Winter tree planting part two

It does look at though I am creating a casper the friendly ghost nativity scene down on the lower terraces.

But I had to fleece the trees!

One week of a proper winter cold snap had me wondering whether I had done the right thing.

But bare root trees need to go somewhere, and I was so ready to put them in the final planting position.

Where am I up to?

Did I tell you I drove down to the Pepinière with my printed list in my quivering-with-excitement hands? I even cleaned the back of the station wagon in anticipation.

Now I think there is no point going mad with a plant order if you aren’t going to be daring and throw in things you have never tried before. Or dared. Leycesteria formosa? Who on earth knows how that will do? Himalayan Honeysuckle. Or Pheasant Berry. How could one resist?

(A noxious invasive species in Australia and New Zealand. Oops. Well, luckily it will probably expire here from cold / drought / heat / neglect.)

And the roses and the amelanchier will be Christmas gifts…

Except I didn’t pick up the whole order.

Not all the bare root trees were ready for lifting. (Curse the mild autumn.) So I will have to go back mid January for the rest. And there was I worrying I wouldn’t fit the whole order in the car.

I did have some of the lovely almonds to plant in this first order. So that was great.

Can I call it an almond grove yet? I now have four almonds, a crab apple and a transplanted apple of mysterious variety until / if it fruits.

Nope. Way too pretentious. I’m starting to sound like Lucia in the wonderful Mapp and Lucia novels who orders an almond grove to prettify her adopted town of Rye. (If you are looking for marvellous winter reading, you can’t beat the acerbic series set in England in the 1930s.)

And I don’t even know if I can call this the autumn garden. Definitely not! It’s only three trees.

Who knows, they might even grow tall enough in the next decade to cover the sight of the shed.

I really want some autumn colour that isn’t russet orange and yellow. And the two crab apples (Malus Red Sentinel and Neville Copeman) should put on a display. I had to look it up. Pommier d’ornement. We do actually add the tiny crab apples from other trees on the farm to our apple juice when there are enough fruit to press. Makes a good tart addition to the crop.

And to fulfil a dream at the back of the three ghosts – a Liquidambar.

I have a beautiful landscape from my dear friend Sarah Wieben (Instagram sarahjwieben or her website which also gives me a reminder of what is possible in such a dramatic tree.

Do you have trees from your childhood that make you yearn to grow them too? For me it was a fig tree from our farm in Australia. One so mighty in girth it positively hid the chook shed and half an outbuilding. And the liquidambar that grows at Mt Irvine at the Scriveners.

An incredible red autumn display.

I have yet to collect the last of the autumn colour ‘set’ – the desert ash – Fraxinus angustifolia. But I have the planting hole ready to go and even stockpiled the mulch and the necessary fleece. And the deer proof fencing.

And you will be relieved to know there is a simple solution to the eyesore that it winter fleece.

Branches of broom (of which we have our very own invasive surfeit) which I cut and stuff into the fencing to protect the trees from the wind and the cold and reduce the aesthetic issues.

(I ran out of fleece for these almonds. All of the young plants in the potting shed had to take priority. Plus the new citrus trees.)

But I also had to add an extra layer of mulch over the soil. In milder years I’d be happy to just use my usual oak leaf carpet.

But this year in the cold it was the duvet of rabbit litter first.

And no, we don’t have rabbits. But if you have a composting loo you might find these Enormous and very cheap sacks of rabbit bedding for sale in the local garden centre do the trick.

Our huge sack was waterlogged from a flood so I decided it needed to come out of the bathroom and be put to more immediate use.

Is that too much detail?

At least I quickly covered it with leaves.

You would never notice it was there.

So tree planting part one is done. Mid January I go back down to collect the last of the trees. Pears and the ash and continus and philadelphus.

I have the fencing wire. I have the holes dug. I am keen to get on.