Post Archives tagged ‘trees’

Harvesting Willow

Posted on: July 7th, 2013 by
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Winter and very early spring is the time to harvest – and plant – willow. Here is a view of part of a willow bed, local to us, where I was today helping to cut and sort the crop…. heads of willow can be seen standing waiting in the background; “stools” that have already been cut in the foreground and a pile of willow branches – or “whips” – lying on the ground ready to be carried off the field. And yes, that is water lying on the land; willows love it, which after the weather we have had in the past few months is just as well! Willow Bed

Cutting Red Willow

Here Neil is beginning to cut some red willow which looks particularly pretty at this time of year. I am going to have some of this to plant the heart-shaped centre of my labyrinth with!

This is the sort of material needed to build structures – and labyrinths! – beautifully straight, strong and pliant branches, 8 – 12 feet long.







Cut Willow Lengths

And here we have some of the smaller, thinner lengths, and some of the red willow, all ready bundled and tied for transportation… guess what I will be doing for the next few days????

Different Coloured Willow Lengths

Tree planting – winter 2012, day 2

Posted on: July 30th, 2012 by
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Whweww what a day. Amazingly sucessful – I have somehow (don’t ask me how) managed to plant 180 (yes, one hundred and eighty!) trees today!
Also its lovely to report that some of the alders we planted last year are in catkin. Very precocious!

Catkins on Alder

Catkins on Alder

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Tree planting – winter 2012, Day 1

Posted on: July 27th, 2012 by
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Phwew what a great afternoon… Inclement weather this morning, but after lunch we started planting some of the trees we took delivery of before christmas. So: today I have planted 77 trees: a mix of native broad leaf trees and fleshing out some hedgerow with dog rose bushes. Not bad work considering I’m working in sodden clay with my limited elbow. Call it physiotherapy.

Anyway, it’s full moon tonight – thought I’d share this beautiful photo taken from the Hafod door!

Yule full moon

Yule full moon

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New Trees Delivered

Posted on: July 14th, 2012 by
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Today brings some excitement for us: We received an order of trees from British Hardwood Nurseries of over 400 trees! This represents the second phase of tree planting at Cae Non, and is exciting as it marks more branching out in the species of trees we have.

So, here’s what we got:

100.  Hazel – Corylus avellana
100.  Sycamore – Acer pseudoplantus
100.  Wych Elm – Ulmus glabra
25.    Dog Rose – Rosa canina
25.    Elder – Sambucus nigra
25.    Sessile Oak – Quercus petraea
25.    American Red Oak – Quercus Rubra *
25.    White Poplar – Populus alba

Many of these trees fruit or are useful in some way (although all trees are useful, if only in the effects of their lovelyness on the heart) – Hazel, Dog Rose and Elder give nuts and fruits – the latter two being medicinally useful. Sycamore is a great fuel wood and will probably be pollarded. The oak has a future use as structural timber, although possibly not in my lifetime. We have Wych Elm in the hope that we can establish some mature Elm trees – a rare sight since Dutch Elm Disease.

We will be planting these trees in the coming weeks over Christmas – more information and photos to follow soon!

*Not robur, the English oak

The March of the Trees

Posted on: July 5th, 2012 by
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IMG00155-20120805-1739It suddenly struck me this afternoon that I hadn’t blogged about the trees we’d planted at Cae Non.

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The cultivation and use of trees (for spiritual as well as material uses) is a key tenet of our vision for Cae Non, to this end last winter and early spring, we planted over 700 trees. So far, we have planted:

  • 200 Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
  • 200 Downy Birch (Betulina pubescens
  • 100 Wild Cherry (Prunus avium)
  • 300+ Willow (Salix spp.) – Basket and fast growing ‘super’ willow.

We have also planted an oak grove consisting of 8 sessile oaks, and a ‘feminine’ grove consisting of hazel, blackthorn, birch, crab apple, mountain ash trees.

So far, less than a year after planting, the trees are on the whole doing really, really well.

The one exception to this is the wild cherry, but these were not intentionally planted – we were given them by someone who needed to find a use for them! The most obvious success is the Alder trees – they are absolutely on fire, rocketing away… Thus far, they have grown over a foot since we planted them, and the season isn’t over yet! The Birches have mainly taken also, but are growing more slowly than the alders. 

The willow have established themselves really well, and this is great because unlike the Alders, they were propagated by cuttings of willow stem pushed into the sodden ground. The viability rate has been very good and most of them have grown 2 – 3 feet – and some were only planted as sticks in March!


Part of our Willow Plantation

But perhaps one of the biggest surprises is the success we’ve had with our Oak Trees. One, that was planted last august has reached a height of about 4 feet and has really bushed out and looks fantastic! We’ll know when we’ve succeeded when it’s possible to sit underneath it and look up at the branches way above!


It’s really amazing to see how quickly the oaks are growing – Oak has a reputation of being a slow-growing tree, but ours are sprouting shoots that are at least 6 inches long – quite a feat for trees that are 3 feet tall! They’re also lovely because the shoots are a beautiful shade of red! IMG00159-20120805-1755

Bolstered by how well these trees are doing, we are (of course) going to plant more. The plans currently are to plant at least several hundred more trees this coming winter. Discussions with experienced horticulturalists, and observing what grows well here suggests planting more of the same (mainly willow and alder) and many more oaks. It has also been suggested that we could (and will) try planting wych elms, elder, poplar, and more oaks on the drier areas.

The real victory for improving the land will be when the trees start to drop leaves and create a bed of leaf mould, which combined with greater shade will start to discourage (kill) the grass and start changing parts of the land from boggy grass-choked swamp into drier light woodland. This leaf mold will also be useful on areas of the land where there aren’t trees – it’s good compost for growing vegetables, herbs, fruit, and much more besides. Given that we can’t bring in soil due to logistical reasons and that we have about an inch of topsoil, this will be hugely important in enriching the soil, and enabling the field to be more productive in other ways.

The march of the trees has begun!

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