Autumn 2006

I will beg no forgiveness for giving a weather report again. What a mix of weathers! Ever since last winter there has been either a drought or a deluge and, it seems, little in between. The effect on the first two fields of tree planting has been minimal. However, in the last field (“Big Field”) some plants have had a real challenge. Particularly affected have been Limes, Dogwood, Rowan, Guelder Rose, Scots Pine and Larch. Either they died early or dropped their leaves to conserve moisture. It will not be until next summer that it will be known whether they have actually died. Even if they all die there will be sufficient survivors because of the overplanted numbers designed to cover this eventuality. So I live in hope.

The ponds, unsurprisingly, have also been affected. At all times they have all had some water in them, but the scrapes dried out early on in the year – but then they are meant to except in unusually wet summers. There was a particular problem of green weed clogging most of them so Matt, bless him, was sent in in his dry suit to scrape out as much as he could. While doing so he came across tiny fish. I refused to introduce fish into the new ponds because they would eat frog, toad and newt spawn. But there they are. I believe they are sticklebacks but I was in a hurry to get them back into the water so did not have long for identification. Where did they come from? Will they now be permanent in these ponds? Will they actually affect the amphibian population, which really hasn’t yet had long enough to establish anyway?

Even now there are some late wild flowers. Ox eye daisies just go on and on! Some mallow flowers are still evident. Oh, and did I mention my friends the thistles? Despite three sprayings this year they are still there saying, “We dare you to get rid of us!”