About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Cultivating plants: Willow

This is another plant for the terrace, but not ground cover, obviously. When I first planted up the terrace, I included some plants lower down to help support the sides, namely willow and buddleia. Unfortunately, there was a dry spell shortly after planting, I failed to water these plants enough (at all? I can't remember) and most of the willow cuttings died.

Last summer, I noticed a couple of saplings coming up in places where I don't want trees, and my friend Gill identified them as willow.

A just-visible willow (salix something) sapling growing by the woodstore

These will do to replace some of the willow cuttings that died. I don't know what kind they are - probably goat willow (salix caprea) which doesn't root from cuttings as easily at the other species, but if I'm lucky it'll be something else, or a hybrid with something else, and will take like wildfire. I pulled up both saplings - the ground's so wet at the moment that it doesn't take much to pull up the roots of just about anything - and took a few cuttings from each. All of these - rooted pieces as well as cuttings - went around the terrace. There were six, maybe seven pieces altogether. They didn't look much when I put them in, but with luck they'll take, and then I can take more cuttings from them next year and eventually willow reinforcement holding the terrace up. It hasn't collapsed yet...

Other garden tasks this week

  • Continuing to move soil and plants to the terrace.
  • Clearing space and making a stone and tile platform for a new gas bottle, to replace the big gas tank, which is almost empty. This included moving a couple of acquilegia plants.

    Gas bottle sitting on its new platform. I have since lifted this and added more stones underneath, but it's still lower than the surrounding soil. Oh well, it'll have to do.
  • Cutting back the elder tree and taking some cuttings. Hopefully the old tree will regrow from the stump to produce flowers and fruit that I can actually reach.
  • Bramble reduction, and cutting back a hazel tree, both on the steep bit by the oak tree. There are many more brambles still to reduce.

Also harvesting this week
Bay leaves
Ground elder

Also eating
Potatoes (last of)
French beans (from dried)
Ceps (last of), birch boletes and blusher mushrooms, all from dried
Honeysuckle ale (as gravy)

Also drinking
Beech leaf wine
Oak leaf wine
Honeysuckle ale
Blackcurrant cordial

Cultivated plants challenge summary page here.

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