Friday, 30 August 2013


It's the time of year to take semi-ripe cuttings of perennials, so yesterday, with the help of a fosterling, I took a number of pots of lavender, box, willow, dogwood ('Midwinter Fire'), Cornelian cherry, and a yellow-flowered herbaceous perennial from Jenny's garden the name of which constantly eludes me. They were all treated with rooting hormone (apart from the willows), and are in warmed propagators to give them some warmth and humidity. Before that, then I painted half of the window frames on the front of the house, and Liz weeded, as well as painting the trough planter for the goji berries.

We spent most of today on the hillside, which has been strimmed again. It might need doing once more this autumn, but that might not happen. Having done so, we went around and painted the trees with an anti-deer concoction of chilli powder in oil. Hopefully that will help keep them away: they've browsed the leaves from one of the tall shoots on one of the Victoria plums. While going round, I used a GPS app on my phone to take a reading of each tree's location, as we don't actually have a plan of which tree is where. I'm not sure it's worked perfectly, but it provides some idea.

Location of the Fruit & Ornamental Trees in the Orchard ( Ian 2013)
I'm going to work on plotting it with labels, too.

I also measured the length of the putative apple walk we're thinking of building in the 'top right' (left in the plan above) corner, which an avenue of trees leads you towards, and which takes you up into the first clearing. It looks like it'll be about 24' long: as we're planning trees 6' apart (probably with imitation 'trunks' intercalated), in an arch 8' across; each tree can then be espalier trained 3' each side. That makes for five trees up each side, so we need to start planning varieties -- and digging two planting trenches.

Finally, as we went round, I've done a bit of work training the primary laterals on the fruit trees which are tall enough, so that they're more, well, lateral. For example, most of the plums have reached a height where their leader shoot was cut, which promotes several new shoots to break into growth at the tip (about 6' tall). These will be the primary framework of lateral branches, which will ideally be reasonably horizontal (for many reasons, not least that this makes a larger crotch angle between trunk and branch, which is much stronger, mechanically). However, they start life really vertical, and need to be tied down, which I've done with guy twines.

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