… to the right of the original plant, I have an unwanted satellite plant. Since I started work at the Priory, I’ve been meaning to move it. It is one of those jobs that I have never quite got round to doing. Well, let me tell you – that’s about to change. Being a Man-of-Action, I’m on the case.
To make things a little awkward the satellite is sitting in the middle of a clutch of snowdrops. But the time is nigh and my blood is up. I figure if I do the deed now the snowdrops can be saved.
The only tool to grab as I’m leaving the workshop, is the mattock. The grubbing mattock. When removing the roots of a tree or shrub, what tool are you going to use? The grubbing mattock, that’s what. But use with care. Even if you tried; even if you sat and thought and doodled, and thought, and drank tea and thought, (and doodled) you couldn’t possibly design a better tool for taking off your foot at the ankle – in one clean sweep.
To start, using secateurs, I removed the stems from the unwanted cornus.
And then, with just a couple of hefty swipes and a bit of levering, the roots were out.
The two resultant dogwood plants I shall use elsewhere. And the snowdrops I definitely have a use for. They should be moved and/or planted ‘in the green’ though I would normally do so after they had flowered. Still, in this case it couldn’t be helped; the small dogwood had to go.
I adore snowdrops. They have an immaculacy and perfection to them that is unrivalled, I think. When I lived in the village above the Priory, a neighbour (hi Ben – real name) gave me a huge trug full of unwanted, recently dug-up snowdrops. Thousands of them. A gift fit for a king. I set to planting them all over the Priory, where to my mind, there weren’t enough.
A quick re-arranging of the soil and you’d never have known that I’d been hacking away with a tool that wouldn’t have looked out of place at any battle-field from the past few millenia.
I’m very lucky, at the Priory, to have loads of space. Up behind the greenhouse are two raised beds that I built a couple of years ago. The far one is now mostly an asparagus bed and the nearer one has a mulched rhubarb, a couple of temporarily heeled-in beech trees and (now) two recently mattocked dogwoods. (You can make out the Kidney Beds in the distance). Having this holding bed is really handy and I’m tempted to build another in order to sow the seeds of delphiniums and wallflowers and lupins for example; plants that can then be transplanted out into the formal beds when they have reached the necessary age and size.
Before I go, and as a special treat, here’s another shot of my mattock.
Lovely isn’t it?