About three years ago we started a project up in Torrington woods, situated on the hill above Lady Anne’s garden. This involved clearing four separate pockets of understory in the woodland to accommodate planting from the southern hemisphere. We created one pocket for South America, one for South Africa, another for Australia and Tasmania and the fourth for New Zealand. We then decided to add a fifth pocket, this time for southern Asian plantings.
Over the past three years we have been gradually thinning trees and undertaking canopy pruning in these planting pockets to allow more light in to the young plantings. However, it had become obvious that we were going to have to take more drastic action, so we felled 14 Lawson's cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) in the South American pocket to allow more light in to existing plantings and create more planting space. In August we removed 15 large Douglas fir, again to allow in more light and create further planting opportunities in the Australian Pocket.
We need to be very careful when we are thinning these pockets not to over-thin and take away too much of the shelter that we need to protect the young plantings and prevent wind damage to the remaining mature trees, but we must allow in enough light and moisture for the new plantings to thrive.
The Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) was felled and cut to length and will be extracted from the site to the mill by contract labour as we do not have the equipment needed for this scale of operation. The sale of the timber will cover the felling and extraction costs. The Lawson's cypress was felled by in-house labour and will be used for fire wood for the Peter Buckley learning centre boiler.
This is a very exciting project that will span many decades; although still in its infancy, I can’t help but imagine what it will look like in a 100 or so years from now. I feel very privileged to have had just a small part into bringing the project to life.
Have a look at a gallery of autumn highlights at RHS Garden Rosemoor