Denburn Dispatches, February 2020

Amazingly the weather gods are still with us in 2020, and the morning of Saturday 1st of February was dry and even sunny in part from 10 to 12 despite rain early in the morning and a drenching in the afternoon! Nine of us were optimistic enough to turn out and got rather hot working in the very mild conditions.

Digging out the burn

Several fairly arduous tasks were begun – digging the silt out of the burn being perhaps the heaviest and to be continued at various dates over the month. We also removed all the tree tubes (over 60!) from the younger trees as we don’t want them to create more plastic rubbish as they disintegrate. The trees in them are not thriving particularly well so we hope a little more light and air will aid them while the number of dogs walked through the woods should deter any rabbits or deer from eating them. Another ongoing job is removing excess ivy from trees and walls – while it forms a useful ground cover, the ivy can lodge in the mortar in the walls, forcing the stones apart and making them unsafe, while on the trees, too heavy a load of ivy can break branches and ultimately kill the tree. While some ivy has been hauled off, much more has had its roots severed so that it will gradually die off and be easier to remove on subsequent visits. The usual litter picking, pruning and tidying went on also, so we’ve all had a good work-out to start the month.

New snowdrops

The woods themselves are starting to spring into life with masses of snowdrops and winter aconites flowering along with a few early crocuses and the cyclamen are still flowering well as they have been all winter so far. Catkins are appearing on some trees and winter blossom on others, while the birds were all singing – I hope they won’t get too great a shock if the cold weather comes back – we saw or heard chaffinches, robins, wrens, blue, coal and great tits, goldfinches and blackbirds a-plenty while for the eagle-eyed there is always the possibility of great spotted woodpeckers, treecreepers and even the odd sparrowhawk.

The area that was completely cleared (or so we thought) of plants in the autumn ready for new trees and shrubs in March and the area cleared of fallen wood by the builders of the new buttresses for the graveyard wall are now covered in snowdrops so the clearing wasn’t that total!

Next Denburn digger day will be on March 7th at 10am when we hope to welcome new and old hands for weeding, pruning and maybe some planting. Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided at half time.

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