Tuesday, 10 December 2013

A Bit More than a storm in a tea cup!

We are always at the mercy of the weather up here at Easter Mosshat. Gardening at 850 feet above sea level on an exposed hill does add an element of gardening on the edge. So when bad weather is forecast we batten down the hatches and keep our fingers crossed for minimal damage.

A leaning Scots Pine after the storm

Last week the winds were gusting at over 70 mph and slamming into the house like an express train, so I didn't get much sleep that night. Then there is dreading daylight and seeing what damage has been done.This time there was no structural damage to the sheds, potting shed, office or house and the roofs were all intact. The smaller cold greenhouse has lost the glass out of its door though and all the cloches on the alpine troughs were scattered across the lower garden, so they will need fixed and put back in place. A fence running from behind my potting shed to the corner of the woods and orchard had been blown over, the posts either snapped or loosened, so this is another repair job to be done. We will use either replacement fence posts or insert some angle iron down the side of existing posts to keep them upright. This fence has been up since I first came to Easter Mosshat fourteen years ago, so it hasn't done too badly. One of my winter jobs is always to check fences and tree stakes and ties and do any maintenance to reduce major damage over the year. I have been beaten to it by the weather this year.

The top of a Scots Pine lying across the woodland path

The worst damage in this storm was to a couple of our old ladies in our woodland, these Scots Pines are an important part of our windbreak and woodland, but because of their shape, type of wood and shallow root plate they are susceptible to wind damage. One has had the top blown out, just leaving a few straggly branches at the top of what remains of the trunk. The rest is lying across the path, so all twenty odd feet of it will need sawn up and moved. The other Pine although intact is leaning at an angle and snagged up in the surrounding beech trees with the root plate lifting out the ground.

Sometimes we gardeners can turn a disaster into a new planting opportunity. Unfortunately it will take a long time for all the young trees I have planted over the past fourteen years to fill the spaces left by these old ladies. The fallen wood will be cut up and piled up on log piles in the woods for wildlife hideaways. Eventually the leaning tree will be dealt with but it will require a tree surgeon with chainsaw.

The tree in the middle is now topless!

 So the final score for this storm is two trees, a fence and some cloches. It's annoying, but all part of living and gardening in an exposed location and of course it could be much worse!

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