Despite the rain and general dreariness of our Saturday, my lovely husband agreed to come and help with planting some trees at the new section. Now that it’s spring, it’s also heartening to see a little bit more growth with every passing day. The strawberries I planted a few days ago are clearly very happy with the move and have already started to show the curled push of new leaves. The boysenberries’ buds have swollen and are about to burst into leaf, and the rhubarb at least continues to survive. Only the tulips are being stubbornly slow – colored up but lingering low and not yet open.
After my conversations with the hairdresser on Tuesday, I had bought a selection of fast-growing and fairly hardy trees to provide a variegated windbreak. In the end I settled on he following group, since they have a wide mixture of color and foliage:
- Pittosporum eugeniodes – Lemonwood
- Leptospermum nitidum – Copper Sheen
- Griselinia lucida – Akapuka
- Olive Leccino
- Hoheria populnea – Purple Lacebark
The benefits of growing a mixture of trees together will be that the shorter ones fill in the gaps in the taller ones, and if one type fails, the others should take its place. Plus hopefully they will compete with one another a little less. I like the idea of a uniform hedge, but prefer the idea of a hedge that grows quicker and has a better chance of survival. To give them an extra kick, we also cleared some old expired meat out of our freezer and buried it under each tree. Blood and bone fertilizer the old fashioned way – provided the neighbor’s dogs don’t find it.
The one part of the garden that has so far really struggled is the hedge of port wine magnolias that I planted along the top of the section. These shrubs need a bit of protection from wind until they get bigger, so I’d put windbreak fabric along the fence to give them a head start. Unfortunately, the neighbor’s steers decided that the magnolias looked tasty so they’ve pushed through the fabric and pruned all the shrubs along one side down to ground level.
I’ve grown port wine magnolias along a farm fence before, and never had that problem with cattle eating them. However, these boys are obviously just curious and a bit bored… as evidenced by their inspection of Rob’s work while he fixed the windbreak fabric. I get the feeling that they won’t be thwarted for long. They are very interested in everything we are doing, and we might just be preparing them a salad.
Perhaps I should bring them a present next time. Something tastier than magnolias.