Saturday, February 24, 2018

Messy tree? Change what's under it.

At the farm where I manage the extensive formal garden, I decided to plant a row of windbreak trees and shrubs to stop the easterly wind depositing half of Oakford into the garden every summer. 

By the way, for those losing sleep over the garden being an extravagance, rest easy. The owner plans to build a function centre on the site and the garden will eventually become true public open space ;)

Anyway, back to the trees. I told the owner I wanted to use deciduous trees in order to continue getting winter sun into the garden.

"Like what?" she said.

"Like Planes or Liquidambars" I said. "I want BIG, and these two babies are both big AND tough".

Her face fell.

"What's wrong?" I said.

"Hubby grew up in Dalkeith and has sworn he'll never plant another one of those messy trees."

It's a common reaction. I get it all the time. But here's the thing: we call the leaf litter "mess" simply because it's not where we want it. A bit like the term "weed". Any plant that isn't where you want it is, to you, a "weed".

I explained to her that this would be different. The ground under the trees would be mulched, not grass as it is at present, so the trees would in fact be "self-mulching". How good is that? Plus they would be constantly improving the sandy Oakford soil, allowing us to grow all manner of tasty things underneath. All this FOR FREE!!

She got it.

Now to tackle hubby... ;)

This is my own front yard. It used to be wall to wall grass and I wanted extensive tree cover. Obviously not compatible. Solution: no grass. And a much more liveable space. Cha ching. 

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