Let’s Go Outside: My own willow bank

27 Feb

_DSC0162I appears I’m never happier than when I’m splashing up and down the stream, getting my hands and nails filthy with clay mud and planting yet more trees. Which is what I’ve been doing for the past two hours.

Last year we planted over 100 trees and this year, I’m at it again. I just can’t help myself. So far this year I’ve planted ten silver birch, four wild cherry (with yet more cherry to go in), twenty cherry laurels (I know, not a tree but still it’s planting) and, today, twenty willows. Ten were common osier and ten were scarlet willow.

The wet winter inspired me to create a willow bank, by the side of the stream. The stream is actually the drainage from the farmer’s field behind us. Usually it only occurs for a couple of months of the year, the rest of the time it is just a dry ditch. It is hard to maintain, let the nettles and thistles grow and they quickly take over. So I want to create a bank that will eventually look after itself, providing welcome food for wildlife and look attractive – but on my terms.

I am also finally creating a pilot of a wildflower meadow. I’m writing about that on Sarah Raven’s blog, Garlic & Sapphire.

As I walk around I see the beginnings of life in the young trees, impatient to burst out. At the moment many of them look little more than sticks in the ground. I bought them as saplings as a) they are cheaper – especially on a large scale planting exercise such as we’re doing and b) they will, hopefully, establish better.

As ever, I cannot wait to see how it’ll all look in the spring months to come.



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