It is frustrating to get trees and shrubs established and then find that venison on legs have destroyed them. I am seeing a good deal of this damage and my idea is to plant generously so that I know there will be survivors. The deer graze neatly pruned rounded tops to plants, or shred off the bark with their sharp teeth, or eat off the growing shoots completely leaving a jagged end.
Bark stripped by deer
The badgers have broken into the toad hibernation refuge I built last year looking for a midnight feast. Botheration! I had forgotten about the badgers at the time I built it, and will have to now reinforce it by putting wire netting and stone blocks over the top. We have a lot of toads at the bottom of the field, and always have to turf them out of the fireplace where they hide under logs and bricks. My mission is to save them from fires, badgers, lawnmowers and the scythe blade.
The winter planting of trees and hedging has just begun for the third wave. We are just filling in a for a few new plants that were lost from last year’s big planting. On the whole the survival rate was very good last summer, largely due to Nigel diligently watering them. My approach is to thicken the boundary hedge on the north side of the meadow, keeping the main area open and sunny. It is sort of woody glade creation which is of course just what a lot of butterflies love. It enhances the richness of the ‘edge effect’ which Permaculture design emphasises.
I collect self sown seedling for transplanting or buy bare rooted plants from Buckingham Nurseries, who have a great choice and service. They even have male and female plants of sea buckthorn on the shelf. See – http://www.hedging.co.uk Or I go to Simpsons Nurseries, Fordham when I am in Cambridgeshire – http://www.simpsonsnurseries.com
My new trees
Root ball trees at Simpsons, Fordham, Cambs
I keep my girl size axe handy in the kitchen now for cutting up the winter squashes – they have such a very hard skin to break into. Lovely just roasted in cubes or made into a spicy soup with cumin and coriander.
My handy axe
Cubed squash ready to cook