Bare root tree planting season

I have been forced indoors.

And I am cross. And dripping on the floor.

It’s raining. And even I can’t pretend it’s just a bit of moisture in the air. Irish mist. Mizzle.

It’s perfect settling the trees and shrubs in the ground weather. Not yet freezing and easy to work the soil.

Even the weeds come up and out without much yanking.

I have buckets of clover and random annuals all over the place in piles. I have no time to be neat right now.

And try and avoid looking at that weedproof fabric that needs attending. Or that self sown Swiss chard plant that I am working on. I pick and pick and blanche and stir fry don’t have the heart to yank it up as well.

Alas despite this productive shot I must confess that most of my bare roots trees are still in a bucket of soil in the garden room. Despite my enthusiastic attempts to work out there.

Pause while I go back to the biscuit tin and have more shortbread. It’s tea and shortbread weather.

I was so lucky to find two plant nursery people at the market yesterday. (Which was very quiet and damp.)

Meaning for once I wouldn’t have to drive a great distance to hunt out ancient Ardèche apple and cherry varieties. And replenish my stock of soft fruit. I am burdened by an excess of jostaberries and yearn for more flavours.

However I no longer fancy going all the way to Aubenas to get bare root trees from the guru Frédéric Cochet because he rarely releases my order until January. And last year I only got half my order… without any explanation. And believe me, a three hour round trip is no fun in winter and going over the Col de l’Escrinet in a snow storm. Twice.

Here is Hugo from La Ferme de Merlanson. I was just coming out of the butchers after the flower delivery and spotted his modest stand.

And I swooped on him like a seagull on a chip.

I think the poor man was a bit alarmed by my gush. But we have never had bare root tree nursery people at our market before.

I swear this is what gentrification looks like.

And the other plant nursery owner from the Pépinière des Trognes at Nozières was just as cheery and helpful. And on the same street.

(And having a plant nursery at 850m of altitude means that I don’t have to worry about trees grown at namby pamby sea level.).

She had her bare root trees in the same plastic garbage bags but had them nattily disguised in burlap sacks. I would have snapped a shot of her stand too, but I was running out of time. The market was packing up and I was staggering under the weight of my purchases.

Here is what I nabbed. Apples Chantmerle, de Fer, Api rosée de Dessaigne, Cloche. A Vranja quince, two cherries a Tardive de Vignola and Bigarreau Jaune.

And in the ground already are the currants and soft fruits…

Actually I am going to have to go outside to read the labels and check the names because I can’t recall them all. It was so damp working I couldn’t write down the list as I worked. I might cheat and just look at the websites instead. and

I know I have two Boysenberries and a Tayberry. The Tayberry is planted along the fence closest to the garden room. It has fewer thorns so I hope I won’t snag myself on that particular plant as I plod past. And I might remember to water is as I go by about ten times a day.

The Boysenberries need to go along the fence at the south side of the potager beyond the soft fruit orchard… but I need to finish weeding first. And yank up that weedproof fabric I rolled up a year ago, relay it, sort the nettle infestation on the outer side of the fence… so that’s not going to be this week.

The Boysenberries have very nasty thorns so they are going to be out of the way of clothing snagging range. And eye gouging risks.

They are just heeled into the ground and mulched for now.

Here we go, here’s the list. Blackcurrant Andega, Brigrou, Noir de Bourgogne, Tenah. Some redcurrants – were they called Versailles Rouge? I planted them almost in the dark along the fence in the potager near the roses so I’ll have to go out and check.

But I need to dry off first. And have more tea. And look enviously at the cat snoozing on the daybed. I could just curl up and read a book.

Instead I will mutter the ditty ‘à la Sainte Catherine, tout bois prend racine‘ under my breath as I wait.

All my gloves and my damp trousers are hanging on a rail in front of the fire.