I enjoy working in my garden. I enjoy eating what I grow, the flowers that bloom, sitting on my deck with a cup of coffee but the most magical areas are the pieces of woodland. If I get fraught and frazzled I take a walk through the veg patch and past the soft fruit into the rough, self-seeded woodland area and then through a gap in an old hedgebank into the planted woodland which I rent from the neighbouring farm. Apart from cutting back any brambles which grow across the path those spaces require no work. They are always peaceful and quiet. Although the planted section was only put in just over 20 years ago there are some much older trees which must have been in hedges when even this very steep slope was grazed. There is something about the solidity and calmness of trees which I find settles me. I walk down to the stream where there is a small clearing and sit there watching the stream tumbling over stones and burbling its song and all the worries fall into perspective. In a few weeks time it will be carpeted with bluebells!
I like trees and woodland so much that I am planting more. The field on the opposite side of the stream from my garden is abandoned. The farmer who owns it has effectively retired but refuses to either sell up or to rent out his grazing. Ungrazed for about 12 years the grass is getting very coarse and brambles and blackthorn are creeping in from the edges. I keep pulling tiny seedling trees out of my veg beds and decided that instead of just putting them on the compost heap I would pot them up and then plant them out on the field. It wants to become a wood so I will help it! I also grew some apples from pips (you can read about that experiment here) – rather a lot of them! So they are going over there too. I have no idea whteher they will fruit, whether the fruit will be nice to eat or sour, but if they fruit at all and I don’t want the apples the birds will enjoy them.
I have also started to clear along my top, North boundary where John planted hundreds of willow cuttings. Most of them took and grew for a few years but they were left too long and most have fallen over and died. The soil is very thin so I am planting trees in pots with the bottoms cut out. That way they start in good compost but can send roots down into the stonier soil as they grow. That’s the plan anyway.
I will never see these new woods in their full glory – they are a blessing paid forward. I have so many blessins it only seems fair to ensure some for those who follow me.