A spot of long distance gardening

chiping stack 1I can lovingly stare at this pile of sticks for ages. And from afar.  This is a project I will be obliged to launch into as soon as I get back home.


Welcome to the branch stockpile.

I have stored the chipper in the guest house now that the parking area in the east garden (outside the basement doors) is too neat for mucky work. Life is too short to have to pick teensy branches and sticks out of the neat gravel in front of the doors.

I need a power point for the electric strimmer and the one just inside the top door of the guest house works perfectly. chipping stack

It’s particularly good as I have been cutting so many branches up in the forest and only have to drag them a short distance. From the top steps of the top terrace to here is but a short stagger.

The one thing I have learned about chipping is you need a good mix.  I like to add fresh branches to the gnarly old thin oak branches. So that means chestnut.

chestnut sticks for chippingAnd the beauty of chestnut is they are such long thin and juicy sticks.  It helps me to tidy up the massive chestnut that sits just outside my potting shed door.  I just prune out the ones that are in their second year of growth. Not too fat to cause the chipper to shudder, and not too thin to make them an unworthy element of the mulch.  Harvesting the sticks of chestnut trees is a time honoured tradition on this farm.

In the old days they would wait until the pruned shoots grew to the thickness of telegraph poles or stakes, and turned them into a cash crop.  And all the while keeping the central trunk growing and producing nuts.

I find that these thin sticks serve as a sort of palate cleanser, a sorbet, after the meaty work the poor shredder has to do to turn oak into chips. wood in car

Sadly, my chipper won’t take large sticks, so I have to do a spot of triage when I deal with the mountains of sticks that result from tree felling. Here are the ‘rejects’. Too big for the machine, they go down to a pile at the end of the parking area to be turned into kindling for the fire. I happily delegate that task. I’m way too busy with the garden stuff.

I have need of many bags of the homemade mulch if I’m to have a happy winter.  I need to cover all the bare soil on the iris bank next to the barn. And once I buy the fourteen hornbeam trees and plant them; their sloping bank too will be covered and safe from pernicious weeds.

detail new wallIt will also help me keep an eye on the brambles that I am still trying to remove from this bank. The words pernicious and bramble go together like chocolate and cake. Strimming and back ache. Gardening and happiness.

Now all I need is a magic wand and get someone to do the hot, noisy and hefty chipping for me.  As if.