Thought I’d use this thread a bit as a log for the progression of our slope.
It has been the first time in over 50 days that we could go back to our slope to see how the fruit trees we planted just before lockdown were doing.
I had feared the worst, given that we experienced one of the driest springs in 50 years! A lot of the trees were bare rooted plants so not being watered for over 50 days should have been stressful for the plants. The last time we were at the site all trees were still bare of leaves and the grass hadn’t started growing. Despite having expected stunted growth due to the dryness, we were happily surprised to see that -our property had transformed into a green (albeit wild) oasis! Despite being on a very sunny and steep slope with very little rain these last two months, all the trees except for my mimosa had survived. My pears, cherries and apples even showed to bear some fruit!
I think what helped was that the surrounding vegetation had grown almost a meter high, shielding the trees from the worst heat and keeping the moisture from evaporating.
We cut down some of the grass (well more a mix of wildflowers, herbs, wild tree saplings and a mix of grasses) with a scythe (our first time scything!!!), clearing a path to reach the trees and giving the trees a bit more breathing space, but without clearing the whole field, so we can keep the shielding and slope stabilising property of the plants on the spaces we are not going to use right now. It was good to create a clear walking path between the tall grass because we disturbed two snakes while scything! Of one, a completely black one, we know it was most likely a carbonazzo, which isn’t venomous. The other one was brown, but we didn’t see it’s head as it was hidden in the grass. Here’s hoping it wasn’t a viper (which does occur frequently where we live). The carbonazzo however is going to be our (albeit ugly and somewhat scary) friend, because it actively hunts venomous vipers. As long as he doesn’t pop up all too often to scare the heck out of us! I don’t like picking strawberries and grabbing a fistful of snake instead!
As for our trees:
My apricot tree unfortunately had a lot of curled leaves, with little bugs hiding in the curls. While one of my cherries was infected with lice. I removed all of the affected leaves. Let’s hope that prevents further damage by the bugs! I had planted two cherries of two different varieties to cross pollinate. One of the trees was however already bearing fruit while the other one was still only budding out! That was a bit strange though. I specifically bought these two varieties for their ability to flower in the same period to cross pollinate, which has clearly not happened now. I’m guessing the other cherrie got cross pollinate by our wild sour cherries in our garden. As for the Lapins cherrie that still hasn’t leafed out, could this be due to the fact that this cherrie was a bare rooted plant while the other was potted, this taking longer to establish roots, stunting the development of leaves?
Anyhow it was great to finally be back on our property! And it was such a pleasure to discover for the first time was growing by itself on our property.
I found dozens of elderberries, wild grapes, walnuts, hazelnuts, robinia pseudoaccacia, acorn saplings,wild tulips and wild onions and dandelion. Of these I know their use.
Next I found dozens of plants of lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis) which I believe is family of the borage family, a lot of what I believe is Ailante, some maple saplings, blatterdock, blue bugle, and a lot of blood-twig cornel. Aside from diversity, does anyone know some uses for these plants? Currently they are popping up on unfavourable places (like where I plan to put paths), so I’m debating wether they are worth investing the time transplanting them to other locations.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this!