The last few mornings the cold has taken a grip on things and you can feel that winter is slowly closing in.
The baths for the geese have been frozen over and the hose pipe has been solid. Fortunately all the trees that need to be, are under plastic now. Trees that need to be dried out for winter like the Olives, cork bark oaks, Sabina's etc have been in quite a while to give me a chance to dry the pots out before the arrival of frost. It is important that these trees are not stood in water over winter. Remember it is not the pot that freezes, it is the water in the pot. The aim is to prevent the trees roots being stood in a block of ice. Remember too that it is not just Meditteranean trees that need winter protection. Some of the Japanese trees also need protection in particular Trident Maple, Japanese Yew and Japanese Black Pine as they have succulent roots. This also includes grafted White Pine as they are on Black Pine root stock.
The new big poly tunnel is a godsend and has proved to be a good move and I have decided to put up another wider style tunnel before too long. We have already taken down the old shade net area and we have a narrow 10foot poly to take down next which will allow us to put up a 18-20 feet wide poly which will be great for all the new yamadori I have coming for 2013. Also it will give me extra space to work on some special projects under controlled conditions.
With all the rain we have had this year, keeping on top of the weeds has been a nightmare. They just beat us hands down. On the sales display area alone, we sprayed 6 times with weed killer and we did not even make them wilt. The rain just washed everything away. We have areas of gravel and areas with bark chips for walking on. The bark chips are used as a mulch by some to suppress weeds. Well here it just grows weeds, and next year we definitely need to do something different to keep the place tidy. The weeds definitely kicked arse this time! Kathy spent several days on her hands and knees weeding only to see them sprouting up behind her as she moved forward through the nursery. Has anyone read "DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS"?
But me being the ever caring husband that I am, pushed the boat out and got her some new gloves and knee pads, as you do. We definitely have to do something different for next year and review what our ground cover is, as I can't keep buying knee pads and gloves!
I am really looking forward to going to Spain to visit friends next week. It will be nice to be out of the cold and wet, even though it is only for a short while. Also I am looking forward to seeing how last years batch of yamadori is doing and to reserve some trees from the selection of newly collected yamadori. Hopefully I will bring a few shohin/kifu size trees back with me, but the bulk of the new stock will arrive in the spring. So there will be some nice trees available in all sizes from around March. I will have Scots Pines, Taxus, Sabina Junipers, Poenicea Junipers, Common Junipers, Cork Bark Oaks, Portugese Oaks, Olives, Cupressus, Mugo's, Spruce, European Larch to name a few.
Then the new trees from Japan should arrive in quarantine shortly after.
I hope that this problem we are having with the Ash tree in nature does not have a knock on effect for the movement of trees. It seems the government in their wisdom, are thinking of bringing in new laws and licensing for controlling the movement of trees around the UK and in and out of Europe.