The Diary of Stonecrop Wood
Updated 3 May 2001
Click on the Year you want:
No laurel stumps needed any pruning of regrowth. Not much wind damage - a few branches down from a Maritime pine in top half of wood. Somebody has pruned over-hanging oak branches at road end of wood and overhanging beech branches have been pruned by the Gregsons' house. Green woodpecker heard. Not much to prune in top half of the wood.
Only 1 laurel stump needed pruning of 1 shoot by the Gregsons' fence. The brambles are just beginning to sprout but not much else is moving yet. The surviving patch of daffodils on the slope below the beech trees by the Gregsons' fence still do not have flowers this year even though I gave them a good feed of "VITAX Q4" last Spring! The fellow in the garden at the back with the big, noisy sit-on lawnmower has pruned his 2 laurel shrubs by the fence and I had to chuck the prunings that were on "our" side back onto his side. He saw me doing this from a distance! Green woodpecker very chatty today! I kicked some of Mr Gregson's dumped beech leaves around to spread them about a bit.
The laurel stumps by Mr Gregson's fence appear mostly dead. One tiny regrowth only! Bracken starting up! The man who owns the large garden at the back of the wood has erected 5ft wooden grotty fence. A lot of chewed rotting logs around. Who is doing the chewing?! Brambles starting to shoot. Beech tree leaf buds swelling.
We saw a fire in the direction of the wood from home. It was actually on Upton Heath. It appeared huge! John did a rubbish collection round and found 2 condoms and Kleenex tissues down by the fence at the front of the wood! Quick round of pruning at the top half of the wood footpaths. Not much to prune yet. Bracken growing - not too many to decapitate - yet! Much chewed logs around. Nothing to prune on the laurel stumps. The man with the lovely big garden at the back was riding around on his huge sit-on lawn mower disturbing the peace again!
Everything growing well. Summer pruning round. Still much to do on the paths at top end of the wood. Practically all the laurel stumps in the area of the Gregsons' fence are dead now. Marvellous! At top end of the wood, tree #245 (Scots pine) has a blue nylon rope hanging from the top - tied firmly. John counted 7 large holes in top half of the wood (badgers or foxes - more likely the latter). Who has been climbing that tree?
No regrowth on laurel stumps. Continued pruning bracken and brambles in top half of the wood. Cut 2 patches of holly in bottom half of the wood near the laurel stumps which harbour a number of little deciduous trees (oak, beech, sweet chestnut and maybe 1 field maple or it may be a sycamore). This area is now the sunniest in the wood. I spoke to the what we used to call "Yuppie" house owner at back of wood and he said that a tree surgeon had been at work on some of his trees and had climbed the Scots pine in the wood and tied the rope. He will come back and remove it sometime. I couldn't quite figure out why he had to climb the Scots pine!
A fox crossed Corfe Lodge Road and entered the wood just before me. Also I heard a green woodpecker. Only 1 laurel stump by the Gregsons' fence had any regrowth on it. Quick pruning round of top half of the wood. Not much has grown since last time because it has not rained since last time! One day we were promised rain but we only had a few patches of drizzle which did not wet anything! The rope is still attached to the Scots pine at the back of the wood.
Quick round. Weather hot! Virtually no rain since we returned from Scotland at beginning of June. Not too much growing around paths in top half of the wood. Scattered loads of bluebell seeds around lower half of wood - these collected from beech wood plantation at Rowlands Castle by the Golf course. John picked up 2 small bags of garbage.
Very quick round, no work, only 1 laurel stump with any growth on it by Mr Gregson's fence. This I pulled off. Weather still hot and sunny most of the time. Any cloud does not bring any proper rain! The rope has been removed from the Scots pine by fence at rear of the wood. Paths in top half of the wood need pruning.
Very quick round. No work. Everything very dry, especially the Rowan and Ash trees in the top half of the wood. Their leaves are shrivelling. Birch leaves showing autumn colours.
Large pruning of the paths job in top half of the wood. I also cleared brambles and bracken from any oak, beech and sweet chestnut seedlings and little trees in top half and in the area of brambles by Mr Gregson's fence in bottom half of the wood. I pulled out a small sycamore tree right at the front of the wood by the fence and I have located a possible field maple amongst the small trees near the aforementioned area of brambles. Is this from the field maple seeds I sprinkled around the wood some time ago?
Nothing much has grown since last visit. All laurel stumps by the Gregsons' fence appear dead and I was able to break off a couple of small stumps with my feet. Oak trees in the wood and elsewhere have many acorns this year including the one at the top end of the wood which I "saved" from being "throttled" by the east laurel hedge! The 3 ash trees appear less dehydrated now after a fair amount of rain since last visit. The rowan trees look better too. I noticed what appeared to be the top half of a small birch tree which was dumped in the top east corner of the wood. I have not found out where it came from. It might have been chucked over the fence from the garden behind. Something has been digging beside Mr Faulkner's fence in what we once called "the Panhandle" area near Mr Gregson's fence at the back of their garden. It also looks as though somebody has dumped some yellowish sand, although this may have slipped under Mr Faulkner's fence from his side.
A quick round of the wood picking up rubbish. Found an old squashed coca-cola can, otherwise just sweet wrappers. My standard route is: Through the gate --- left along the fence --- along the Gregsons' fence --- up the path to the upper wood --- around the perimeter track (anticlockwise) --- around the "panhandle" --- along the Gregsons' rear fence --- down the hill and east to the high laurel hedge bordering Mr Jessop's drive --- along the hedge to the front fence --- along the fence to the front gate --- then around the paths in the area of the holly --- uphill to the upper wood --- along all the paths within the perimeter track. I do this slowly in gardening gloves, secateurs in my right hand, a plastic shopping bag (for rubbish) in my left. When I've seen and been everywhere and pruned where necessary, I go home. Pruning order is: All briar suckers if I can reach them, holly shoots where they get in the way, bracken where they interfere with a path, holly where it limits head room (my head!) and deciduous branches only when it is absolutely necessary.
I spent most of the time pruning back the east laurel hedge from the middle of the wood to the bottom on Corfe Lodge Road. This needs a saw job done on it. I only had secateurs at the time as John had gone home with the rest of the tools.
Sprinkled loads of acorns around the wood.
Sprinkled loads more acorns around the wood.
Sprinkled more acorns around the top half of the wood.
Sprinkled more acorns. Dog faeces everywhere in the wood! Next collection of acorns from Corfe Lodge Road. Dog faeces often covered by white fungus.
More acorns scattered around the wood. I wonder whether the field maple seeds on trees around Corfe Hills school playing field and at front of school are viable because they are not as round and solid as sycamore seeds in the same areas.
Met Sally Glass at Stonecrop Wood at 1030 am.
Sprinkled hawthorn berries around the wood.
We mended the front fence with a nail or two and then we cut back a small bit of the laurel clump at the bottom end of wood by the Gregsons' fence. John did some rubbish collecting. After he went home I tidied up the clump and spread the pile of the Gregsons' beech leaves down through the clump. I removed the rubble I had put inside the clump in earlier times and dead bits of cut laurel and dumped them down by the front fence. Just before I left a middle-aged couple walked in the wood sans dog! They appeared interested in the wood!
Quick round to check if any trees were down after high winds last Tuesday. All was OK. A couple of Maritime pine branches were in the wood behind the Gregsons' rear fence. Probably fallen from the pine in his rear garden behind this fence.
Sprinkled lots of field maple seeds around the wood. Spread out 2 piles of beech mast and leaves by the Gregsons' fence which had been dumped. Something has been digging small holes all over the wood.
John and I went "walkies" in late afternoon and visited the wood. Very small amount of pruning. Some more dumped beech mast and leaves in area of the wood around Mr Gregson's gate in his fence. I will have to spread them around a bit.
Sprinkled more field maple seeds in top half of the wood which had not had any sprinkled in the last time. No rubbish found but it was starting to get dark. Since the recent few cooler days the leaves are now going yellow. A young beech tree behind the Gregsons' fence in top half of the wood is in the process of dying. The bark has gone in several places along the length of the trunk - about 50% of the bark has gone.
I moved the pile of cut laurel from front of the wood to bottom end of the east hedge. Chap in the garden opposite lent me an old wheelbarrow so that helped. John cut some more large stems from the laurel clump at bottom end of the wood by the Gregsons' fence and I tidied up the patch afterwards. John collected rubbish and did some pruning at top half of the wood. Heard green woodpecker before dusk. I also spread out a little the beech leaves etc. that the Gregsons' gardener had chucked over the fence in a series of piles alongside the fence. I shall have to bring our leaf rake next time.
Took lawn rake to the wood and spread out the piles of leaves that Mr Gregson's gardener had chucked over the fence. Also I raked the 2 piles of sweet chestnut leaves, that somebody had dumped outside the Gregsons' house, into the wood. This was very hard work. While I was in the wood 3 separate dog walkers came in the wood in following order:
We cut more laurel down at lower half of the wood by the Gregsons' fence and I carted the branches down the road and dumped them in the east laurel hedge. John left after collecting rubbish from around the wood and cutting some holly for Xmas decorations. I continued cutting the smaller laurel branches until dusk started to fall. Carted all these down the road as before. The "rottie" light on the house opposite gave me good lighting when it was on which was not very long being automatic of course.
Just before I left the wood I noticed lights on and music (decent) playing in the Gregsons' house. Suddenly I heard a man screeching in the Gregsons' house and a face at a window. At first I thought he was having a row with somebody but then I realised he had just noticed the much reduced laurel clump and was howling his protest! I heard the word "bitch" shouted. I beat a hasty retreat!
I suspect that some kids and teenagers may be entering the wood from the laurel infested private wood on the lower east side of Stonecrop Wood (Mr Jessop's land)
I carried on cutting down the laurel clump at front of the wood by the Gregsons'. John did a rubbish round. The laurel clump now has a much neater look although there is still some way to go before it's level with the fence. I kicked new piles of leaves dumped from the Gregsons' garden and spread them about. No dog walkers!
I "jogged" to the wood and walked round the perimeter. I noticed what appeared to be either a small pile of bricks or the start of wall building in the gap at the end of Mr Gregson's fence - although he would need to get rid of a lot of laurel before he could build a decent wall to fill the whole gap! Much chewing of dead logs in top half of the wood.
Quick pruning round. John picked up rubbish and I spread out dumped leaves and grass which were in a pile by the front end of Mr Gregson's fence. Ghastly black dog went for me while I was doing this. It was off its lead and was way ahead of its middle-aged owner. Same thing happened not long ago when I was cutting the laurel in the same area -same dog! Same owner! I asked him not to bring the dog in the wood when I am there. The commotion started "Jessie" off (The Gregsons' dog). I also heard Mr Gregson's voice so I did not cut any more of "his" laurel! The so called "wall" is just decorative!
Quick pruning round. Very cold today and small amount of Siberian-type snow lying - not a lot - not a lot! Very cold north-east wind. Not enough snow to notice much in the way of footprints although it is obvious dog walkers go around perimeter path when in top half of the wood. 3rd time we have had snow this winter. Last time was wet snow. 1st time as today - fine snow. 1 female dog walker arrived while I was in the wood.
Quick round, no work done. Nil to report.
Quick round after walk on Upton Heath. The wood cutters have been round during this week. They've cut a few branches from oak trees at the front by Corfe Lodge Road, also an oak tree has been cut down near the huge remaining half of a beech tree which was broken by 1 of the 2 "hurricanes" we had. This in lower half of the wood by east laurel hedge. A Maritime pine has been cut down in top half of the wood but the stump looked straight whereas one or two pines nearby, although not actually heaving, are leaning. One or two tall thin deciduous trees in lower half of the wood by east laurel hedge have also been cut down. In my estimation they've cut the wrong trees down, they should have concentrated on the leaning "Maritimes" and then the straight ones. Daffodils coming up - 1 has bud.
Fairly quick round. The recently cut laurel stumps by the Gregsons' fence at the front of the wood are just starting to sprout so I cut or pulled off the regrowth. "My" patch of daffodils are all blind except for 1 which has a bud! First one in 2 - 3 years I think. A little pruning in top half of the wood. Brambles are just beginning to sprout! I brought home an oak log from the tree that had been cut down recently.
John collected rubbish. I cut the regrowth from the new laurel stumps at the front of the wood by Mr Gregson's fence. The laurel stumps further in by the fence and house have all died. The cut oak tree was nearly 100 years old - says John who counted the rings! Bracken now sprouting. I did a pruning round in top half of the wood and found quite a few large laurel seedlings there - mostly near the east laurel hedge! Small ones also. Fairly easy to see them now - just before the bracken takes over. Brambles starting to sprout and leaves just coming out on deciduous trees.
There are lots of beech seedlings coming up in the lower half of the wood and loads of seedlings of (---) coming up in top half of the wood which at first glance look like laurel!
John collected rubbish - not much - and started cutting bracken and brambles on footpaths in top half of the wood. He found a most horrid fungus of some sort in top half of the wood. It was white. Also he found a slowworm in middle of the wood by the Gregsons' fence. This must have been living in one of Mr Gregson's piles of beech leaves! I cut the new growth from the recently cut down laurel stumps at front of wood by the Gregsons' fence. John left and I carried on clearing the top half footpaths of brambles and bracken. Lots of things growing! I have recently received a letter from the new Woodland Officer, Nick Collinson, in answer to my query about cutting down the oak tree fairly recently. He says that the main trunk had a spiral stress split running up it. We can't see anything wrong with it but then we are not experts!
I met the contract tree surgeons for the first time! They were cutting up the felled oak and also putting in extra fencing in the gap next to the laurel by the Gregsons' place. They also put in a post near each of the gaps at either end to stop the likes of motor cycles coming in the wood. I don't know how they are going to get another vehicle in the wood next time they have to do any heavy work. This time the workers had a 4WD vehicle towing a trailer which they filled with logs. They left a whole pile of oak logs at the front of the wood. Meantime I removed regrowth from the new laurel stumps by the Gregsons' fence at the bottom end and did a feeble prune of the outer path in the upper half of the wood - feeble because everywhere was wet! Before I had finished it had started raining again. Poured! I continued until I had finished and then started for home. John came to pick me up. He recognised my pink poncho!
John, Eleanor, Jason, Wayne, Mum and I took a walk in the wood.
John and I did a good prune of all the paths. I did more because John went home - back to one of his computers! A lot of pruning was necessary as it had not been done for a month! A strange plant is growing in the "Panhandle" by D.C. Faulkner's fence. Is it "Giant Hogweed"? It looks like a large "Cow Parsley" plant. That man who owns the lovely big garden at the back of the wood was riding his lawn-mower again. Trouble is it takes him about 2 hours to cut the whole of his lawn. There is a wood-ants' nest (heap) at the back of the wood which was not there last year!
John and I did a good prune and he also collected rubbish. Somebody from the Gregsons' establishment may have chucked dust etc. from a "Hoover" bag over the fence and somebody else has pinched all the oak logs stacked at the front of the wood by the fence! John went home after collecting some wood ants for the garden and I continued pruning the footpaths in the upper half of the wood. A helluva job! I cut lots of bracken and laid it on the paths as last time. In the top half of the wood a bird was singing. It could have been a robin but it didn't sound quite right. It sounded a bit like the bird I have often heard in the background when John has been watching the Golf at Atlanta, Georgia!
Quick round. Cut regrowth from the cut laurel by Mr Gregson's fence. Collected some dead wood for garden and John filled my yellow "Eskie" with part of the wood ants' nest and ants to put with the others in back garden!
John collected another "Eskie" full of wood ants from nest at top of the wood! The actual nest is below ground, not in the pile of crud they've collected!
John went to the wood and collected yet more wood ants! I pruned the laurel regrowth that I missed 2 days ago in the bottom end of the wood by the Gregsons' fence. This was when John and I returned to the wood later. John collected rubbish and did some pruning and I did a huge prune of the top half of the wood footpaths. I also cleared a lot of brambles and bracken from small trees in the areas of the footpaths. I haven't met many (if any) dog-walkers for a long time, although I suspect "Jessie" may have left a couple of deposits near the Gregsons' fence at front of the wood!
John goes to the wood and collects more wood ants. This is the lot - he sez!
Took 7 bin-liners full of grass from our cut "meadows" and sprinkled around lower half of the wood in the hope that some grass and wild-flower seeds might germinate there! Did a quick pruning round as there wasn't too much regrowth. Cut regrowth from cut laurel stumps at bottom of the wood, which is still growing vigorously. Collected bluebell seeds from the bluebells growing by the "Panhandle" in the upper half of the wood near Mr Faulkner's fence and sprinkled them in lower half of the wood by dead laurel stumps near the Gregsons' fence. A dragonfly was seen in lower half of the wood.
Usual summer pruning round. Not so much growth now. In lower half of the wood there is what appears to be a small naturally coppiced hazel tree. The main trunk had died and it was shooting up from the base, so I cut back the holly that was smothering it. John collected some oak logs to make a log-pile beside our pond. He sawed up a branch that has lain on the ground since the oak tree was cut down some time ago.
Passed the wood on my bike having taken Mum for her walk. I pulled off the regrowth on the laurel stumps at front of the wood by the Gregsons' fence. Did not go further into the wood.
Quick round after taking Mum for her walk. No work except for removal of a few bits of regrowth from laurel stumps at front by the Gregsons' fence. There are a few brambles that need pruning. Bracken has quit growing now.
Easy round after taking Mum for her walk. Not much growing now. Found a lurking laurel seedling in top half of the wood and heard green woodpecker in bottom half. Pruned brambles where necessary and pruned regrowth from laurel stumps at bottom end of the wood. No dog walkers but 1 lone wandering, mainly white dog. I think it lived in the house opposite.
A dead oak tree trunk has fallen over the main footpath into the wood not far from the gate. D.C. Faulkner's conifer hedge is getting really tall and cutting out the light from the top half of the wood. Also his back garden has been cleared in places and has vehicles and other junk parked in it and some bricks or blocks as well. Is he going to build something on the land?
We collected the oak seedlings from Sybil Cox in Lavender Way and I planted them in the wood in the bare area by the Gregsons' house in front of the now dead laurel stumps. I went across the road to the house opposite to ask for a can of water for the oak seedlings and very reluctantly I was given it! I cut laurel regrowth at front of the wood by the Gregsons' fence. I spread out a pile of leaves dumped by the Gregsons' gardener over this area. Some pruning of brambles on paths in top half of the wood.
Quick non-working round. All OK.
Scattered field maple seeds in the wood. Spread out the dumped beech leaves and grass cuttings that the Gregsons' gardener had put in the lower half of the wood but I have decided to leave the pile by the Gregsons' gate into the wood as a compost heap. I then pulled up a large number of laurel seedlings lurking in the area of the footpaths in the top half of the wood. John pruned the east laurel hedge and I chucked some of his cuttings into the hedge.
We met Nick Collinson at 1030 am in the wood. An elderly knowledgable lady also turned up to speak to Nick. She was concerned about an oak branch leaning over the road. In 1998, Nick says, there will be some tree felling done. Some leaning Maritime pines will be removed and other trees that are crowding smallish oak trees in the centre of the wood will also be removed. These are mostly Maritime pines as well but 1 is a silver birch. He gave us 3 "Please clean-up after your dog" signs to put up. He also asked us to cut out the side branches of some small oak trees (planted by the Woodland Trust in about 1985) so that the main stem will develop. He also mentioned that sometime in the future some heavy pruning will need to be done to the holly in the bottom half of wood and he is going to write to Mr Gregson and ask him nicely not to dump garden debris over the fence!
A sparrowhawk flew over the wood and I heard a green woodpecker! Nick also asked us to walk the boundaries in the spring-summer months to check on dead branches leaning over neighbouring properties. He also reckons the soil in the lower half of the wood is more alkaline than that in the upper half as the bracken is concentrated mostly in the top half of the wood. There is also more regeneration of oak, rowan, birch etc in upper half. There are too many squirrels in the wood but it is not worth "removing" them as the wood is too small and therefore not commercially viable and it is also surrounded by houses.
I "measure" the trees where we will probably attach the anti-dog fouling signs with bungee rope. We then go around top half of the wood and prune the small oaks so that the leading shoot gets a boost. We also cut a minor branch from one of the ash trees near D.C. Faulkner's fence. John also collected rubbish. We also took my 6ft pruner and cut out some branches of the birch tree that overhangs one of the smaller oaks.
We put the 3 "Please clean-up after your dog" signs on trees fairly near the 3 entrances. John tied them to the trees with bungees and using our step ladder. Unfortunately John originally attached the first one (bottom, right) by making holes in the plastic covered sign. This was a bad move on his part! I sawed a few branches of laurel in the east side hedge in bottom half of the wood. I also cleared up the laurel cuttings in the east hedge that John had done some time ago. I chucked them into the hedge. We also cut a branch of the silver birch that was ovehanging a small oak in top half of the wood near Mr Faulkner's conifer hedge and fence. I also spread out piles of fallen leaves dumped by the Gregsons' gardener over his fence. John did his rubbish collection round - not much.
Some miserable sod has removed our "dog" signs! In some cases the bungees have been cut and the signs taken away. John did a rubbish round and quick prune. I cut laurel regrowth from stumps by the Gregsons' fence at the bottom of the wood and a quick prune of the upper half paths. I also pulled up a few laurel seedlings. Heard a ?great spotted woodpecker drumming in one of the old Maritime pines in upper part of the lower half of the wood. Maybe there were two as the sounds appeared to move slightly.
At Broadstone Residents Association meeting this evening we learnt that Donald C. Faulkner has died suddenly. He was 2 years younger than me!
Quick non-working round. Nothing to report. Wet underfoot. No wind damage.
Walked around the wood, no work. I was on my way to Naked Cross Nurseries. Nothing to report even though there has been more bad weather - very windy again. The only thing wrong is the gate into the wood. It is rotten.
Quick pruning round. The few shoots on laurel stumps by the Gregsons' front garden near the road removed. Somebody, not me, has been cutting laurel in this area. I actually noticed this on the last visit. Strange, the laurel cuttings were by the fence, rather than near the laurel clump -- even though they looked as they had been left where they had fallen after pruning. Funny! Nothing much growing --- yet! The area of daffodils (the 1 surviving area) on the slope under beech tree in lower half of the wood are looking very spindly now, although 3 or 4 have buds on them.
Visited the wood after taking Mum for a walk. No real work, no tools. Did pull off some laurel regrowth from stumps by the Gregsons' fence by road though. Some grass cuttings have been dumped in the wood in what we once called "the Panhandle" by the late D.C. Faulkner's fence. Also a mixture of grass and leaves nearby. At top end of the wood the owner of the new house had trampled down the brambles by the fence (wood side). He had also cut a lot of laurel leaning over his fence from Mr Jessop's land having asked permission to do this. Bracken starting up.
Small piles of grass dumped by the Gregsons' gardener. A much larger pile of dead grass, mainly, has been carefully laid in the hollow in the "Panhandle" area by the late D.C. Faulkner's place. This isn't a "Panhandle" any more!. I pruned back some of the laurel hedge that remains by the Gregsons' place at the front of the wood and also cut off the regrowth on the stumps nearby. Heard great spotted woodpecker drumming twice! John cut back the trampled down brambles at the rear of the wood. The man who had done the trampling (owner of house behind) had promised me he would cut it back but I saw no evidence of this! The remains of a Maritime pine lay behind the rear of the Gregsons' garden. Funny! It is odd that the Woodland Trust (Nick Collinson) should send in the tree surgeons just for 1 tree! We cleared away the branches and put them beside the east-side laurel hedge. Hard work! We couldn't find the tree stump. I looked over the fence and - Lo! - the stump was in the Gregsons' garden by the rear fence!! Another thing, it appeared the level of the soil where the logs etc had been dumped had been raised. So, Mr Gregson had arranged for his Maritime pine to be cut down and the logs and branches dumped in the wood.
Quick round of the wood after taking Mum for her walk. Cut some laurel regrowth from stumps by the Gregsons' fence. Cleared some more rubbish from area where the Gregsons' felled Maritime pine was and put it beside east laurel hedge. Heard Great Spotted woodpecker drumming.
Fairly quick pruning round. Has rained since last visit. Hadn't rained for about 6 weeks or so --- and then it rained solidly for 2 days!
Quick pruning round after taking Mum for walk. Heard greater spotted woodpecker drumming.
Summer pruning round. Cut laurel regrowth from laurel stumps by the Gregsons' fence at front of the wood. Many laurel stumps further up are now so rotten they can be kicked out! "Raised the skirts" of the larger of the beech trees in the clump of small trees by the Gregsons' fence (nearest the front of the wood). This gives more light to the tiny oaks nearby. After pruning round in top half of the wood I pulled up lots of laurel seedlings. "Millions" more lurking. Much rain has fallen since my last visit. John did his rubbish and pruning round.
Very quick pruning round after I had taken Mum for her walk. Much regrowth on remaining live laurel stumps. Some about a foot long! I started to trim the laurel remaining at front of the wood by the Gregsons' fence, when suddenly one of their sons (aged about 18) piped up, when their dog, "Jessie", started to bark mildly at me -- nose poking through end of the fence, "Do you mind moving away from the fence, you are frightening my dog!" He harangued me about cutting the laurel and eventually his Mum came out. She complained but was not rude like her son! I complained about the dumping of the cut pine tree behind the fence at the back of their garden, stump just inside their garden! I also mentioned grass cuttings. She said she had been told the Woodland Trust welcomed cut wood lying around! She said they never dumped grass! I said that grass sometimes appeared with the fallen leaves they dumped and that Nick Collinson was not too happy about dumped pine or grass cuttings. One of the son's comments to me was "Why do you keep coming here when you don't live in this area?"
I cut the regrowth from all the laurel stumps in the front of the wood by the Gregsons' and did a very quick round of bramble pruning in top half of the wood. Somebody has done some path pruning in both halves of the wood, but not "our" paths in the interior of the upper half. I believe Nick Collinson was going to arrange some path pruning.
Lots of pruning of brambles to give the little oaks some space. Cut laurel regrowth from stumps by the Gregsons' house, mostly those I missed the last time. John went to "Stonecrop", the house that was the late Mr Faulkner's home, to complain about dumping dead pine needles in the wood and he met Mrs Faulkner and teenage son. She said she'd tell the man working for her not to dump things in future. John has also got permission for us to cut down to 7 feet the conifer hedge that Mr Faulkner had planted, but we'll have to do it PDQ as she intends to sell the house. Also we'll have to dump the cut bits in the wood so I'll have to write to Nick for permission. I must also mention the fact that his path clearers damaged 1 little oak and finished off a 4ft oak at the rear of the wood! Both were by cleared paths. I did a massive cutting of bracken on paths as well as brambles. Heard a green woodpecker.
Went to see Mrs Faulkner at "Stonecrop" re: cutting her conifer hedge down to 7ft. We met a couple of men who were working there and it was decided that it would be better to do the cutting in October as the trees won't "bleed" then, because the sap will be on its way down by then. They also decided on 9ft instead of 7ft. We then did our usual summer round in the wood. Cut laurel regrowth by the Gregsons' fence and pruned back bits of the now huge bramble patch by the Gregsons'! Pruned top half of the wood paths and pulled up laurel seedlings. There are "millions" more! One female dog walker with 4 small dogs! Scattered remaining bluebell seeds from top half of the wood near Mrs Faulkner's fence to patch by the Gregsons' in lower half of the wood (not the front bit).
Went to the wood after taking Mum for her walk. Quick summer pruning round. Much growth of brambles. The laurel stumps down near the front of the wood by the Gregsons' house are still sending up shoots merrily!
Stopped at the wood after taking Mum for her walk. Medium-sized brown speckly frog, at front of the wood, which I disturbed while cutting laurel regrowth by the Gregsons' fence. Quick pruning of the top half of the wood footpaths. Quite a lot of bramble regrowth still, although the bracken has almost stopped growing. The top end huge laurel "tree" in the east hedge is covered in ripe black "cherries" having passed through their red phase.
Pruning round after taking Mum for her walk. Heard a green woodpecker. Not much growing now. Even the brambles are starting to slow down.
Went to the wood after taking Mum for her walk. Pruned a "deviation path" into the wood to bypass the fallen tree trunk blocking the main footpath into the wood. Had to cut holly mainly. (I can now get my bike into the wood easily). Quick pruning round after this work. Very little growing now. 1 dog-walker turned up.
Tried to 'phone Mrs Faulkner re: pruning her conifer hedge but only got the answer-phone. Lovely sunny day. We did a pruning round or rather I did a pruning round! John collected rubbish mostly. I planted 3 little oaks, from our oak tree acorns, and 1 Field maple seedling from 1 of the seeds I had collected and scattered at the back of our garden. A few dog-walkers came into the wood and I chatted to an elderly lady who walked past the wood. Pruned some very small branches from a couple of sweet chestnuts in the upper half of the wood which were hanging over small native trees. The trees I planted are just below the centre of the wood. I also found some large laurel seedlings in top half of the wood which I hauled out. There are many, many small laurel seedlings in top half of the wood. Lots of very active squirrels around.
Managed to contact Mrs Faulkner re: cutting her ?Cupressocyparis leylandii hedge. Lovely sunny day again. We turned up at midday and I held the ladder while John cut the trees to 9ft each. Some were quite tall and others only needed secateurs for the job. The big trees were quite difficult to cut due to leaving them at 9ft. We needed a long-armed pruner which we had not brought with us but Mrs Faulkner's gardener lent us hers. Mrs Faulkner was out. We needed the pruner to tidy up the trees after they were cut. This was mostly for the big ones.
After we had finished we went into the wood and hauled all the cut bits into the east laurel hedge side. I also watered the newly planted trees again. In future we should be able to prune the hedge from the wood side using one of our long-armed pruners.
Watered newly planted trees again and tied nylon string around most of the fruiting laurel trees in the east-side hedge. Ran out of string. It is impossible to cut down these fruiting trees because there are too many, their bases are on the other side of "our" boundary and half the hedge would disappear causing Mr Jessop, the owner of the property "next door", to go "ballistic"! In the spring we will have to cut out the flowering branches of the laurels as far as possible instead and continue to pull up laurel seedlings.
Chatted to the owner of the huge garden at the back of the wood. Him with the noisy sit-on lawnmower! He said that the reason much of the wildlife had disappeared from the wood was because in recent years people visiting the wood had increased considerably! I said, "Yes! And all of these are dog-walkers!". He did not agree with me when I said I thought it was also due to the housing estate on the old pine wood removing any vestige of a "green corridor".
Some more beech leaves had been chucked over the Gregsons' fence by Mr Gregson's gardener in the bottom half of the wood. I kicked them out of their piles spreading them about a bit after I had pulled up lots of laurel seedlings in the top half of the wood. Heard green woodpecker.
Planted 3 field maple seedlings and 1 oak seedling in the wood in the area of the other recently planted little trees. Ground not all that damp even though it has rained recently. Collected lots of stones from around the wood to mark the seedlings and I pulled up loads of laurel seedlings in top half of the wood and 1 rhododendron seedling. Nothing much growing now. The only stones in the wood are around the area where trees have been uprooted showing that below the acidic top layer are "Bagshot Sands"!
Gave the 8 newly planted trees a good feed of "Vitax Q4" and then I sprinkled a liberal feeding of lime over a larger area around each tree. I gave the trees a good watering from the 4 x 4 pint plastic milk bottles carried in my "wheeler". I also put some lime above the laurel stumps at front of the wood by the Gregsons' fence. Maybe it will help to kill off the stumps by turning the soil alkaline but the likelyhood is that I would need a lorry-load! Sprinkled some of Mr Gregson's dumped beech leaves and mast over the sprinkled lime. No dog-walkers today - but 2 yesterday. I put some lime around sole field maple near front of the wood near the Gregsons' house.
Quick round of the wood. Nothing growing. Piles of leaves dumped over fence by Mr Gregson's gardener. Dug up about 4 holly seedlings to plant in Donald Small's garden by our low wall in drive. Fallen leaves have hidden most of the little trees I planted in the wood.
Quick non-working round of the wood. Snow has fallen in the early hours and some more during a.m. It isn't going to last. Footprints were human and dog! No signs of fox that I could see - or deer!
Quick round. Small amount of regrowth from laurel stumps at front end of the wood by the Gregsons' fence. This was removed. Somebody has dumped a pile of sweet chestnut leaves behind fence at front of the wood by the Gregsons' property. I spread them about a bit but they are very wet. Weather has been very warm for the time of year - and wet! A few dog-walkers around and 1 couple who didn't appear to have a dog. We trimmed some side-shoots from conifer hedge belonging to Mrs Faulkner. Not much growing yet.
Not much growing yet. Very small amount of shoots from laurel stumps at bottom of the wood by the Gregsons' fence. I lightly pruned the laurel clump nearby. I think the Gregsons' gardener had pruned it also, so I did a bit more! Cut back a bit of the holly that surrounds a small group of very small self-sown trees about half way between the laurel stumps at bottom end of the wood and the other earlier (now dead) laurel stumps by the Gregsons' house further up. I also cut back some of the brambles climbing over the small trees, mostly planted by Woodland Trust, alongside Mrs Faulkner's conifer hedge. These small trees were planted about 1985. Pulled up a few laurel seedlings in top half of the wood. Also moved broken off branches from Maritime pines into the east laurel hedge. Daffodils coming up. There is a covering of what looks rather like bird droppings over a fairly large area at bottom end of the wood by the Gregsons' house but it can't be that because there is sky above --- unless a large flock of seagulls had defaecated all at the same time!
Things starting to grow now! Bracken poking through. The still-alive laurel stumps by the Gregsons' fence at front of the wood starting to sprout. Cut laurel regrowth there and some brambles in top half of the wood. Here there are numerous foxglove plants this year! No flowers on my planted daffodils in bottom half of the wood this year. 1 flower on clump of daffodils (not mine) in top half of the wood near Mrs Faulkner's fence. One of the little field maple saplings I planted in bottom half of the wood is in leaf.
Quick round after taking Mum for her walk. Laurel stumps at bottom end of the wood still sprouting but they are getting less now, thank God! Nearby there is a tiny field maple. Bracken coming up everywhere in top half of the wood and in centre part. Not much pruning needed yet. Small patch of wild cyclamen growing near Mrs Faulkner's fence near what I used to call "the panhandle". Here there are also bluebells and a clump of daffodils.
Last Wednesday I went to Dr Ken Fleming's farewell "do" at the War Memorial Hall and the man who owned "Sheba" the black labrador, Ray Porter, who was chairman of the "Friends of Hadleigh Practice" gave farewell speech to Ken! Since "Sheba" died some time ago he told me that he would not walk in the wood without a dog now because he thinks that people might think he was a pervert. What a shame! "Sheba" was 17. He was the only dog-walker who showed interest in the wild life - such as it is! Quick round today, not much pruning to do yet. Mr Gregson's gardener has cut back the brambles from his fence alongside the house. Also, there appears to be one or two small beech trees missing from near that clump of brambles near the remaining laurel!
Quick round after taking Mum for a walk. Everything growing madly! Cut regrowth from laurel stumps at the front of the wood by the Gregsons' fence and did a very quick prune of the outer path in the upper half of the wood.
Quickish pruning round after I had taken Mum for her walk. The laurel stumps by the Gregsons' fence at the front of the wood look as though they are on the way out at long last! Not much regrowth to cut off this summer so far. One dog-walker with 2 ?King Charles spaniels came in the wood. Not much to prune on the perimeter path as somebody has apparently done it! The inner paths of this upper half of the wood are a different story. I could not find at least a third of them, they are so overgrown with bracken and brambles. I did a quick, very rough prune of those I could find!
Quick-ish pruning round after not taking Mum for her walk! Not much growing on laurel stumps at front of the wood. I cut bits of little beech trees and holly around the 3 little oaks in the patch of little trees near front of the wood near the Gregsons'. I want to give the oaks a good chance to grow straight. Pruned all the paths roughly in top half of the wood. At least those that I could recognize as paths. I saw a deer come into the wood from direction of Mr Jessop's place. Heard a green woodpecker too. Maybe two. That is, when there were no aeroplanes flying over the wood!
John and I did a good pruning job in top half of the wood. Only 1 female dog-walker. Weather less warm than what we have been having recently. Not much growing from the laurel stumps at front of the wood by the Gregsons' fence now. John picked up a supermarket bag full of rubbish. Pulled up a few laurel seedlings and located some of the small trees I planted. 2 little field maples look fine and 1 oak (which I may or may not have planted). One field maple was "brown bread" and another oak I couldn't find!
Pruning round after taking Mum for her walk. Some regrowth on laurel stumps at front of the wood. I was right about something missing in this area just before we went on holiday in May. Near the old beech stump near the Gregsons' fence are about 5 little beech stumps with regrowth on them. Those stumps are about 2" in diameter. It is the first time I've noticed the stumps and the regrowth. Pruned the paths in the top half of the wood. Mostly brambles. Bracken has virtually ceased growing now.
Visited the wood after taking Mum for her walk. Sprinkled foxglove seeds around bottom half of the wood in the light areas mostly. Quick pruning round of both halves. Not much growing now. Found a few laurel seedlings lurking in top half and pulled them out. More lurking but too late to start pulling them all out! That leylandii hedge in top half is growing again! Side shoots starting to grow upwards! Bracken has died back. In lower part of the wood some people have tried to make what appeared to be horse jumps! Also in "Yuppie" house at back of the wood somebody has tied one end of a clothes line to the rowan tree which had survived the fence erecting on the boundary line!
John picked up rubbish and dismantled branch constructions in lower half of the wood. I helped him dismantle the "horse jumps" and move the branches out of sight. John also retied the clothes line to bottom branch of Rowan tree as it was starting to make an indentation on the main stem. I sprinkled foxglove seeds around top half of the wood and then the 2nd container full over the whole wood. So far 3 containers of foxglove seeds have been sprinkled. I also pulled up many laurel seedlings in top half of the wood.
Quickish round after taking Mum for a walk. Not much growing now so not much pruning to do. The clothes line tied to the Rowan tree at top end of the wood hasn't been touched since John retied it last time.
Quick non-working round on my way to the Broadway from Corfe Mullen surgery to see Dr Stevens. Lovely sunny day! Used my "wheeler" to keep open the paths in top half of the wood as I didn't have my secateurs with me. Lots of fallen leaves around now. I picked off a few small bits of laurel growing on the surviving laurel stumps by the Gregsons' fence! Not much growing now. Some beech leaf piles from the Gregsons' gardener by the fence.
Quick round of the wood. No work. Nothing much growing. The re-tied clothes line from house at back of the wood is still the same as when John re-tied it.
Quick-ish round. Small amount of pruning done. I watched Mr Gregson chuck leaves over his fence. I left the piles of leaves as they were dumped but I kicked the pile down at the front end of the wood to spread the leaves around as I don't want my oak seedlings buried for ever! Lovely sunny day! We were on a walk to "Naked X" Nurseries.
Quick round of wood while on a walk to "Naked X" Nurseries across Upton Heath. Pruning almost unecessary but one Maritime pine in top half of the wood had snapped in two - the top half falling south-east while the very bad winds a few days ago were blowing for about half an hour from the north-west!
Took the "short" long-armed pruner and our new saws to the wood. John pruned Mrs Faulkner's conifer hedge and I placed the cuttings in the east-side laurel hedge. John also pruned a few laurel branches in this hedge in the top half of the wood and I placed the cut pieces in the hedge. John also cut off all the branches from the broken Maritime pine and I hauled them over to the east-side laurel hedge. The main gate is slowly rotting and does not close any more. 3 sets of dog-walkers came in the wood while we were there and I trod in dog-faeces while I was there! There were at least 4 dogs. There was a new animal digging in the area of old diggings in top half of the wood.
Took the "long" long-armed pruner and John pruned Mrs Faulkner's conifer hedge and east-side laurel hedge in top half. I chucked the prunings into the latter hedge. I used my new saw to cut some larger laurel branches at top end of the wood in the east-side laurel hedge to give more space and light to deciduous trees and spindly cotoneaster. The newly dug hole near the old diggings in top half of the wood is made by rabbits as there were rabbit droppings nearby. Cut regrowth from laurel stumps down at front by Mr Gregson's fence. "My" feeble daffodils are coming up - looking more feeble!
We took bow-saw and work bench to the wood and John cut suitable logs (mostly oak) from the piles of logs and brush at front end of the wood. Some time ago the Woodland Trust contractors cut out dangerous branches from mature oaks at front end of the wood. These were probably hanging over the road. We took home these logs and 3 others from the middle of lower half of the wood. Met a grey-haired man and 2 dogs who is treasurer for Dorset Wildlife Trust. He's retired and aged 67. The logs brought home are for our log-pile in back garden. The remains of the logs and brush in wood I scattered over area nearby so looks "tidier"
Quick-ish round after taking Mum for walk. Bracken starting to grow but not much else yet. My daffodils patch (only 1 patch still surviving!) still looks more feeble with every passing year but there is 1 flower which is facing upwards instead of usual mature position. In top half of the wood by Mrs Faulkner's there is one very healthy looking clump of daffodils which have "always" been there. One flower bud. In this area there are also many bluebells but many of the leaves look a bit chewed!
Quick-ish round after taking Mum for a walk. Not much growing yet, at least not fast, so just a bit of pruning around paths. Only a few small shoots on laurel stumps by the Gregsons' fence to be removed. A man in a yellow council outdoor worker's jacket and 2 dogs walked around top half of the wood many times - half clockwise and then anti-clockwise! He saw me struggling to move a broken Scots pine branch to the east-side laurel hedge in top half of the wood and heaved it over after breaking it into 2 bits.
Collected a moss-covered log which I had noticed on an earlier visit. I had placed it at front of the wood yesterday. John did a quick rubbish round and I kicked some of the beech leaves around from where Mr Gregson's gardener had chucked them under beech tree by fence near "my" daffodil patch. Great spotted woodpecker heard nearby.
Went to the wood after visiting Mum, who didn't feel like going for a walk. Did some pruning in top half. Not too bad yet for summer growth. Hardly anything growing from the laurel stumps near the Gregsons' fence at front of the wood and the laurel stumps further in the wood near the fence are so rotten now I was able to kick about 4 of them down! Only about 3 left. That new "energetic" dog-walker with the 2 dogs turned up just as I was leaving. Heard both green woodpecker and great spotted woodpecker nearby!
Short pruning round after taking Mum for her walk. Very little regrowth on laurel stumps at front of the wood. Chatted to an elderly dog-walker with a peculiar little grey bitch who wouldn't let go of thrown sticks! Some very fast pruning of brambles and bracken and found many laurel seedlings in top half of the wood around the paths. Heard wood tapping in centre of top half of the wood. Thought it was human! No! It was a male great spotted woodpecker low down on large pine tree pecking out insects. Later heard and saw the female doing the same thing on same tree! I pulled up all laurel seedlings I saw. Heard green woodpecker!
Trod in dog-faeces by the Gregsons' at front of the wood. Chatted to a man with dog outside wood who was 1 of 6 or 8 wardens and/or volunteers to an 80 acre wood in Hampshire. He said they needed far more volunteers. He also complained of dog-faeces in "his" wood. Summer pruning round - bracken high now. Not much laurel regrowth at front of the wood near the Gregsons' fence - in fact none at all since last week. John found that the Gregsons' gardener has been hiding lots of polystyrene packaging material under piles of leaves chucked over the fence! John also found the biggest laurel seedling in the world in top half of the wood near east-side laurel hedge. It was a 6ft tree! How it has remained unnoticed all this time I don't know. Too hard to pull out so John cut it down to the ground. Next to it was a fair sized rowan tree. Near lower east side of top half of the wood is a large pine tree with an approx 3" diameter hole about a third of the way up. In it there is a great spotted woodpecker nest with cheeping young! While I continued pruning the paths John sat, unfortunately without bins, at a distance and saw a bird return every 9 minutes approx to feed the young (probably the female - as John did not see any red on its head and the lower red area was not visible from the rear).
This time we had a stool for John, 2 pairs of bins and 1 bird book. The male great spotted woodpecker was feeding the young who were cheeping really loudly! The nest hole is in a living Scots pine tree. In top half of the wood in one of our paths are what looks like 2 molehills. I noticed these about a week ago but forgot to mention it. Small amount of pruning done around paths.
We went to the wood after our 5 week holiday in south-west Lewis, the Orkneys and the far North of Scotland. Cut laurel regrowth by the Gregsons' fence and some brambles in order to find the laurel regrowth! It looks like the Woodland Trust has sent in contractors again to prune the outer paths in top half of the wood but this time they also cut a couple of the inner paths at the rear end of the wood. We pruned most of the inner paths in top half of the wood. I "raised the skirts" of 1 small oak tree at the far end of the wood by the outer path. Some lower branches had been ripped with the contractors' cutting machine so I cut them out. I also "raised the skirts" of the 2 little oaks and 1 beech near bottom of the wood near the Gregsons' fence. These trees are part of a small clump that I have been keeping clear of holly and brambles.
Continued summer pruning from last Sunday. Pruned some of the huge bramble-clump by the Gregsons' fence in bottom half of the wood which was starting to enclose some little oak trees which are doing quite well. Saw an adult female adder near Mrs Faulkner's fence at lower end of top half of the wood. I thought at first it was a mouse rustling through the leaves! Pruned the inner paths in top half of the wood again.
Quick pruning round after visiting Mum who didn't feel like a walk today. A new hole dug by a ?fox in top half of the wood near all the other diggings (mostly very old).
Quick pruning round after not taking Mum for a walk. Heard a green woodpecker quite near. The hole, found last time, has 2 definite dog-sized prints with a 3rd not so prominent. I think they are dog prints (rounder than fox-prints) so a dog must have been poking around!
Quick pruning round after not taking Mum for her walk. No laurel regrowth at front of the wood by the Gregsons'. Couple with 2 dogs in the wood - otherwise nobody else. Not all that much regrowth.
Quick non-working round of wood. I pulled up a few laurel seedlings in top half of the wood. Also removed 2 or 3 shoots of regrowth from laurel stumps at bottom end of the wood by the Gregsons' fence. Hardly any regrowth in this area this summer!
Quick pruning round after taking Mum for a walk. Found 2 more field maple seedlings at bottom end of the wood near Mr Gregson's fence, making 3 in all. These 2 "new" ones are from sprinkled field maple seeds. The original one I planted, I believe. Bracken has quit growing but brambles are still going strong.
We planted 128 acorns, mostly all around the perimeter. The few left were planted in the large bare area at front of the wood. John used a long piece of wood with the beginnings of a point (made with a penknife) and a lump hammer to make a small hole for me to pop in an acorn.
Repeated yesterday's work with a similar number of acorns but this time in the inside of the wood. John's right arm nearly "fell off" again towards end!
Sprinkled more "2nd best" acorns in top half of the wood in bramble patches. Planted "the best" as before with the piece of wood and the lump hammer in top half of the wood. Pulled up lots of laurel seedlings in top half of the wood but not along the east-side laurel hedge where there are even more! Some pulled out were those I missed last year! Moved 1 small oak seedling and 1 small rowan seedling that were growing out of separate log-piles. Had to water them with water collected in polythene bag from the mankey water that collects in the twin beech tree in bottom half of the wood by the Gregsons' fence.
Small amount of bramble pruning in top half of the wood. I also cleared brambles etc. from around some tree seedlings and small trees. Found a clump of what looked like ash seedlings, also found a small number of separate field maple seedlings.
Since the erecting of the Gregsons' fence, his house extra-building and the planting of the leylandii hedge by Mr D.C. Faulkner the grass has disappeared from areas of the wood alongside these items! Saw a rabbit in the large clump of brambles by the Gregsons' fence.
Planted more of the "best" acorns in top half of the wood - in the bits we missed out on last time because we ran out of acorns. Heard jays squawking in top half of the wood. Maybe a magpie was trying to get into the act! We found some rubbish at top end of the wood under a pine tree. It wasn't animal as a dog passed it by! A variety of dog-walkers came into the wood while I was there. It appears the rubbish was mostly pipe-lagging material - had a dead sheep appearance. After John left with the rubbish I pulled up lots of laurel seedlings in top half of the wood.
John and I took our little oak trees in pots and the remaining ash tree in a pot to the wood (not the smallest oaks) and I planted them in the top half of the wood where there is the most light (in area around north-east end). John collected rubbish and did some pruning around paths. Woodland Trust have replaced the gate surrounding the wood. Piles of leaves from the Gregsons' garden in the wood. 2 sets of dog-walkers visited. NB: while planting the little trees I did not come across any worms in the soil but I introduced 3 or 4 from the potted trees!
Had quick look around the wood after walk on Upton Heath. Somebody had chucked a lot of empty food packets and plastic bags (some TESCO's) in the wood around gate area. John collected up all the rubbish and I found 2 large laurel seedlings not far away, which I pulled up - mostly! Met the chap and mongrel dog from just down the road who had worked in Sierra Leone and many other places around the world. He said you can still get malaria in a few small areas in Kent! I checked on the little trees I planted and found the ash and 3 of the oaks are fine. Couldn't find the other ?2 oaks. 2 of the oaks still had their leaves, 1 green and the other yellow, and 3rd was bare as well as the ash. Cold, frosty, sunny day.
Fairly quick round of the wood. John did a rubbish collecting round and I spread around a pile of leaves dumped by the Gregsons' gardener at the front end of the wood by their fence. We also pruned with the "short" long-armed pruner as many branches as we could reach of the leylandii hedge (Mrs Faulkner's). I put the cuttings in the east-side laurel hedge.
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