Last September my wife and I bought a nine acre plot of land on the Devon/Cornwall border that included an ancient slate quarry. This is our a story about our plans to create a major public attraction and Palm Farm.
April showers ( or lack of them!)
At the end of March we topped and cultivated an area of grassland around 3/4 of an acre and sowed around 40 native species of wildflower and grasses and watched in horror as the driest April on record in these parts took shape. It finally rained in abundance yesterday (May2nd) and we can only hope that its not too late and they start to germinate.
April was part of our first spring on the site and we watched as the darling buds began to emerge form their long dormancy and swathes of red campion and wild violets started popping up everywhere. Foliage is starting to appear on the 310 British Oaks all freshly coppiced. Gorgeous!
The birds are singing continuously and we have a rather irritating Chiffchaff that obviously can’t find a mate repeating the same tune from dusk to dawn. Its like the Grasshopper that sang all summer, no life at all. (Thank you Bridget Jones).
We also thought that March had seen the end of any possible terrapins in the lake until Tom noticed what looked like a dustbin lid coming up to the surface of the water and to our shock and amazement it was a huge turtle. My earlier trap was designed to catch little ones about the size of my hand. I suddenly starting thinking about those annoying Pizza ads a few years back and the Ninjas. Anyway we have to catch and relocate them as they eat all the vegetation and even ducklings and we need to add Lilies and numerous oxygenating plants to support fish and encourage more wildlife. So I built another trap based on an American design on You Tube which consisted of a 1m square of gutter piping connected together and two ramps of ply tied to the sides and a central net on which you place some dog food to attract them into the net. ( Chappies was the favoured brand). All I can say is this was a Titanic failure as I had used the wrong silicone and it went down at the bough. Lucking I had tied it with some string and was able to salvage it from the depths. All good fun!
This is the best time of year and we are swooning in the sheer beauty and tranquillity of this time warp. Our day starts at 6.00a.m with 15 minutes of Tai Chi listening to the birdsong and that sets us up for several hours of hard labour. April has seen the foundation of our mains water supply and our extensive planting scheme continues with vigour. the internal pathway of the quarry is now three quarters of the way around and plans are to install a new internal metal rail to meet health and safety requirements. We are then planning to fence the outside of quarry alongside the dead hedging in place with a gated entrance and exit. This will be our biggest expense alongside the road structure around the woodland and quarry.
Longer term we are now looking at a sculpture garden highlighting the history of the 18th/19th century slate mining and a woodland trail with seating areas and an education centre, subject to planning etc. The quarry itself and its environment suggests a log house or similar eco building with a cafeteria and seating areas. A plant sales area on another area of the plot would compliment the adjacent Palm Farm. All big and beautiful ideas but many hurdles before we can realise the dream.
Finally this month if anyone is passing by this summer and would like to view please don’t hesitate to pm me.
Bye for now.
Andrew & Karen