Wednesday, March 09, 2016

The End of the Beginnning for The Hedge; and, Aegithalos caudatus
It was almost dark when I left the allotment last night, after 6pm. As I was having a final look round, a long tailed tit flew into the bedraggled old privet bush which stands by the gate, and looked at me long and hard. This cheered me up no end. Back in the old days of the original Pig Sty Avenue in Jarrow, we had a pair nesting in a bramble at the end of the plot where it backed onto a stream, tributary of the River Don. One of my several reasons for wanting to incorporate gorse into the hedge is to encourage these lovely wee birds into the plot. So now at least I know they are to be spotted in Riddrie.

Of course, it'll be 3 years at least before anything in the hedge is mature enough to provide a nesting site for anything, particularly Aegithalos caudatus which likes a nest hidden in dense and jaggy growth. But I've made a start. Last night I finished replanting the soft fruit bushes, which I think are mostly red- and blackcurrants, with a few goose- and raspberries, plus a handful of other hedge trees I was given by The Bee Lady last autumn, (she said they were hawthorn, but I remember thinking they didn't look like hawthorn; we shall see). That's 55 plants, about 10% of The Hedge as planned.

I was pretty ruthless, replanting only those specimens which had signs of vitality, wee buds mostly. Or I'd pull at the roots, and any plants whose roots were dry and snapped off easily would go to the Last Chance Saloon, the big woodpile, (nearly 6ft high).  That will be fuel for my stove next winter, by which time I'll have fixed up the potting shed and will be able to sow stuff in trays nice and early with the stove on low overnight.
The Woodpile on a frosty afternoon last December
The Woodpile's gotten bigger since December. I need to move it out of the road, too. Where it is now will be the SE bed in a few weeks - legumes, probably. I'm going to pile it all up again in the very far SE corner. Anything there which puts growth on will go into the hedge, and knowing soft fruit it will almost certainly root. I had intended to chop it all down into stove sized pieces, but it's better as it is in a slowly decomposing tangle for the bio-diversity.

Oh yeah, and speaking of which, I'm going to mark the borders between beds with the cherry trees' logs, and probably sprinkle clover and poppy seeds all around them. One part of the cherry tree, I'm going to leave in the ground. There's an old coat amongst the rubbish, and a worker's hard-hat. I'm going to fashion these into a scarecrow, probably a couple of DVD discs as big reflecting eyes. The cherry tree will start new growth, so it should all get pretty funky.

Khalas. I've a submission to re-submit.