Forest’ by Darrell Frey and Michelle Czolba).

I went out to gather fruit for breakfast…a small apple, a fig, a small pear and some Chilean guava berries. I am very impressed that I still have a supply of ripe figs that are quite delicious on the Figue d’or Doree. I am now reaching the end of the larger ripe figs and I know that I will need to take off the remaining figs bigger than a pea that will not have time to ripen before winter. The little ones will hopefully grow on in the spring to provide next years earlier crop.

I then continued walking around the garden thinking. I decide that I will take out my lingon berries from the vegetable garden and transfer them to the new ‘forest garden’ bed where they will fit much better. I also think I will dig out the Jerusalem artichokes, which have completely choked their raised bed.

I then went into the orchard to contemplate the new bed. I was accompanied on my perambulation by Minxy and Bella and on reaching the bee/viewing platform, Minxy promptly disappeared down the badger hole! This was just like Pip, a few days previously, I hurried up onto the viewing platform, calling her name and was relieved to see her pop out of another hole close to the hedge on the other side of the wall. Phew!

My main reason for this morning tour was to think about trees and where they can be added in the orchard. Whilst planning the new bed I have been noticing beautiful trees that are too big for the bed, but would be wonderful to add to the orchard. They have lovely names like ‘Heart nut’ and ‘Siberian Bean’ Tree. However, it isn’t easy to find suitable places to put them because our cobnuts are so large and these trees would need plenty of space. I think gradually what will need to happen is that the cobnuts will need to be reduced in size, which will have the added benefit of us being able to have some nuts at last if the trees are small enough for nets.

I continue to the far corner of the orchard and go through the gate and behind the fence. This is probably the best place in the garden for spotting birds and two tiny birds fly straight past my face. From my vantage point I then spy a wren, who is violently scolding us, probably because Minxy is still with me, and a Robin.

I check on my little nursery of ivy plants, which I intend to grow over the caravan and I am pleased they are doing well. I then check out the area that had our last compost heap and confirm that several cardoons have self-seeded and I resolve to dig them up and transfer them to the new bed. When I come in and have got grandad up, I join Patrick in a phone call to the landscape historian who wrote our original conservation plan to discuss our latest application, which was very helpful. Then as the weather is still miserable, Aideen and I continued with our exploration of nurseries recommended for forest garden plants. When we finally exhausted all possibilities, I went back outside to pace out the area that is ready to plant. It is 40m long and mainly between 5 and 6m wide, never less than 4.5m wide and often 6 or 7m wide. I will use these rough measurements to draw a plan, and then I will know if I need more plants. When the rest of the wall is restored the bed will extend for a further 20m, although this section is more narrow and shady.

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