Daily Garden: Thatched Summer House Meadow | PITH + VIGOR by Rochelle Greayer

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Daily Garden: Thatched Summer House Meadow

1/22/2010

cornfield meadow garden with thached house in distance

Today’s, garden has me longing for summer. My own garden has a small and fairly successful meadow that I created on top of the septic leach field.  It is about to get a bit bigger, or at least a bit more integrated as we are taking down about 40 trees that were heavily damaged in last year’s ice storm.  I have big changes coming, so I am finding this James Akroyd-Cooper garden and thatched roof summer house in England particularly inspiring.

cornfield meadow garden with thached house in distance

cornfield meadow garden with thached house in distance

I am cringing as I write this, as I know how it sounds — 40trees!! — I am sure that some of you are wanting to tell me I should not be making this sort of cut.  Believe me we don’t take this lightly, but there are a number of very good reasons to do this.  First, every tree that is coming down suffered considerable damage in the ice storm last year.  Many will not survive the next 5 years as they will continue to die slowly, and become increasingly susceptible to disease and infestations that will threaten those that are healthy.

interior roof of thatched house

I have concerns about the safety of a few of them. I feel spared and incredibly lucky that, so far, my home and barns have not suffered more damage from falling limbs and trees that are far too close and precariously over hanging our structures. (we have already had to replace the barn roof for damage and a falling tree would have killed someone had they been standing in my driveway a few years ago. Its furthest tips scraped the side of our garage when it unexpectedly came down). Mostly these trees are large lumber pines (>3′ caliper) but they are not old growth and are not what was here before settlers moved in. What we are dealing with is the result of a lack maintenance and thoughtful consideration of the landscape for decades.  I have taken to looking at these trees as giant, un-pullable, weeds that perhaps I could live with when they were healthy and in their natural splendor, but now that they are damaged and mangled through the ravages of nature, simply must go away.
I am not sure when the cutting crew will be arriving (next week I think) but I am looking forward to sharing pictures with you of our upheaval and transformation. I am also putting alot of thought to what new trees we will plant – I have plans to blend the edges of the surrounding forest with some attractive smaller trees and shrubs, to create a family orchard and to increase the size of the meadow.  So there you have it….40 trees coming down, I look forward to your remarks, but please don’t vilify me too much.

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  1. Jacqui says:

    The tree decision sounds good! So don’t worry. Do you have any tips on how to create a meadow like this? I’ve so far been unsuccessful with my own and ended up with a “meadow” of three-foot-tall clover and some random sunflowers somehow. This blog is wonderful, thank you.

  2. Louise says:

    hi rochelle,
    I would only recommend you have the arborist cut the straight hardwood trunks 8′ and stockpile them for future use as logs or boards. Also, Rick Darke has really good info in his books regarding establishing meadows (not easy).. Also look at permaculture/forest gardening- using plant community model to establish nut-fruit bearing, perennial vegetable/fruit layers. Sounds like a great fun prospect for the coming years.
    Look at the interesting info on utube by eric toensmeier (?) in western mass.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NamS4Ht9R4
    re: urban permaculture to get a concept of how you may want to approach your yard.
    Have fun!
    Louise

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