Start of Spring 2018

The new season starts and work begins!

Here in Rutland the Winter was fairly harsh at the end of 2017 and the start of 2018.  We had a lot of very damp and cold weather and a week or two of fairly decent amounts of snow on a few occasions.  Also the dreaded high winds which caused a fair bit of local havoc and combined with cold snaps, this certainly managed to cause a fair amount of damage to property and more importantly plants!

I lost a small collection of JAde trees I had planted out last year with a view to trying to harden them up and encourage vigorous growth.  Sadly even the fleece protection I gave them wasn’t enough as we did have temperatures below -5, which is unusual here.

The wind, rain and the cold though made working outside on the plots bleak and unappealing, and after a mad dash at the end of 2017 with the new Rotavator I’d managed to catch up on what was a slow year due to personal reasons.

This year however…

It’s full steam ahead and progress has already been made.  The weather has just turned over the last few weeks and Spring has sprung, so it was time to crack on and carry on building the business and working hard to bring life to the land I have at my disposal!

I had a few quick sessions down on the plots, no more than an hour or two initially just to walk around and see what has developed or fallen by the wayside after an appalling year last year.  A quick tidy up here and there and some minor jobs that needed doing.  Just while waiting for the more gardening friendly weather to start.

Then the weather turned.

Pretty much on time as ever, my Fuji Cherry Tree started popping it’s adorable and stunning blossom which is usually an indicator that Spring is about to kick in.

Fuji Cherry tree in blossom

Fuji Cherry tree in blossom

The 11th, 12th and 13th of April are the first serious days of the year I managed to get stuck in and start on the huge list of things to do.  So I did!

Pressing concerns and needs.

One of the long overdue items on the list was moving a lot of the Bonsai trees I’d planted two years ago.  As they had certainly grown on far beyond my expectations.  I also wanted to start transplanting them into a more dedicated growing space I had prepared last year, so they could each have their own area and grow within it; while not crowding other trees or being crowded out by other trees.

I had initially planted the trees in a hurry due to the pressing need to get them into the ground.  I also at that time did not have as much space as I now have use of, so they were planted fairly tightly, though given their size at the time they had enough room to develop.  Now they needed more room and it was time to see what lay beneath the topsoil and was going on below.

As you will be able to see from the Gallery of photographs below, it was a busy few days and a lot of stock needed moving and in a hurry as the weather was about to turn much warmer and the trees were already starting to wake up.

Dank and soggy as the weather and ground was, it was actually ideal tree transplanting weather.  The ground had finally softened after lots of continuous frost and the cool dampness was good for taking trees out of the ground and pruning their roots.

Many cups of coffee later and some serious hard work with a fork and spade and progress was being made!

11th of April Gallery – Day 1 moving trees and tidying up.

I was particularly impressed and pleased with the growth of several of the Larch trees and more so with the size the Japanese Pagoda trees I’d grown from seed had put on after 2 years in the ground.  These trees will all make stunning Bonsai eventually I hope.  A few of each species I am ear marking for my personal collection due to their size, shape and the rootball.  The rest will be used as project material for Bonsai Therapy or sold on to fund more trees and seeds or equipment when they have matured further.

The rest of the progress from day 1 Gallery.

As can be seen, the Winter took its toll on some areas of the plots.  Some serious tidying required and already the weeds are awake and starting to pop up.  The Spring beds are in bloom and establishing well, especially the new one I put in at the end of last year.

The new composting area and leaf mould section will be getting a good workout this year and that area still needs some serious hard work to get it set up as I want it.


12th of April Gallery – Day 2 moving trees and tidying up.

As you can see, the field I walk through to get to the plots was misty, murky, cold and very wet.

I got stuck in and again made progress, some of the trees though were very stubborn but I persevered and managed to lift them eventually.


13th of April Gallery – Day 3 moving trees and tidying up.

The last day I put in this week was getting the last of the trees up and moved, and finally managed to have all the ones that needed moving transplanted and all heavily watered to ensure they settled quickly.

Also spent time doing some tidying up and cleaning in and around the Spring beds, as well as transplanting Bluebells and Snowdrops into the Spring beds.  The flower beds are something I’m pleased with as they are slowly starting to establish and put on a nice display that has visual impact when you approach the plots.

All in all…

A very productive 3 days of hard work and effort.  Lot’s more to do and being done as the work doesn’t stop when I leave the plots, at home in the Bonsai studio the seed propagation is well underway and already I have several plants/trees/veg coming through ready for when the weather has fixed into Spring mode.

Sweetcorn in the grow tent!

Sweetcorn in the grow tent!

So a lot more to come this year and hopefully more regular than last year!

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