It looks like we may well be either replanting this garden or establishing another when our earthquaked house insurance finally gets sorted, so I’ve lost interest in planting any more. That’s a good thing because I’d plan the fruit trees differently: an orchard with a specific pasture mix and have chickens free-ranging for disease control and fertilising.
I do hope you get your insurance problems sorted very soon, Hebe. You really have my sympathy.
And thanks also for all the horticultural advice. One of my former engineering colleagues claimed enormous success with integrating chooks into a small orchard (particularly -- and surprisingly to me -- with near-elimination of codlin moth damage). I shall be very interested to hear how you get on in the fullness of time.
One high-health apple I would very much like is Monty’s Surprise.
That's on my list to plant this year (I couldn't get it locally before now).
ot being unduly parenting over the fence but I have found safety glasses quite handy to keep two eyes functional.
No worries, Ross! To quote myself from earlier:
My only (mildly) serious accident was being knocked unconscious as an adult due to safety glasses fogging up. [Touches every wooden object in sight!]. P.S. You’ll note from the videos that Bob only wears safety equipment when there is an actual hazard, e.g noise, flying particulates, etc. However we’ve lately discovered an anti-fogging spray for our safety glasses that actually works, and so I’m now instituting a policy of always getting Bob to wear safety glasses while in the workshop (just to save anyone the trouble of emailing me about this).
steven crawford wrote:
I’m hinting about wanting someone with a licence to bring blasting powder for my next birthday party plus a turducken for dinner…
I’m glad you added “for dinner” on the end of that sentence. Although “Blasting powder… plus a turducken” would certainly make for a memorable highlight to any brithday!
Hilary Stace wrote:
But truffles take about 10 years to grow and I think you need a pig to dig them up.
We have several giant pigs in the vicinity of our house (pets of various neighbours). One can imagine these pigs making short work of digging up truffles – the trick would be getting the truffles off the pig afterwards. I spoke to a chap a couple of years back who was training a chocolate labrador as a truffle-finding dog. I thought at the time that it was a bit odd that he kept specifying it was a chocolate labrador.
I’ve never had this problem with chocolate truffles, ever.
But maybe I completely misunderstood what kind of truffles the dog was being trained to find? I’d be pretty keen on a dog that could pop down to the supermarket and forage for chocolate in the confectionery section.
May I suggest an early-fruiting (second or third week of January) Red Haven peach to plant about now, and in 18 months you will start to have crops of luscious red-gold yellow-fleshed peaches that do much better than many of the later variety, especially in dry summers. It’s a good organic grower too…
Our gravenstein apple usually comes in a week before and, while not a great keeper, it’s juicy, crisp and the very first apple for the season, before any others are in the shops.
That’s extremely helpful, Hebe! As you may have noticed, I’ve only planted disease-resistant fruit trees so that I can avoid spraying (very happy to accept smaller crops in exchange for avoiding that horrible job!) I shall investigate both varieties; they sound as if they’d be ideal to minimize the winter gap in my crop production schedule. Do you think that the early crops would survive the late frosts that we tend to get on the plains?
What have you done about the understorey? We planted comfrey around all our new trees, then wafts of cow parsley with borage, nasturtiums and tagetes.
Nothing as yet, alas. We have so many pasture weeds (bindweed, thistle, yarrow, etc.) that any unmown bit of ground ends up metre-high in unwanted vegetation unless weeded weekly. At the moment I can’t afford the time for weeding and so I just mow under the trees. I’m hoping that by mowing (i.e. not allowing the weeds to seed further) I will eventually outlast the weed seeds yet to germinate in the ground. This may be complete fantasy on my part.
I wouldn’t mind daffodils and bluebells under the fruit trees either…
Rob Stowell wrote:
For truffles, my (sometimes vague and unreliable!) memory is you need a soil that leans alkaline. Our soil tested too acidic.
Ah, thanks for that Rob. I should probably investigate further out of scientific thoroughness. Truffles sound as though they'd be nice to eat; I've never actually eaten them. My plan: (1) eat truffles (2) if delicious/edible then investigate planting...
Good golly! Are you building a rockery, eyrie or fell-field?
Oh, I had a lot of holes elsewhere to fill in, believe me. Twenty-eight tonnes of stones doesn't go as far as you'd think.
Now you only need Jolisa to Gracewood the Hay-Haywood Wood!
Now at last I understand why Jolisa spurned me in the life-raft that time -- aversion to humorous hyphenation outcomes in the event of marriage...
it is truly the ‘Hay–Haywood Wood
You outdo yourself, sir!
(With apologies for the long lecture on the physics of shelter belts during your visit...)
Truffles under the oak?
Truffles will theoretically grow under the English oaks, holly oaks, and chestnuts. I’m just not sure that in practice they will actually grow in the dry & stony Dunsandel soil. The only place where there is reliable moisture is the wastewater disposal field, but – I’m guessing – there might potentially be some health issues with eating truffles grown there…
All opinions appreciated! I could for $50-ish (oh, the pain!) buy a truffle-infected holly oak, which would eventually (if it didn’t die) infect the whole coppice of holly oaks & chestnuts. But I fear that it might simply be money down the drain…
Mr Mark wrote:
Norway is superlative upon superlative – I’m always a sucker for Mountains, Fjords, Lakes and – above all – mountain road passes (the more serpentine the better).
So am I! In my experience Norway seems like the only place that packs as much scenery in as New Zealand. Other places, while spectacular, seem to take an awfully long time between scenery changes…
…….I didn’t see any hammer being used……
Don’t worry! The Ross Mason memorial hammer is used on an almost daily basis – it’s much better than my old hammer (I’d never realized before that there was such a difference between brands). The children have their own hammers.
Your walnut tree had a tough start – as have all the trees – but it's just properly fired up over the last summer. I’m planning a photo shoot next spring when it’s at its most glorious.
You are #6 on the list of trees that I’ve planted in our front garden (though it was planted first -- the list order is spatially-based). More than one tree of any listed type has been planted (the coppice has 500 chestnuts!). The heights & widths are final sizes, of course. Each tree had to have 250kg of stones removed from hole with a crowbar and then compost added. Not mentioned are the pine and holly oak and escallonia hedges…
1. Common Walnut (Juglan regia) from Avonside: height 15m; width 12m
2. Olive “Koroneiki” (Olea europaea): height 6m; width 4m
3. Flowering cherry “Kanzan” (Prunus): height 8m; width 5m
4. Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) from Leanne O’Brien: height 6m; width 6m
5. Peach “Golden type” (Prunus persica) from Leanne O’Brien: height 5m; width 4m [MARCH-APRIL]
6. Common Walnut “Rex” (Juglan regia) gifted by Ross Mason: height 15m; width 12m
7. Ungrafted “Weeping” (or “Camperdown”) Elm (Ulmus glabra “Camperdownii”) from Avonside: height 3m; width 5m.
8. English Oak (Quercus robur) grown from acorns collected by Bob and Polly, 22nd March 2012, 4pm: height 35m; width 15m. NOTE: The acorns were from Tree #8 at Riccarton Bush (this tree was donated by Governor Grey and planted in 1849).
9. Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum): height 15; width 10m
10. Apple “Acane” (Malus domestica): height 5m; width 4m [JANUARY]
11. Apple “Prima” (Malus domestica): height 5m; width 4m [FEBRUARY]
12. Apple “Rubee Red” (Malus domestica): height 5m; width 4m [MARCH]
13. Apple “Peasgood Nonesuch” (Malus domestica): height 6m; width 4m [MARCH]
14. Apple “Freyberg” (Malus domestica): height 5m; width 4m [APRIL]
15. Apple “Baujade” (Malus domestica): height 5m; width 4m [MAY]
16. Apricot “Newcastle Early” (Prunus armeniaca): height 5m; width 4m [JANUARY]
17. Apricot “Moorpark” (Prunus armeniaca): height 5m; width 4m [FEBRUARY]
18. Cherry “Stella” (prunus avium): height 2m; width 2m [DECEMBER-JANUARY]
19. Nectarine “Goldmine” (Prunus persica var. nectarina): height 5m; width 4m [FEBRUARY]
20. Pear “Williams’ Bonne Chretian” (Pyrus communis): height 6m; width 4m [FEBRUARY]
21. Pear “Doyenne du Comice” (Pyrus communis): height 6m; width 4m [FEBRUARY-MARCH]
22. Pear “Conference” (Pyrus communis): height 6m; width 4m [MARCH-APRIL]
23. Plum “Hawera” (Prunus domesticus): height 5m; width 4m [JANUARY-FEBRUARY]
24. Plum “Santa Rosa” (Prunus domesticus): height 5m; width 4m [JANUARY-FEBRUARY]
25. Plum “Omega” (Prunus domesticus): height 5m; width 4m [FEBRUARY-MARCH]
26. Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum): height 15m; width 7m
27. Rowan “Scarlet King"(Sorbus aucuparia): height 5m; width 2m
28. Peachcot (Prunus persica x Prunus armeniaca): height 4m; width 3m [MARCH]
29. Flowering Cherry “Asahi Boton” (Prunus Shimidsu-Sakura): height 4m; width 5m
30. Winter Sweet (Chimonanthus praecox) from Leanne O’Brien: height 3m; width 3m
31. Plumcot “Scarlet Sunrise” (Prunus armeniaca x Prunus domestica: height 5m; width 4m [DECEMBER]
32. Peach “April White” (Prunus persica): height 4m; width 3m [MARCH]
33. Feijoa “Gemini” (Acca sellowiana): height 2m; width 2m [APRIL]
34. Stone Pine (Pinus pinea): height 12m; width 8m
35. Feijoa “Wiki Tu” (Acca sellowiana): height 3m; width 2m [MAY]
36. Feijoa “Marion” (Acca sellowiana): height 4m; width 4m [MAY]
37. Almond “Monovale” (Prunus dulcis): height 6m; width 4m [APRIL] (planted spring 2016)
38. Pittosporum “Kohuhu/Black Matipo” (Pittosporum tenuifolium): height 6m; width 3m
39. Hazelnut “Melville de Bollwiller” (Corylus avellana): height 4m; width 3m (planted spring 2016)
40. Hazelnut “Whiteheart” (Corylus avellana): height 3m; width 3m (planted spring 2016)
41. Prune Plum “Italian” (Prunus domesticus): height 4m; width 3m [MARCH] (planted spring 2016)
42. Plum “Black Doris” (Prunus domesticus): height 5m; width 4m [JANUARY-FEBRUARY] (planted spring 2016)
43. Quince “Taihape” (Cydonia oblonga): height 4m; width 3m [FEBRUARY-MARCH] (planted spring 2016)
44. North American Paw-Paw (Asimina triloba): height 6m; width 6m (planted autumn 2016)
Ben Wilson wrote:
Great post, David. Whatever you say about seasonal gloom, it feels like summertime, when I hear you “rise up singing”, like this.
Thanks so much, Ben! I must say it's been great to have a break from building and finally have a chance to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard rather).
A Swedish acquaintance says the whole population there receives state-funded Vitamin D3 throughout winter to alleviate gloomy mood caused by lack of sunlight.
I met an American woman in Trondheim who complained about summer and its lack of medication. Apparently her doctor was very free-handed with anti-depressants during winter -- but in summer medical opinion held that she had no need of chemical cheering up.
In related information, one of my friends did a couple of midwinter months at a Norwegian university above the arctic circle. His circadian schedule completely went out the window: going to bed, waking up, and feeling hungry at completely random times.
In other news:
Thanks everyone else for your kind and very interesting messages. Bob & Polly & I are enjoying watching our way through all the video links...
Stephen Judd wrote:
Just gonna leave this here
Norwegian satire: I loved this! Very much the sense of humour that I encountered and enjoyed during my brief visit.
David, your child scares me.
Join the club! (It's kind of like the Electrocution Club but you don't have to eat as much electricity).
… it would break my heart to know they will grow up into a world that without an increasing amount of conscious effort by an increasing number of people to take care of this place, our birthplace, it is going to get very tough in their lifetime just to stay alive let alone prosper. A world where a parents love is never going to be enough, if it ever was.
You’re not wrong. That is something that I certainly worry about: what sort of a world have I brought them into. You can make yourself awfully depressed thinking about it. Though it has occurred to me that if everyone acted in a manner that would provide the best outcomes for children then practically every major problem would be dealt with. (Hardly an original observation, of course)