Diary - 02/07
Diary - February 2007
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February 2007

We thought the winter was going to be an opportunity to start the weeding and manage the trees around the Sanctuary. In the event, the most pressing job was rewiring the summerhouse. A rabbit chewed through the electric cable underneath the verandah, leaving us with no power supply for heating or lighting since before Christmas.


Luckily Chris found some armoured cabling to replace the wire from the summerhouse to the pumphouse and took the opportunity to put in a new fusebox at both ends and new sockets and lights. It took three days of hard work, but was well worth it!


Last November I attended an archaeology seminar at Bristol University which looked at the identification of ancient woodlands. We know that the oak trees at the Sanctuary must be at least 400 to 500 years old and the crab apple and hawthorn trees in what must have been a hedge line have probably seen at least one century if not more judging by their gnarled trunks.


Woodland can be considered ancient if it has been growing uninterrupted for four hundred years. Short-leaf lime is one of the indicator species, so I thought it would be good if we had some growing in the sanctuary. The spindle tree is another ancient variety, being used to make drop spindles for spinning since ancient times, but it has fallen out of favour these days.


We cleared a space on the other side of the stream by removing a dead hawthorn tree and an unproductive elder from the hedge line. A willow tree grown from a stake pushed into the ground had its single branch removed to help it grow more new shoots. There is also a walnut sapling growing in the triangle. We planted the two spindle trees along the hedge line and the two short leaf lime trees were given plenty of space. The trees can’t be harvested for their flowers until they are three or four years old and can’t be coppiced or there won’t be any flowers! I love lime flower tea and use the tincture in my blood pressure “medicine”, so I’m really looking forward to being able to pick my own!


The other new trees are a damson grown on pixie stock which has joined the line of other fruit trees and a peach. The latter has been planted in the orchard up by the bungalow so it can be protected during the worst winter weather. I want to be able to make some peach-leaf tincture, which I’ve heard good things about.



We planted a new dyers greenweed by the iron railings and moved the witchazel tree from the beside the top herb bed to the clay of the pond. It loves its new location and looks positively vibrant for the first time since its arrival five years ago!

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