The snow and rain this spring have led to the cancellation of a higher than usual number of work parties but we have soldiered on as best we can. With the late spring warmth, it has been a case of trying to keep up with all the lush growth!
The Annexe has been “cleaned up” by removing the brambles and nettles that had started to take over and the logs have been moved, either by restacking along the sides or by creating new habitat piles outside the periphery. This will permit regular mowing, initially to control the invasive plants and to keep the space open for planting more conifers in the autumn.
The Woodland Garden has received its spring tidy up, with new woodland flowers planted on the mound and the installation of a log bench.
For a number of years, we have had a Juniper Mound on the slopes of the summerhouse lookout. The junipers have now spread in a pleasing manner to knit together and provide ground cover. This has encouraged us to extend the Mound and some 20 new junipers were planted this spring.
Construction of the small pond above the Leat fell behind schedule last year and as a result of the hard winter, we have re-dug the hole, making it deeper, so that it shouldn’t freeze entirely during cold weather.
We anticipate wildlife will soon find its way there; the leat nearby already contains a large number of newts and insect larvae. Recently, the underlay and pond liner were laid and the pond was filled with water pumped up from the stream that runs along the bottom of the Pinetum. The final step is to set the flagstones that will surround the lip. In case you were wondering, we shall be incorporating a log as an escape route for mammals and amphibians.
How High Is That Tree?
Edward was busy last month because on Sunday 20th May, he held a masterclass on the many different ways the height of a tree can be determined. He then explained methods of measuring the diameter of a tree and by combining this with a height measurement, how foresters can work out the volume of usable timber in a given trunk.
Indoors, we covered 10 height measurement techniques, ranging from a laser (yes, understandable), to any old stick (mm, OK) to a bucket of water (what, really?) Then we went outside to practice and test the accuracy of these techniques by measuring the (known) height of the main building and finally walked down to the Pinetum to try some of the techniques on real trees.
This was a very enjoyable day, full of insights and hands on practice. We hope to offer the masterclass again in the autumn. Do sign up for it, if you can.