Winter tree planting part one

I found the tree guards! Nothing like going to bed trying to work out where I put them. And then waking up, ping, early and remembering.

Under the staging in the garden room.

I wanted to call this part one because I have found that preparing for tree planting is more time consuming and important than actual planting.

Especially in a clearing on a mountainside which is shared by wildlife.

These trees are going to be staggered across the first bank below the house. Two metres apart to create a sort of gentle windbreak for the rest of the farm.

We have much stronger windy storms now, and I have lost one cherry and one apple tree in the main orchard in the past two years. Big trees. Snapped off in storms. So I thought staggering the planting nearby will just filter some of the harsh southerly blasts.

And also just to inject a bit of interest.

This bank is Not Much Fun. It is basically a bramble and vinca and grass slope. It has to be cut back at least twice a year with a mighty blade on a very steep slope. And the base has to be mowed to stop the wretched vinca creeping.

But now it’s about to become another orchard.

To join the solitary but rather happy almond that was transplanted when we built the extension to the main farmhouse.

First up the was digging the future planting holes on a slope. Held together with rocks. And random bits of glass and broken plates.

It’s pretty good soil. So that’s a thrill.

But to try and hold back the damn weeds which I will not have time to remove this week, I buried spare roofing tiles around the perimeter of the planting holes to give me a semblance of control.

And then I raked like mad and mulched each bare earth hole (I don’t ‘do’ bare earth) with oak leaves.

Aren’t those hornbeams in the hedge glorious this year?

And just as a practice planting before the big order, I moved two trees.

When I first arrived on this farm I had very English notions of fruit trees laden with abundant crops of glory. Harvesting, windfalls, I had the whole fantasy. They were to be planted in among the chestnut trees, the crab apples, the cherries and the solitary mulberry. I wanted them dotted all over the lower terraces which served no real purpose for us as we didn’t have animals or the means to make hay.

By my reckoning the lower terrace location where I planted the trees is about 40 metres from the nearest tap. What was I thinking?

I just had a quick (hah!) look back through the Archives to try and find the names of the varieties I planted way down on the fourth terrace.

Here it is. From 7th December 2008 and the title of the blog was ‘Next Year’s Fruit Bowl’.


Apple Court Pendu Plat
Apple Blenheim Orange
Apple Winstone

I know I lost one of those three years ago. And as the two remaining trees have put on a whopping two feet of growth in a decade owing to neglect and poor soil and no watering, I decided they could come up and join the gang.

So my first planting was actually transplanting. Easy to do as they were dormant and didn’t have a massive root ball. (See neglect above.)

If they ever fruit I can finally get out the guides and see just what I have. But if not, they can just be part of the windbreak.

This is just an excuse to show you amazing shots of the incredible winter light.

And to show you what is going to come down this winter when I plant the trees.

Yes. Those manky but HUGE wild cherries are going to go.

But that’s another story. For now it is the good news of tree planting rather than chainsawing the bejeezus out of an old stand of trees.

Oh and have a look at these shots from the upper terrace where I went to ‘harvest’ fencing wire to make the tree guards. I love this time of year.