We went to stay with the in-laws this week-end. They live in Leicestershire, just outside Market Harborough. My father in law is a natural planter - one of those people who looks on themselves as being a custodian (rather than an owner) of the landscape. He is eighty now, has spent the last 50 years living in the same house and has used most of those years to plant trees, sometimes in large numbers. Almost exactly 10 years ago, we planted a copse - I provided the trees and understory (the smaller shrubs that grow beneath), and the hedging that grows around it. He provided about half an acre. Ten years sounds like a long time, but it passes in the flick of an eye. Bill and I walked up to the copse today and marvelled at just how BIG, the little bare root whips of 1997/98 had got. There are thirty footers amongst them. Some have been killed by the competition from their neighbours, but what was a corner of a field is now an established wood, teeming with wildlife. Once planted, there was no maintenance barring an annual slash of weeds for the first three years and then a bit of lopping of branches that got in the way.
Pictures tell it all I hope, but there is an amazing thrill in seeing something young and vibrant and immensely powerful that, mankind willing, will be still be standing long after my children's children's children are forgotten.... (by the way that last was a comment made by one of my children)