Monday, 28 March 2011
Tree Planting (OK "stick" planting!)...
On first arrival Orkney seems treeless but there are quite a few trees and even ancient woodland. You just need to know where to look as they hunker down in valleys and other sheltered spots. Some are very hardy and cling to cliff edges too.
Anyway today I did my bit for bringing some more trees into the landscape with a planting day in my field behind the house. My friend, Jenny, who is project officer for the Orkney Woodland Project, came over to help plant, along with another friend, Fiona. Fortunately, given the task and the poor weather, we were also aided and abetted by my neighbours, Sandra, and her young children, Becky, Katie and James. Another neighbour, Arthur, helped prepare the ground prior to planting by spraying with "roundup" weedkiller, and strimming some of the old grass. He had arrived earlier today too and kindly lent his super-Strimmer, some stakes, and sharpened spades. So we were all set for a busy afternoon.....
It doesn't look much in the photos, but in a few years time there should be a nice cluster of birch, rowan, ash, willow, and my pride - an Aspen! Aspens are rare in Orkney, and when planted are noted on a grid to be followed up in years to come. Hopefully my solitary Aspen will grow strong (they are very robust trees) and throw out suckers and eventually there will be a small grove of Aspens!
The corner of the field is quite close to the shore, but all these trees are of known provenance and are of Orkney stock so are robust versions of their species. In addition we mulch matted them to help protect them from being overgrown, and create a "micro-climate" for them. No tree guards were needed as there are no rabbits on the island. So.... I look forward to watching my wee patch of "sticks" grow!
The first tree planted
The working party
Trying to cut up the mulch matting (plastic) in the wind was a challenge
It's a very tiring activity for a wee boy.... a snooze among the willows is called for
The tired workers (I just "supervised" and provided tea and chocolate...). Well done everyone!