Woodcutting

After the pond and the (now departed) deer I feel it is time to turn to show a little more of what I am trying to do at the far end of the garden.

I have explained that we have many mature trees. Some are fine deciduous specimens of oak and beech. Some are ornamental like cherry and acer. In between there are many hazels. These we are coppicing. This is what the site looks like (photos of no artistic merit – just P&S snaps). As you walk into the copse there are large stones. These would have been features in the original Japanese theme.untitled-15Beyond that we start to see hazels that we have rather tentatively started to thin out. Nothing drastic.untitled-14 Many hazel nuts are being gratefully consumed. I would imagine the mice, squirrels and Jays all say thank you.untitled-12

untitled-11 The copse is not tidy. An old fallen tree is an asset to wildlife.untitled-10 The cut sections are piled up to provide shelter for wildlife.untitled-8 Here we have taken out more to open the canopy but note how we leave the young stems to grow whilst the older, coppiced ones can flourish again in the years ahead.untitled-7 A pile of brushwood. This is an old one that we have added to a little. Wrens were using this earlier in the year. Another small log pile on the right.untitled-4 A wider shot – there is fantastic natural leaf mulch. In Spring this is all swaddled in English native bluebells. By opening up the canopy we expect more summer flowers to germinate and grow next year.untitled-3 A newer brush pile. We are going to chip a lot of this for mulch for the rest of the garden. I can hire a chipper for £80 for a day and it will take 9″ wide logs. Or pay £60 to have it taken away. No contest. I don’t want to leave it. I am learning that wild does not mean unmanaged.untitled-2

We shall open the canopy more. The pond debris next week will go onto the compost heap. I emptied, turned and refilled one bin yesterday. Very therapeutic.

I mentioned one of Monty Don’s books recently and today I am going to recommend another. Don, I have discovered, is an outspoken philosopher and social critic. His views resonate strongly with me and I find reading even a few pages of his book encourages me to go out even if only for an hour or so.

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It sounds as if I am doing a lot. In reality it is tidying up. Bringing back a little order. Others do the hard work, I hover around making encouraging grunts. At the moment I am fighting a rather aggressive chest infection. I am unregistered with the NHS as I can’t find a decent practice nearby. So I have to plod on hoping it will resolve itself. Or maybe if it gets worse I will go back to HK to see my old doctors. Pottering around the garden puts fresh air in my lungs. I felt much better for watching a drunken bee lurch around the Buddleia, stumbling, righting itself, (did I hear a soft hiccup?) refocussing and then tiptoeing gingerly along in the hope that there are no bee-police testing for too much amber nectar. Bombus lucorum, I think. Common and widespread. Just like me. And with that I close the garden update.untitled-16

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25 thoughts on “Woodcutting

  1. Try the Alma Road Surgery in Romsey. 01794 513422

    One of the Doctor’s there is a guy called Ian Keith who was at school with me. He lived in Singapore for a while. His father was a banker there.

  2. It seems like only yesterday that you were posting about the trees being cut down in the communal gardens in HK and now here you are lovingly restoring and nurturing your little corner in England-shire.

    Monty Don is a good chap and his books are always worth a read. I’ve just finished The Morville Hours by Katherine Swift. It’s an excellent book which I can highly recommend and I think that you would enjoy it too. I loved it so much that I’ve bought several copies for friends.

    Sorry to hear about the chest infection – is there an NHS drop-in centre anywhere near you? They’ve always come up trumps for me in situations like that when I’ve been I between doctors. Hope you feel better very soon.

    • Thanks Lottie. Just looked up The Morville Hours. It looks very good. Thanks for the recommendation. The man who cut down the tree in HK is in deep trouble. He has been summoned for illegal construction and faces his house being demolished. Tough on anybody but he has few friends I’m afraid.

      • That doesn’t sound good – oh dear 😦
        I’m delighted that you’ve already checked out The Morville Hours – you won’t be disappointed. It’s superbly written and rich in history. A gem.

  3. Running a brush/wood chipper is not as simple as it appears. If you’ve not done it, please ask for careful instructions. Stuffing brush and limbs into the chipper seems simple until a twisted branch whips around and hooks an arm. The chipper is way stronger than we are, and it can pull you into real danger quickly. Years ago a neighbor got hooked and only was able to yank the safety bar at the last instant. Scary. A neighbor and I rented a chipper and paid the US$ to hire an operator. We were the grunt labor hauling brush send logs, and he did the feeding etc.
    Have fun and be safe!
    Art

  4. Looks like you are well into excellent land management, Andrew. I like that you are leaving brush piles for the wildlife. We have several in our small woods.
    I eagerly await next years images of your bluebell crop.

  5. Hope the chess infection goes. To go to HK to see your old quack seems a bit extreme but lung infections can be tricky. I can only repeat warnings by others to be wary of chippers. There seems to be danger lurking everywhere. It is now recommended to wear surgical masks when handling bags of potting mix or mulch.
    I do like your garden. A kind of world to dream in or should that be a kind world to dream in?

  6. And, now I know what a coppice is, thank you!

    A friend is just recuperating from a lengthy and severe case of legionella, probably from some potting mix. This reinforces my dislike for gardening!

    I hope you recover from that chest infection; get attention soon, mate!

  7. Here’s something silly/corny to sum up my feelings about the deer.

    In memory of the deerly departed there are fond memories of Mr. Stag and his beloved doe but unfortunately they were the cause of Mr Hardacre having to shell out a lot of dough for fencing. But, each of them leave/s behind a legacy of many droppings that will now nourish the grass and trees which in turn will benefit all the other wildlife that call this property home. We, Mr. Hardacre’s followers, are sad that the deerly beloved are now gone but we shall cherish their memory.

    I’m glad that you no longer need to worry about losing prized shrubbery. The garden is coming right along and I do enjoy reading about your work toward renovation of getting it to your likening.

  8. Therapeutic is an understatement, Andrew. Cutting down, trimming back, hauling out ~ it’s all a double reference to clearing out overgrown woods and clearing out our minds, too. Jim always says he can tell when I’ve been working though things… the wooded area behind us is much less overgrown and chaotic.

  9. Get well soon!
    I have found Actifed- the purple labelled one good for chest infections, but check it out that it is okay for you and doesn’t contraindicate with any other medications etc etc You can buy it over the counter. Assuming you’ve no allergies to it, it might help..

  10. So, you found a doctor (er, quack) you like? I’m sorry you’ve caught a viral infection but relieved you’ve been to a doctor for it.
    I’m eager to see the results of all your work in the garden. Here in our preserves, we whack down buckthorn and it grows back thicker than ever. Is that coppicing? Who knew!

  11. There’s nothing a hazel likes better than being chopped about, this is but the beginning of an I-can-grow-faster-than-you-can-contain-me competition. Very healthy exercise. Hope you feel better soon. I am consumed by envy of your garden.

    • Don’t be envious Hilary. It’s quite intimidating. I have to tackle digging beds soon. I ordered 9 David Austin roses today including 3 The Herbalist. The soil is full of flint. The hazels will be fine. I’m not sure about my back.

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