A High Wind In Sussex

It is with trepidation that I drive to the Priory after or even, like this morning, during a gale.  Storm Katie caused havoc across Southern England and the thought of a large oak or ash lying on its side gave me an anxious twitch as I drove to work.  Carefully dodging branches and a few downed trees on the road, my real worry was seeing one of the huge oaks keeled over in the garden.

Storm Katie (3)

Relief was my first reaction on arrival.  A quick scan reassured me that no biggies were on their knees, or dunked into the ponds, but still, there were plenty of large limbs scattered about.  These few shots nicely illustrate why I avoid walking beneath large trees in gusting winds.

Storm Katie (1)

The old foot-bridge was also battered and partly collapsed.

Storm Katie (2)

I’m not having much luck with bridges at the moment.  It’s become a prominent feature of my life and, frankly, just a tad tedious.

Storm Katie (4)

The damage is more wide-spread than I’ve shown and, when the winds have died down, it will take me a whole chain-saw-day to sort out.

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I’m happy that whilst I might have lots more wood for the Priory fires, I don’t have to dismember one of the character trees I’ve grown to know and love.  Katie did some damage but she could have been far, far worse.

Transplanting Oak Trees: An Update

The Priory oaks are impressive.  Huge, ancient, gnarled, neck-craning impressive.  They were the first thing I noticed and the last I shall say good-bye to.

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September 2013

We have about twenty mature oaks; most hale, a few less so.  With an eye on the latter, and because the Priory should never be oak-less, I planted some replacements.

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When I was nowt but a lad (February 2011), I wrote about digging up and re-planting three small oak trees (see ‘Planting For The Future’).   I don’t suppose I’ve mentioned them since.

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Well, four and a half years later might be time for an update.  And the update is:  after a little initial hesitancy, they’re doing fine.   Slow growing, of course (they’re oaks!), but otherwise fine.  I wasn’t even convinced they would survive the trauma of being tugged up from their original home – a small area of woodland up on the drive .

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Toffee the Viszla on sniffing duty

For a couple of years, I watered them intermittently during very dry weather.   I put tree protectors on the trunks against rabbits; but deer – my biggest worry – haven’t touched them.  Yet.

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One of the three has done especially well.  Why, it’s almost big enough to hide behind … if not to climb.  I’d struggle to transplant it now.

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February 2011

This is the same tree when its protector was a more generous fit.  My intention was to continue an existing line of two big oaks and an enormous ash whilst avoiding an often water-filled ditch.

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July 2015

And I think I’ll achieve just that.  (The large oaks might be dead before these babies reach full height but we’ll simply ignore that inconvenient truth).

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I shouldn’t think I’ll be around in two hundred years to see my oaks grow into mighty giants.

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September 2013

But if they do, I might be allowed to gaze down over the Priory and smile, paternally.  (Assuming I’m up above.  The view from below won’t be as good).