So, we pre-dug the trench, refilled it with stoneless soil, and covered it with weed membrane. The plants arrived on Friday (the perfect day of the week for them to get to us), and we've spent most of the daylight this weekend planting them out. About 170 of them now form the formal hedge up the left of the orchard. These are planted into crosses cut in the weed membrane, having been dipped in mycorrhizal fungi suspension. It's a random mix of myrobalan plums, hazel, crabapples, and purple beech. This should give a good combination of spring blossom, autumn fruit and foliage, and winter cover; good for us, and good for wildlife. We've planted them at 25cm spacing, and I'll top them in late winter, to encourage a dense lower section.
A further 80-odd have been planted along the less-formal boundary in the clearing above. We used all the plums in the lower hedge, so this should be able to get a bit taller, and the higher proportion of beech means it'll keep more leaves over winter. We want this to be more of a screen, so that the clearing feels protected and secluded.
Lastly, there were twenty 'Midwinter Fire' dogwoods in the delivery, seventeen of which we planted in a long drift in the birch clearing. When grown, they should guide you up into the birch stand, and form a backdrop to it. They look a lot like sticks, at the moment, though. We'll have to be sure to keep the bracken down over the next year, to stop them being overgrown, but that should be manageable.
There's still a bundle of bare-root plants that are heeled in to the vegetable garden, ready to plant as a hedge-edge along the back of the birch clearing. Fortunately, having planted the bulk (300 or so) of the plants, the rest could be heeled in until later. There was also a Parrotia persica (Persian ironwood) in the delivery, which is going near the woodshelter; but that's containerized, and will wait. The last part of the consignment was a 'Golden Hornet' crabapple, which is destined for the centre of the games lawn: that's also heeled in for now. There's not much urgency with that: it'll be happy heeled in until February, I expect.