Grass growth was suppressed by the prolonged drought, but path verges finally received a cut this month. Clippings were gathered up to use as a mulch around the large trees that had been planted earlier this year to help screen the A2 bridge over the river. A thick blanket of mulch kills off a lot of the vegetation underneath, whose roots would otherwise be in competition with the tree roots; additionally, the mulch helps to retain water in the soil in times of drought, and as it rots down valuable nutrients are released into the soil to speed up the tree’s growth. Because it has been so dry this spring, we are now splashing 30 litres of water onto each tree every week, which is proving invaluable in coaxing them through this difficult period. Despite the dry weather, growth of the willow in our little maze continued apace after its May trim, and further heavy cutting was need in June to keep it under control.