Tuesday, 19 April 2011

April showers?

Our outing to Sissinghurst Plant fair was successful-we sold a goodly number of plants, and met some old friends. To date, we have had 1 millimetre of rain this month, and we are worried about possible drought restrictions in the coming weeks. The grass is growing, but slowly, and hay cuts are again looking to be thin. Not using nitrogen on our grassland makes us prone to worry about a dry spring. On the other hand, it is a pleasure to be able to work outside in shirtsleeves and leather boots.
We both heard the cuckoo today (19th. April). I read somewhere that their numbers are decreasing: certainly , they were conspicuous by their silence last year. One reason given was the decline in insect numbers, both here and in Africa.In an attempt to safeguard our insects, I sent dung samples to be analysed to identify the worms afflicting our youngstock. We generally use a pour-on product for ease of application, but I want to avoid this scatter gun approach. One problem with the pour-ons is that the active ingredient can in certain circumstances harm the beetles that eat the manure.This in
turn harms bats and perhaps cuckoos.

The photo is a detail of the elderly Prunus amenogawa by the front hedge. It has lost the typical columnar shape as a result of almost dying in the dry summers of the mid seventies, but has been improved by my removal of a large sucker that was taller than the original tree.
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