Friday, 9 November 2012


Reading these entries, one might realise that I've been buying a lot of trees recently. A pair of walnuts, and twenty-five Scot's pines: and a large order of other trees that won't arrive until next month (more on that later).

And this without making clear where they're all  going to fit, given that although the garden is large, two dozen pines do take up a fair bit of space.

I haven't wanted to commit this to paper, as it were, until it was all finalized, which, pleasingly, it was, last night, with a Land Registry confirmation of title. A couple of months ago, our long-resident neighbour, Bob, put his house on the market. We'd known it was coming, as he'd mentioned planning to move in January, and had been waiting to find his next house before putting the Barn on the market. Since moving here, we've had in mind that we'd like to own the land in front of the house, as it's underutilized (it's scrubby moorland, really, with some trees), and very prominent from the front windows.

Fortunately, Bob was amenable to a sale, and so in mid-September, we purchased half of the field (the half directly outside the house), with Peter and Sara purchasing the other half (directly behind them). Each half is about 1.4 acres: ours is roughly equally split between very rough grazing, trees with some clearings, and gorse and heather with a few holly trees. When I say 'rough', I really mean it. It's boggy, tussocky, and full of patches of poor grass, brambles, quick and black thorn, and gorse. With a lot of love, I hope to turn it into an orchard, probably with orvine lawnmowers.

The trees, once the clearings are reclaimed from the bracken, should be lovely to visit, and we intend to add a few trees to the mix: sweet chestnuts and willow, for example, which have a lot of utility value. The top patch is much too steep for most uses, but I hope one day to erect a few beehives, and collect honey from the heather and gorse.

The view from the top is splendid, and I'll take a photo when I can.

So: plenty of space for all those trees, as well as, hopefully, a greenhouse and a summerhouse hidden in the trees. The woodland clearings are ideal for turning into little sanctuaries, and with some spring bulbs and dogwood will be lovely in the early part of the year. A proper orchard, with plenty of fruit trees, will get us that bit closer to keeping ourselves self-sufficient in fruit.

Now we just need to clear the weeds, and start to make the land properly usable again.

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