Another weekend and we have now planted about half the number of trees we had planned to plant in Betty’s Wood. We could not have done this without the army of volunteers who have turned up in the most inclement of weather to help make a huge difference.
The wind did its utmost to blow us away, along with the trees, bags, canes, tree-guards and everything else at the weekend and threatened to change the landscape by redistributing everything into the canal. Not what we wanted at all, and only averted by staking everything down to the ground.
Despite the best efforts of the weather, we got all our trees in by lunchtime on Sunday, and also managed to plant some of the willow clones that we had prepared for the wetter area at the lower end of the field.
Today was the most beautiful day. Sunshine, no wind, no frost, some real warmth in the sun. In the woods, we had the usual stream of blue, great, coal and willow tits to our feeders, but other things are happening too. The blue tits are already seeking out the nest boxes that we cleaned out last week. The great spotted woodpeckers are drumming. The fieldfares are gathering for their migration north. The buzzards are chasing away last year’s chick, who is still trying to cadge food from its parents. The first tiny shoots of bluebells are peeking through the soil, and our naturalised daffodils are making very good progress. One solitary ladybird was seen by our ponds. Spring has not come (we don’t want it to yet – not until the trees are all planted), but it is thinking about arriving soon.
I took a walk along to Pooley mound and from the top of the mound I could see our wood, and the field into which we are planting Betty’s Wood. The photo was taken with my phone, not my proper camera, but there is now a little forest of canes and tree guards, spreading down the hill towards the canal, as well as the fence and hedge clearly visible from the top. People are stopping on the canal towpath and commenting on what we are doing, and looking at the developments.
The landscape is changing and people are noticing! The canal, too, is taking on the feel of spring – just a few tiny shoots in the canal and our ponds of sedges, reeds and yellow flag iris. Pairs of mallard were floating around on the water that recently was frozen for nearly a month. No sign of the kingfisher, but you just feel it ought to be there.
Today was a perfect day: it showed how we, by our efforts and that of our team of helpers, are changing the landscape, but it also showed how the landscape is starting to change once more with the seasons. And of course the changes that come through nature are much more startling and powerful than those that man can achieve – but we are doing our little bit, and that little bit can now be seen from far and wide.
Bring on another weekend, and another 800 trees!