Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Have treess, must plant!

Although we sit on approx 4 acres of land the majority of it is taken over by horrible spiny Gorse bush which is pretty much impossible to kill off. When we first moved here we spent the first year pulling all the Gorse up with the digger, piling it and setting fire to it - we figured that would be enough to kill it. What we didn't realise was every piece of root that got left behind would simply re shoot and run riot again within 2 years, not only that but we discovered our soil is peat based and the fires we started would re ignite up to 2 years later with just the slightest gust of wind.
Since then Mr TG has strimmed some of the land each year to keep the Gorse at bay but most of the land has just been left to do what it does. We have a lovely burn that runs through the edge of our land and is surrounded by native deciduous trees (a sight that is very rare here in caithness as most trees are Firs), unfortunately we cannot access the burn without extremely padded clothing because when Gorse prickles stab you they huuuurt, plus they leave a mark that can easily go septic.

See those spines - impossible to walk through this stuff, it forms thick dense hedges  and grows as tall as me (5ft 4) BUT the flowers are beautiful, they smell gorgeous and make the loveliest popping sound when the pods explode (although any joy is marred by the knowledge that the popping will be followed by millions of seeds setting themselves)

This year Mr TG decided he was going to make a start on clearing the land. He wanted it turned over and levelled so that we could mow it and eventually kill off the Gorse. To cut a long story short, due to the Gorse and Marsh grass no local farmer is willing to risk their machinery on it and the one company who does have the machinery won't do it because we helped a neighbour who had a dispute with them. This means Mr TG had to set about it himself - which involved strimming the area, raking it, rotovating an area several times, removing boulders and then levelling it. Bless him, I didn't think he'd be able to do it but all spring he worked on one area when he had the time between contracts and that little area now looks great. He had to stop for the summer partly because we have other more demanding jobs to do and partly because the weeds were growing back quicker than he had time to clear them so the next area will now be started on in Autumn.
His progress so far though looks great

The area to the right hand side is pretty much what the rest of the land looks like except it's covered in Gorse also. He has to go further up the way too, right up to our boundary at the house at the top.
Anyway the idea is to have land that is safe for the dogs to pelt across as currently it is full of deep digger rutts and holes so when Mr TG asked if he could have my Mountain ash trees that I had grown from seed I had assumed he would plant them around the edge or maybe in 2 or 3 clumps. Nope Mr TG decided to dot them all over the lovely green area (about 12 of them) and then pinched my garden markers I made to protect the trees! We now have a lovely green lawn that is a nuisance to mow because we have to go around so many tiny trees  and the dogs can't pelt across it because there's too many trees on it.
I'm looking forward to more of the land being completed but I think we're going to have to invest in a ride on lawn mower, just the new area takes at least an hour to mow already (it's a larger area that it looks in the photo), but I'm also keeping it tree free!


  1. One good thing about gorse is birds love to nest in it. Can't blame them - must be like building a nest in a fortress. The flowers are supposed to smell of coconut aren't they?

  2. Yes Sue they do smell of coconut, kind of always reminds me of holidays cos it smells like sun tan cream :)
    The birds certainly do like nesting in it,we have sedge warblers in it this year. We're trying to keep them in lines as we plough the land so that we can retain them as hedges where we want them :)

  3. That was a massive effort! It's amazing to think of fires just starting up again years later - I had to read it twice to make sure I had read it correctly. Scary.

    1. Lol Lyn, we think it's due to the peat content of the soil that got dragged up with the gorse bush. We thought the fires were out but then we'd get a wind and smoke would be swirling all over again. Kinda was scary lol


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