Winter can be a time for reflection after a busy year, but also a time for planning. The vines are dormant and will be pruned later this month. The replacement of old posts in the vineyard and tensioning of the wire trellis will follow.
Winter also allows me to turn my attention to peripheral matters, hence the story below.
About 50 years ago I planted a weeping willow in the garden. It grew into a massive tree, and provided multi-storey nesting for countless families of birds – blue tits, great tits, woodpeckers, blackbirds, song thrushes, starlings and sparrows, and it supported a wonderful fauna and flora from which they feasted.
This splendid Willow died two years ago but we didn’t fell it immediately – the giant silhouette looked dramatic against the skyline, and though departed, the tree continued to provide a perfect nesting-site and nursery for these birds including a woodpecker - photo of nest below.
Last week we decided reluctantly, as it further decayed, to cut the tree down for safety reasons. My friends Ollie and Jack, skilled Sussex-based tree surgeons [oliver@newleaftreesurgery], did a brilliant job and I photographed the tree’s poignant farewell.