Funny old weather we are having. Within any 24 hour period we can have temperatures as low as minus seven, snow or sleet, warm sunshine and a thaw, and then back again. It is against this somewhat random backdrop that we are attempting to tidy and prepare the garden for the season ahead. The snowdrops seem to think its warm enough but I’m not sure..

Our first willow crop is now ready and we’ve begun to harvest it. We weren’t terribly good about keeping the planted willow cuttings weed free, so its a little patchy, but about 90% of the planting has established.

The plan is to plant all the cut willow back in, primarily as willow fences along the paths, and to establish the start of some structures such as arches. To avoid a repeat of weedageddon, we’ve cleared all the strips of grass, put weed suppressant down (old plastic sheet), and covered with woodchip to hold it all in place (the other thing that damaged the willow cuttings last year was the plastic sheet blowing up and covering them).

We’re also diligently covering any gaps in the sheeting around the main willow plantation for the same reason. The willow that got a good start is at least twice the size of the stuff that was overcome by grass, which despite the low temperatures seems to be growing already. The challenge this winter is to double the amount of planted willow that we have, and then once the fences are established, to crop the tops of them.  Something along the lines of this marvellous willow hedge at Felin Uchaf in North Wales..



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