By Bridget at Caves Folly Nurseries
As the autumn leaves turn golden, Bridget at Caves Folly Nursery in Colwall is appreciating the importance of our trees.
Autumn is in full swing, the trees are changing colour and nature is storing up its resources for the winter ahead.Herefordshire has so many beautiful woodlands full of native trees that we are spoiled for choice. Planting trees always gives me great pleasure. I feel as though I am leaving a legacy to future generations to enjoy as well as providing a habitat for a multitude of creatures.
About fifteen years ago I was asked to plant a parkland for a large house. This was an amazing opportunity to shape a huge landscape (I felt like Capability Bridget!) with Lime avenues, Mulberry trees, Oaks, Birch, Maples, Chestnut and Beech to mention only a few. After several years I drove past the area and realised the magnitude of the landscape I had created!
We can all do this on a smaller scale by planting a native hedge instead of putting up panel fencing, by planting fruit trees, small ornamental trees and by creating habitats that not only enhance our garden but link it up with the wider landscape. Planting trees and hedges can help connect wildlife habitats from gardens to the surrounding countryside by creating wildlife corridors for migrating species.
If you do not have a garden you can help plant trees by volunteering with local wildlife, woodland and conservation groups. There are also free and reduced-cost tree saplings being given out by the Woodland Trust as part of its ‘Woodland Creation’ manifesto, while the Royal Horticultural Society are organising a dig together day in November to encourage community tree planting.
Garden Jobs for Autumn
Plant Perennials, bulbs and winter bedding. The soil is perfect for planting at this time of year with plant roots enjoying the moist warm soil.
Begin clearing spent plants, dead or dying leaves, and have a general tidy in the garden to prevent pest and diseases overwintering. Leave seed heads for the birds. Lift and harvest main crop potatoes. Plant sets of onions. Plant trees,hedging and shrubs. If your soil is heavy, dig it over to allow time for weathering over winter to break it down and improve its structure.
This wonderful poem by John Keats says it all!
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.