Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hedges and Fences and Gates, oh my

Our pasture is rhombus shaped, closed in on the fourth side by the barn.  Three sides are hedges, trees and overgrown shrubs.  In some places there are scraps of fence, or someone has tried some rudimentary hedge-laying, in other places it´s just weedy tree tangles, like the thickets of bay laurel.

With an eye to keeping chickens and dogs in, and to keep out some very nervy neighbors from loosing their hounds through our place on their way to hunt rabbits, we´ve been turning over the idea of enclosing with fencing.  At the very minimum, we´ll need to shut off the driveway and alongside the house at the lane.  But the property is impossible to really secure, and I´m not really interested in creating a puppy penitentiary anyway.


Last week the guy who works the pasture next door whacked off the hedge to the south using some kind of flail, so anything planted will have to be inside that line.  I like the idea of productive hedges with nuts, fruits, flowers for the bees etc.  There will need to be some filling in of gaps, and pruning back.  There are a couple of small oaks I´m thinking of pollarding.  Another ongoing project for the list.

south, pretty closed

 Anyone know of a source for small, bareroot hedging plants in Spain?  Hazelnuts, crabapples, holly, willow, etc?

Otherwse, I´ve been out gathering leaves from around the lane.  They´ll be calling me the ¨loca de las hojas¨.  We fired up the wood cookstove for the first time over the weekend.  Not bad, no heating bills from Easter to almost Thanksgiving.  The fruits are soaking in brandy to make Christmas puddings next week.

And the autumn light is like no other.



  1. I will get back to you regarding a cheap source of trees.

  2. Thank you! I´ve looked at Agroforestry, but if I order 10-15 hazels and more, it would cost a fortune. I just want some little bareroots to plant and let prosper or not.

  3. Hi Coco,

    I hear you about the cost of bare rooted fruit trees - and the costs for them have increased with every single year here. Your place is looking beautiful and it is a credit to you. As to cheap fruit trees, I'd suggest growing fruit trees from seed. You won't see many germinate at your time of year (unless you trick them into starting inside the house after a bit of chilling of the seed), but most fruit trees seeds will germinate if given the right conditions. And don't be put off either as they are very hardy to drought, pests, disease etc. from my experience and you never know whether you may develop a mortgage buster apple tree - you just never know. The granny smith apple tree which is famous for the large bright green apples which are a staple down under was a chance seedling in Mrs Smith's garden in Sydney a very long time ago. Actually the genetic diversity of our fruit trees has declined massively over the past few centuries.

    Cheers. Chris

  4. I am dithering on planting fruit trees. For one, we don´t eat much fruit, except me, for breakfast. Also, I haven´t really decided where to put them, though I´m inclining toward an area near the south hedge as long as they´re dwarfish. And, I´d like to use the southwest wall of the barn to espallier some apricots, nectarines, peaches etc., that need more warmth, but until the roof is replaced there´s not much sense planting there. I´d like to start with a soft fruit cage, but again, don´t know where to put it. The pasture is shaded on the north and west, and the area that gets the most sun is probably where I´d expand the veg patch when the time comes. I really don´t want to be moving trees around once they´re planted, so planning is key. My inclination right now is to prune, put in some fence posts, string woven wire and then plant new stuff in front of the fencing. I think. :)

    There´s a nursery close to La Coruña that specializes in regional, heritage varieties, but it´s supposed to be a bit hard to find and we haven´t gotten around to it yet.