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Today we planted some trees that will form the framework of the forest garden part of the High Bank project.  As I wandered backwards and forwards with a Beech in one hand and Hawthorne in the other, trying to find the perfect mature position for each tree, I began to feel a new wave of respect for the great estate landscapists of the naturalist revolution in the 1700’s.

It isn’t the first time I’ve pondered the skills of those men.  Standing at the gates of Blenheim Palace you can’t help but admire the vision of Lancelot Brown, to lay out such stunning naturalist parkland, each tree so perfectly placed and effortless that you don’t even think of it as a ‘design.’ All the more impressive when you think he would not live to see its mature fruition.

It is a little self-aggrandising to discuss Blenheim Palace and Capability Brown in the same paragraph as our work at High Bank but inspiration comes from many places, and aim high is always my philosophy!

We have planted most of the trees and it is great to see some glimpse of what is to come after staring so long at the flat-grassed area we’d come to laughingly describe as ‘the tundra.’  The roll call for planting today included Beech, Purple Beech, Hawthorne, the pink Hawthorne variety ‘Rosea flora pleno,’ flowering Cornus, two pear trees, Liquidambar and a Magnolia called Betty that doesn’t contribute to the productive needs of the garden but will look pretty in spring.  Once the trees begin to get going we can introduce more species into the forest garden but that will require some more planning, wandering and scribbling in notebooks.  And if I get stuck, we have Lancelot Brown’s last great work at nearby Berrington Hall to inspire us.

Sky Blue.  Temp 18c.

Time for G&T.