April showers

A view from the Folly to Home Farm

Well actually it didn’t rain very much at all in April, it was very much needed but never materialised apart from a few short spells of drizzle; we desperately need the rain for the young trees we planted this winter.

Winching away

Most of April was set aside to finish off clearing up after Storm Doris- there were some rather large trees that had fallen onto the arable land which were making it  difficult for the tenant farmers to carry out their spraying and fertilising. Just as well we had the Igland six ton winch (boy that really saves a lot of manual work) and some of the horse chestnut tree trunks were dragged into the woods and left for the wildlife as the timber is of no commercial value, others like oak were taken back to the Woodyard.

The clear up

Tree surgery

It was also a time to finish off the rest of the tree surgery work especially the gigantic London plane trees by the lakes which apparently Capability Brown had planted. The species were formed by hybridization in the 17th century after P. orientalis and P. occidentalis had been planted in proximity to one another. It is often claimed that the hybridisation took place in Spain, but it could also have happened in Vauxhall Gardens in London where John Tradescant the Younger discovered the tree in the mid-17th century. The leaf and flower characteristics are intermediate between the two parent species, the leaf being more deeply lobed than P. occidentalis but less so than P. orientalis, and the seed balls typically two per stem (one in P. occidentalis, 3-6 in P. orientalis). The hybrid is fertile, and seedlings are occasionally found near mature trees. These trees grow to 40m high mostly but can in some circumstances grow taller, they are also very tolerant of air pollution hence why they are popular in London.

Views from the trees

At about 40m in height the trees we were up gave us some tremendous views of the parkland around the lakes, a few of the views are below.

Flowers from April

April was the month when the wild flowers started to bloom in earnest: lesser celandine, red and white dead nettles, cuckoo flowers, fritillary, cherry blossom and much more abounded around the estate.

Time to make some charcoal

With good weather there was time to have a general clear up of timber and wood, some of the wood we used for the charcoal kiln as we needed the charcoal for the estate forge. The oak timber was split asunder to make fencing posts for May’s upcoming work and some was sawn into planks to help make a number of planned bridges.

Young oak tree

Well it’s ok to fell and use oak trees but we do need to plant some more on the estate. In fact last autumn we planted about a thousand acorns from veteran oak trees in the Park. They didn’t actually do very much all winter but, as the weather warmed up, little red shoots appeared along with some delicate red leaves- absolutely amazing watching the acorns spring to life.

Easter bunny (not)

Guess the egg? Found all alone on the lake edge, I wonder if we had disturbed a thief!


About Sadeik

You may ask why "Sadeik" well it means friend in arabic. Worked in Jordan a lot doing tree surgery you see. I have worked in forestry since I left school with a two years in Telecom. Went back to forestry and tree surgery as it may not have paid as much but was far more interesting and dangerous. Spent a lot of years mountaineering, caving and canoeing too. At 29 I went to Bangor University to study Forestry and soil science then did an MSc in Water engineering all very interesting. By a quirk of fate in 1995 ended up helping sort out the woodland and park at Wimpole, funny thing was then I only intended to stay six months or so, but 18 years later I'm still here learning all the time. That's the best bit, if I wasn't able to learn something new every year I would not have stayed and as you get older you realise that the grass is not so green in the next field after all. In fact my patch is getting greener while much of the rest is getting browner.
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