After many hours of discussion and pouring through catalogues to select the right species of tree we have now finally finished planting what is going to become the woods at the bottom of the garden.
As someone who works with wood I am very conscious of the impact and environmental value of wood. As a workshop I consume a lot of wood, although I like to think we make maximum use of every piece, and more importantly every offcut and waste piece. The good stuff gets turned into charcoal which we then use to cook with, the rotten stuff is used for fuel for the bread oven or hot tub, the sawdust depending upon which wood we have been working with is often used for food smoking.
However for sometime we have been talking about planting some trees in a damp grassy piece of land at the bottom of the garden, which gets waterlogged in the winter, partly as a way of draining the land, partly to act as a privacy barrier, and partly because we like trees, and it gives us an opportunity to plant useful trees, ones that can be used in the workshop.
We started with a large quantity of Hazel and sweet chestnut trees, not for the nuts as the squirrels always get there first, but as a coppice crop, which when established can be felled to provide fuel and wood. I am hoping to build new workshop this year and have been working on a design for wood fired central heating which has got to be the height of luxury in any workshop, so will need a ready free supply of fuel. To this I added Purple Ozier or willow perfect for basket making. I have dabbled with basket making in the past and really fancy growing my own and the waterlogged ground is ideal for willow.
Slightly more of a fantasy choice was Red Oak. Now oak is always going to be an good choice but this particular variety has a bark which is used in the Natural Leather Tanning industry, and I do use a lot of leather. To date I have never considered tanning my own but I was in conversation with someone else the other day and the subject came up. As they say never say never it might happen, but at least I will have the bark ready. My understanding is you then mix it with a few gallons of urine so we might just settle for enjoying the tree.
Whilst we are waiting for it all to grow we have planted Nordsman Fir in the gaps ideal Christmas trees. The previous owner planted a few and its become a family tradition to go and cut down one from the garden, so we need to replace a few. Finally at the sides we added a few bushes, Blackthorn for us for sloe gin, and snowberries for the birds in winter . In all over 140 trees . Now we just sit back and wait for it all to grow.