The Wild Wood, chicken pickets and things to do now

Well I’m back! I know I didn’t tell you I was going but it is best if I just slip away and come back when needed. I am trying to cultivate an air of mystery around my gardening, a bit like the Lone Ranger but with secateurs. Anyway I have been at our English house dealing with our garden there and inculcating culture into our idiot son; unfortunately he is inclined to beer and football. But now that I am back it has taken me a while to assess the damage caused by Cruella (my wife) and her marauding chickens. Needless to say there have been tears, mainly mine. Anyway on with the gardening as there are a few jobs you need to get completed before the warm weather gets here.

27th February 2023. Things I have been doing lately:

Cutting back the Wild Wood. Regular readers of this blog will know that part of my garden is dedicated to my Wild Wood area. I try to leave this area as natural as possible without letting it become overgrown or unmanageable. To achieve this I have a local contractor come in once a year to strim and cut back with the aim of achieving the feel and look of a wood land glade.

Once again this has been a tremendous success as I instruct the contractor where to cut back and how much to strim. This has allowed a number of wild flowers to come through and thrive including lovely wild orchids which are spreading throughout the wood. The photos below show various areas of the wood and conclude with the lovely orchids. Click on each photo for a larger view.

When I showed Cruella (my wife) the newly tidied wood she immediately got excited and declared it would make a perfect chicken sanctuary. I told her this would be impossible as they would eat the orchids. She immediately flew into a rage and accused me of having no heart and threatened to contact David Attenborough and other chicken experts. I suggested perhaps Colonel Sanders may have a view, this did not end well. The result is that my front door is under a continuous picket by her girls who immediately rush at me every time I try to go out. I am reduced to using the back door. Even then the whole garden echoes to Cruella and her girls chanting in Chickenese “…what do we want, a chicken sanctuary, when do we want it, now”. The photo below shows the militants in action.

At night Cruella lights a little brazier for them and they stop any visitors coming to see me. I call them the non-flying pickets.

Removing the last of the orange crop. We have been juicing oranges since early December and now it is time to remove the last of the crop. The reason for removing the crop is twofold. Firstly, the blossom will be coming soon and you don’t want the tree to waste its energy on last years crop (the fruit will not get any bigger). Secondly, you will need to prune and open up the tree before the blossom arrives.

In addition to removing the remnants of the old crop it is time to begin feeding your trees ready for the blossom. I feed in two ways, for about a month I feed weekly with a liquid feed which gives a good burst of energy to the tree. Then from about the end of March I add a long lasting granular feed that should keep the tree going for about 3-5 months. The photos below show the last of the old crop and finally my liquid feed. Click on each photo for a larger view.

Time to prune palm trees. Lots of people ask me when is the right time to prune palms. And the answer is right now whilst the sap is not rising and the Palm Weevil is not flying. If you prune later in the year there is a danger of pathogens and disease getting into weeping cuts and that the cuts will in turn attract the Palm Weevil. Where possible I would use professional Palmistas for large trees as anything over about 10 foot can be dangerous.  In addition a professional Palmistas will notice any problems with your trees and will be able to advise accordingly.

Don’t they look lovely. Sorry about the lawn, I blame the chickens

Cutting out Sago Palm Pups. Many people in Spain have Sago Palms, and they can be a lovely exotic addition to any garden. Sago Palms are very slow growing and for this reason they are exceptionally expensive to buy. But you don’t need to buy one because in most cases your Sago Palm will produce nice little pups (plantlets) from their base. The photo below shows one of my sago palms with a few pups emerging from the base.

It is about like assisting in a birth, but obviously with different tools

To remove the pups you will need a trowel, an axe and a sharp spade. The first thing to do is to dig around the pup to expose what looks like a wooden coconut still attached to the mother plant. Once you have exposed the pup then using your axe cut sharply down between the pup and its mother plant. This will probably take 2 or 3 whacks, but will still not completely separate the pup. Using your spade work between the pup and its mother to lever the pup out. Usually this will come out with a sudden pop, so be careful you don’t overbalance.

The photos below show the process in action followed by a successfully delivered pup. Finally, you can see that from this one plant I have retrieved 10 potential new plants. I now need to leave these for a week for the cut scar to heal over. I will show you how to plant them up in my next post. Click on each photo for a larger view.

I don’t know about you, but I think they take after their Mum

Author: spanishgarden

I live in both Spain and the UK and am a very keen gardener. I garden every day and enjoy sharing all the secrets that God allows us to discover in our gardens.

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