It’s been a few years since I started working in horticulture, ok it’s been a good few years ! 46 years to be precise.
In the early days , it was a matter of helping a friends dad’s forestry business when home from boarding school.
During the christmas break we would plant new forests, usually mixed hardwood or conifer only on a 5ft (1.4m) grid.
To keep warm we would build a small fire and toast our sandwiches whilst drinking Bovril – a hot peppery beef broth.
The spring breaks would be a rush to finish planting the bare root 2+2 plants before Easter the traditional time to stop planting , as buds were breaking dormancy and plants would shrivel and die, rather than develop.
Lunch was often a traditional ploughman’s – a doorstep cheese, pickle and pickled onion sandwich washed down by at least one pint of finest ale at a nearby pub.
We did a rough estimate of how many trees we started, most days we managed about 1400 slit planted saplings, so it was way over 500,000 plants.
The summer would bring the weeding season, cutting down the 6ft high weeds of brambles and foxgloves with out damaging the newly growing saplings.. it was hot sweaty, muscle building work, but great fun. Well that is until a pheasant launched itself from the cover and caused your heart to miss a beat or two..as it flew past.
The worst though was saved for the ground bees and hornets, and the absolute worst was rushing down a hillside to avoid the swarm chasing you along the very neat 3ft (1m) wide corridor you had just created !
Sure kept you fit !