Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Christmas Trees

We spent most of yesterday getting some plants into the new bed in front of the copse. To start with, we've put the two dogwoods we already had (Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' and 'Spaethii') near the bottom apex of the bed (near the fruit cages); three new witch-hazels (Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena'  and 'Magic Fire, and H. mollis) went further up, on the copse side, and we moved the weigela (W. florida 'Variegata') and the caryopteris (C. x clandonensis 'Worcester Gold') in as well. A group of heathers (white darleyensis: 'Silberschmelze', I think), and two groups of hellebores also found homes.

Then we went to town with bulbs. 180 daffodills (a mix, including jonquillas and narcissi, 'Golden Ducat', 'Pacific Coast', 'White Lion' and 'Minnow'), 100 chionodoxa, and 100 crocus ('Ard Schenk', 'Sieberi Firefly', 'Barr's Purple' and 'Romance').

Having done that, we weeded the bed in front of the dining room window, and planted a further fifty mixed daffodils, fifty Dutch irises, three allium 'Hair' and three A. caeruleum, and 32 of each of A. sphaerocephalon and ostrowskanium.

Today, we'd happily weeded the vegetable beds, and had a pleasing hour planting pots of tulips (loads of them, as you'd expect: 30 mixed Rembrandt; 25 mixed Kaufmanniana; 60 mixed Triumph) and lifting the gladioli (not done well this year, and small bulbs), when a delivery man dropped off twenty five Christmas trees.

Not cut, or very large: twenty-five 2 year old, bare-rooted, Scot's pines (Pinus sylvestris). We're planning on finding a spot for these, and cutting one or two down each year as our Christmas tree (this is, evidently, a longish-term plan)—but we hadn't expected them to arrive until, say, December. Or preferably January. And we didn't have anywhere to put them.

Undeterred, we immediately set to clearing the bed around the Victoria plum, to the side of the future pond. This bed we planned to create in the spring, running round three sides of the pond, and encompassing the fruit trees, and the bed alongside the septic tank. A quick debate about shape and size, and I started lifting turves. I got past the plum, as far as the spot we're planning for a bench, figured that was enough space, and started de-stoning the ground. This part of the operation probably took as long as lifting the turf, and we excavated probably two barrows of stone. Beyond the plum, I met my match, in the shape of a huge stone probably two feet long and one wide, with an unknown depth. I gave up there, and we planted the pines on the other side of the plum. They'll over-winter there, and we'll aim to find permanent sites for them while they're still dormant, and get them there by March.

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