hazel and willow, ash and horse chestnut
One of the tasks I have been busy with is coppicing, pollarding and pruning – some more competently than others. I have always used coppiced hazel rods as pea sticks and for support for runner beans – I imagine that comes from having watched, and perhaps helped, parents and grandparents carrying out this seasonal task.
So yesterday I made my sweet pea supports and planted out the sweet peas (Sarah Raven’s dark collection).
We have our own hazel which we have been coppicing over a number of years.
It’s always a challenge finding enough really long rods for the runner bean supports as I find the very best way of supporting runner beans is to create a tunnel. I’ve tried using willow but find that if you don’t take the bark off the end which goes in the ground they tend to grow and compete with the beans which kind of defeats the object.
The photo above is a couple of years ago – here we don’t plant out the beans until the end of May – but tomorrow I want to get the tunnel made so that I can plant out the peas and mangetout, which are ready in guttering, in the same beds.
I hope I have enough hazel rods….
..and also several bundles of pea sticks ready. In the guttering are Early Onward, Ezethas Krombek Blau (a purple podded pea), Robinson’s (a Heritage variety) and Norli (prolific mangetout). I will sow Greenshaft direct having treated the seed with paraffin to deter the mice from eating them.
On to willow…
Having been on a couple of willow weaving courses I have created some structures for the garden and we have planted our own willow which we are now coppicing. we have also been given a quantity of coloured willow by a local farmer (thank you Sue and Mike). Some of this we have used to plant more willows for pollards and the rest I plan to weave into fencing panels (in my spare time!)
I’ve also been weaving ash into a living ash dome.
And pruning cornus…
And tomorrow, as well and planting out the peas and sticking them and making a runner bean arch, I plan to use horse chestnut prunings to construct rose and clematis supports having been inspired yet again by a visit to Sissinghurst last week-end and been reminded of the superbly trained roses.
That is , of course, if I don’t spend the day sitting in a deck chair in the sun next to the swimming pond watching the tadpoles (if they all turn into frogs our slug problem will be sorted) and listening to the birds ( today the woodpeckers were having problems with the goshawks it would appear)…but if I can’t spare the odd half hour to indulge in that what’s the point?