Thursday, 5 May 2011

The new wood is ready for thinning

 We had tree surgeons at the farm last week, cousins of a friend of mine. Walking with them through the property has been a revelation. We learned that trees go through about 10 stages in their lives and that they change shape each time and shed some branches during the transitional phases. We learned how trees were killed by various fungus attacks but thankfully were able to sprout new trunks from the base that will be healthy. And they also told us that our new wood should be thinned in the denser areas. Following a general rule of 2m distance but without being too strict about it and choosing the strongest or most beautiful to keep. So thinning is what we did.

Above are the before photographs which are slightly misleading as the leaves were just beginning to sprout when we started the thinning. Below are the after, not that you would notice which I guess is a good sign...

We were also told to start shaping trees to be pollards. We have decided to select a circular zone in the middle to do this. It will give the impression of a columned room with closely spaced and shortish columns of about two metre height in the middle of a forest with wide spacings and high canopy. It will read as a lower cylindrical shape of a higher density.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Wild flowers

 This end of April 2011 has been incredible for wild flowers. Following the heat, plants that normally bloom over a month in May have bloomed a few weeks early and together. Spotted orchid, bluebells, stellars, various water plants in the river including the irises.

The meadows have been particularly colourful around the house where the builders had disturbed the soil and unintentionally mixed the top soil with the substrate below.  This has reduced the soil fertility thus strong plants such as large grass and nettles have not appeared and left more space for the weaker flowers. Wild carnations, poppies, daisies, campions, geraniums and light grasses have colonised. What a wonderful sight.

Busy bees

One of the big excitement this year is the discovery of a hive that has established in the trunk of this oak.

They have chosen an existing hole about 3 metre high which is hidden behind ivy (in the middle of the picture below).

The number of bees in the meadow has substantially increased. We were surprised in the previous years that there weren't so many considering all the wild flowers we have throughout the year. We are not sure when the hive arrived but think it must have been last year.

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