Sprucing up the orchard for inspection!

We had a wonderful turnout today for the orchard gardening.  Here are some of the helpers (not all present at the same time)

Mark and his van brought over two van loads of tree chippings, creating the large mulching pile that will be used over the next few months. The wonderful helpers from the Shah Satnam Ji force brought another 12 barrow loads of the chippings from a remote meadow about 500m away and helped to start spreading it on the newly de-weeded beds around the benches. They also removed 13 common Milkpea which had appeared there and grown to monumental proportions. Although not unattractive, they simply overwhelmed everything else and were removed.

Painstakingly slow weeding using a garden fork exposed clear soil between the ornamental grasses and flowers we did want to keep. The  edge of the bed was strimmed with battery powered one, until the juice ran out.  A more powerful petrol version is still needed! About 25 new rootballs of grasses were then planted in the holes left by the milkpea, including Stipea gigantea. Ros even uprooted bundles of entirely inter-twinned flowers and weed, eased out the latter from the rootball and then replanted. Now that was a labour of love! Gradually four flowerbeds emerged from the original green deluge that the rains had brought on, and the mulching started. To be honest, despite invigorating cups of tea and biscuits, we were all nicely exhausted after about 2½ hours and after a lot of watering to bed everything down, we retreated for lunch.

Volunteers have now planted the following in the raised beds: broad beans, tomatoes, courgettes, spring onions and a couple I do not recognise. Poppies and cornflowers that had ingratiated themselves into the beds are being left to add colour. And the beds were given an exceedingly generous watering to keep them going. As were the beds around the benches, thanks to the amazing ¾” hose we have attached to high pressure water.

Mark packed up all his wheelbarrows and spades and went off to sample the beers in his favourite pub in Yorkshire. The Shah Satnam Ji force promised to come again, bringing as they usually do a splendid indian Chai tee, and perhaps next time the samosas they are famed for.

Next time (yes, date to be announced) we will have a go at the rose border, which has been encroached by grasses, the geranium border likewise and the four flower meadows with the blue flax where the thistles are taking over. And those fences surrounding these meadows will finally be removed! Watch this space!

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