Actually we went “up” to the woods today for a meander and to check out any damage from badgers/gales/deer. Almost immediately we happened upon a substantial trail (no need for Ray Mears in this trekking expedition) studded with footprints like dinner plates, dinosaur sized spoor and a grazing line well above Hero’s head. Vindication: this is no sweet little bambi that frequents our garden, this is mega stag! Suddenly I found myself at the front of our march along the boundary, Hero assuring me she was “covering the rear”. In fear of disturbing this beast and his undoubtedly enormous antlers, we cautiously continued our journey. I think it helped when Hero made the vulcan salute and boldly (from behind me obviously) said “We come in peace”.
We also discovered another breach of the rabbit fence (darned badgers) and stuffed it full of griselina branches (they don’t like it up um); not the material of choice but needs must. When we reached the main woodland there were several trees down, some balanced against others and all looking a little precarious. Again we tiptoed through, not wanting to disturb the equilibrium that had been reached around us.
This is Larix kaempheri the Japanese larch named after Engelbert Kaempfer a German doctor who travelled extensively in the late 17th century and wrote about the flora of Japan. It is a deciduous conifer, not a poorly conifer. Deciduous conifers are unusual, there are only five genus – Metasequoia, Pseudolarix, Taxodium, Glyptostrobus and of course Larix. As you can see it is chock-a-block with cones, we collected a few branches for our christmas extravaganza. Watch this space.