Of gales and all things mechanical

As a team, our gardeners, as I guess most gardeners up and down the country do, grit their teeth whenever they hear the word ‘gales’

Fallen Abies on Boxing Day 2013 A lot of our trees are quite old and very precious and it always causes us great pain and upset to lose one - like last year when we suffered the loss of a large Abies in the arboretum, plus some smaller and younger silver birches and conifers.

We got off lightly compared with RHS Garden Wisley who lost a good many trees over the Christmas/New Year period 2013–2014. So it is with a sigh of relief that the winds that hit us on Tuesday (21st) didn’t inflict any losses and we could all stop holding our collective breath.

Meanwhile over in the nursery between the glasshouse and the polytunnel, the footings are being dug out for a new standing out area. This will free up the existing standing out area, allowing us to build a new polytunnel to house our alpine collection stock.

A standing out area is where we house the new nursery stock on arrival if it's not tender. All hardy stock goes there to be monitored and nurtured until the appropriate planting windows occur. Visitors constantly ask us if there’s anything for us to do in the winter months: well, winter is one of our busiest times; cutting back herbaceous plants that have fallen over and gone slimy, tree pruning, planning and choosing next year's seeds to order, and so on. Tree planting takes place in the winter months too, and in our standing out area are a fine selection of acers, magnolias, camellias, bamboos and lovely dogwoods - all itching to be planted up. We will be starting our planting programme from November onwards.

The offending stone!Back at the nursery site, the chap with the digger doing the footings called us over - he’d come across a large rock right in the middle of where he was trying to dig.

It was not only in the place he was excavating; but so large it was half underneath the path leading to the polytunnel; if he’d got that out he would have left a large cavity and damaged the path. James, my Team Leader leaned in and stared for a minute - “we need a pecker for that”.

He went onto explain that a 'pecker' is a large mechanical tool attachment that would break the stone up. More words to get to grips with I thought, as I added 'pecker' in my notebook of hard landscaping ‘terms I need to know’.

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