Snow problem; vegetable patch preparation!

Snow problem; vegetable patch preparation!

The first snow forecast of winter resulted in an early gardening start as I had to remove the small gauge netting from the roof of my vegetable cage to prevent the frame collapsing under the weight of the white stuff.

Dawn on a very frosty morning in Staffordshire found me unclipping the netting from the sides and then rolling it back.  It is a very large cage and it took two of us almost an hour to remove the netting.   I keep it in the greenhouse over winter and the winter sprouts and other greens are protected from the pigeons and pheasant by a two-inch square net roof.

I was glad to see a heavy frost as my leek crop is being damaged by the unseasonal warm weather and they are still growing and splitting.  I hope the cold will help them recover.

Graham Paskett

IT’S NATIONAL TREE WEEK SO…

IT’S NATIONAL TREE WEEK SO…

One of my aims this week is to complete the planting of my almost complete collection of native British trees in my Staffordshire garden.

There are 32 native British trees of which I have 14 already growing in my garden.  In 2017 I bought from Hillier 12 of the missing 18 and decided to pot them on to grow to a larger size and plant out now.   The first three, the Goat Willow (Salix caprea). The Crack Willow (Salix fragilis) and the Bay Willow (Salix pentandra) have already been planted in a very damp area of the garden.

So, to mark National Tree Week, the other nine will be going in before Saturday.  They are:

  • Bird Cherry (Prunus padus)
  • Rowan Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia)
  • Downy Birch (Betula pubescens)
  • Aspen (Populus tremula)
  • Wild or Gean Sherry (Prunus avium)
  • White Willow (Salix alba)
  • Field Maple (Acer campestre)
  • Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
  • Hazel (Corylus avellane)

We have got enough space for them but the ground is still pretty dry and I don’t want to have to spend December watering them.  So I shall be doing my own version of the rain dance!

The six missing trees are the Small Leaved Lime, Wych Elm, Sessile Oak, Ash, Black Poplar and the Midland Hawthorne.  If anyone know where I can obtain any of these – do please let me know via email grahampaskett.paskett.co.uk . It is terribly important to grow native British trees because they are an important genetic link to our history and the natural hosts to all wildlife and insects.

The challenge I am facing is trying to find labels that will identify these trees – including the ones already growing.  I really would like something with the Union Flag on it but, as yet, have failed to identify something that will last the life-time of the tree and be attractive.  It will also be interesting to find out whether the willows already planted actually help to dry out the land in which they now live.

Graham Paskett