When the gardens become a classroom

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Ian Marshall & Patricia Blakely

Ian explaining to Patricia, in great detail, how to shape and balance this Betula albosinensis septentrionalis, which in this case meant removing three large, lower branches and a lot of twigs from the upper branches. Ian’s advice is to ‘read the tree’. The lower branches were started off with an upward cut about two feet from the tree, then a downward cut and next the branch was pressed down until it fell off. Then another cut, same system, about four inches from the tree and finally the last cut is made level with the tree. This system is used for three reasons – (1) it means that there is no weight left to strip off any of the bark, (2) the branch has less chance of regrowth from the cut and (3) the cut has the best chance of sealing over and avoiding decay. (I was definitely listening to you, Ian, I hope I have it right).

Patricia putting it all into practice. Ian and Wilf look on in admiration

Patricia, a Steps to Work gardener, is doing her NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) at Mount Stewart for six months. She does her training at Mount Stewart for four days a week and studies at the Technical College one day a week. She then hopes to continue her training and become a fully qualified gardener. She is a very able gardener so she will fly through it all.

How about that then?

Jill

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