Sunday, June 12, 2011

Coppice Work - hazel plantation? Wisteria - GCSE's and A levels

Taking my mind off motherly worries for two taking pretty major exams busy considering a happy new wisteria - rescued from some nursery graveyard - now recovered next to comfrey bin and needing to be encouraged to scramble up the external stairs to the cottages.  A coppice worker I met at RHS Malvern came over to see if there is anything suitable in our little woodland - we seen to be missing a mid-storey but have some lovely oaks and ashes with dog roses and wild honeysuckles scrambling up them.  Fabulous habitats - it was also good to see so many english bluebells with bursting seed pods, that was after fighting our way through the nettles - I love the idea of using our wood rather than buying in anything.  Hopefully the planned arch will be suitable gnarled and twisted too - it will fit in really well in the Taylor household!

Joking apart it will be a gorgeous addition to the lovely productive vegetable area.  It's all a bit crammed in but that definitely means less weeds.  The pink fir potatoes, chard, pak choi, salad leaves, dill and radishes have been a great success. The experimental white japanese radish is not so good - lots and lots of leaf and radish long and skinnier than a pencil and not at all tasty - so that will be off the seed list next year.  The main problem is that the vigorous leaves are covering the row of very juvenile carrots - I guess they confuse the carrot fly but I think a trim with a scissors is imminent.  I bought some elephant garlic bulbs to trial planting late - now is the time as we finally achieved an 8 mm of rain yesterday.  No-one would believe how frustrating it is living in a rain shadow - you can almost touch the black rain clouds - just as you dash to recover dry washing or tools the clouds part around the valleys - we are try but just up the road is receiving a soaking - a great geography lesson.
I might drop a photo in of the L shaped veg patch - tricky to get a good shot as it is all interplanted with a Falstaff apple tree and an unknown variety (good excuse to drop into the Cider Museum and look at the Herefordshire pomona and see if I can identify it in the autumn) and a newly planted greengage on a pixy rootstock so it should be smallish.  The other side of the "L" has masses of potatoes - three varieties, a three year old cherry tree - now protected from the birds, an overladen white currant and a quince, medlar and mulberry tree - yes I know - planted too close but oh the blossom and the smell.  I'm working on the idea of a boosey hedge around it all, so far just the elder is planted but I'll try to get some sloes established in the autumn - prickly but again lovely early blossom for the bees.  Speaking of which we were treated to a wooden file full of honeycomb last night - what a delicious chew - very very sweet as it was the apple blossom honey, pity no guests to share it with at breakfast at present - it will not last long! Thanks to Peter and Marion Guthrie our amazing beekeepers for that.