An Engineering Project

10 January 2019

The weather so far, this year in the East Neuk of Fife has been good for work in the garden a bit cold and frosty at times, but fortunately the frosts have been light and have not penetrated the soil to any depth. This has allowed us to make a good start on our tree planting programme.

We have completed planting of the individual parkland specimens around the policies, which turned out to be more of an engineering project as on average it took us about 15 minutes to plant the trees and 45 minutes to assemble and install the steel protection cages which was not easy with freezing cold hands.

Next to be planted up are the little woodland areas and roundels these are all in fenced off areas to protect them from the livestock, we just have to make sure the rabbits can’t chew them by using additional spiral tree guards. These areas are mostly made up of common native woodland trees, in a couple of areas near the Dreel Burn we have added some Willows and Poplars. To complete the planting, we will be adding the lower canopy or under storey of the woodlands with smaller bushes and trees such as Holly, Hazel, Hawthorn, Wild Privet etc. Let’s just hope that the weather continues to be kind to us, and we can complete the job without any long hold ups.

Before we started the tree planting, we had an exciting little Landscaping project to do which finished off our contribution to the refurbishment of the West Lodge. On the opposite of the road to the cottage there is an area of woodland on a small hill or bank, on the top perimeter of this rise there are nice views out towards Balcormo and Kellie Law. We have levelled out an area in a clearing there ready to grass seeded in the spring where you can sit and admire the view in a secluded quiet area. A grass path winds its way up from opposite the Lodge to the levelled area.

In the previous autumn we had removed some Hybrid Rhododendrons from around the West Lodge for two reasons, firstly some of them could have been potentially obscuring site lines for road users, but also on that side of our drive the soils were slightly alkaline, and consequentially the plants looked rather unwell. We dug them up and potted them into some ericaceous compost and after a few months they were looking a nice healthy green colour again.

At the time we originally lifted the Rhododendrons, I had done several soil tests in the vicinity only to discovered that on the opposite side of the drive the soil on the small hill was very clearly of a much sandier nature and sequentially acidic. So, a good home for the now healthy Rhododendrons was to re- plant them around the outside of our levelled terrace and along the sides of our winding woodland pathway. In about 10 years’ time it should look a real picture I can’t wait to see it.

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