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Seek acorns and grow an oak tree

Even a fox has no privacy!
Even a fox has no privacy!

Running, leaping, grasping and swinging on the sweeping branches of handsome horsechestnut trees were teenage lads.

I was seeking acorns beneath a mighty oak across the road, when I became aware of the vandalism they were inflicting in their quest for conkers. Perhaps if they were to plant their own autumn seeds and watch them grow, they’d learn a little respect for our countryside.

Playwright Chris York

Playwright Chris York

I decided this year I’d try and grow a few trees, starting with acorns. I’m sure many readers would enjoy this simple procedure, so do collect a few acorns between September and October, and place them in a bucket of water. Use only those which sink to the bottom.

Next, remove the cup at the base of any acorns, and decide on a container in which to grow seedlings. A plant pot or large yoghurt container, at least 20cm deep would be fine. Cut holes at the base, and place some small stones at the bottom to help drainage.

Fill the pot two-thirds full with good soil, and stand your pot on a saucer. Choose three healthy acorns and space them in the pot, covering with a layer of soil.

Cover your pot with a loosely tied plastic bag and leave outside. Cold nights will stimulate germination. Occasionally spray with water to keep the compost moist.

As soon as tips of seedlings appear, bring the pot indoors, remove the plastic bag and place your pot in a light place, but not bright sunlight.

Do ensure you water seedlings once or twice a week but don’t saturate them. When they are 75mm tall, plant each one in a bigger pot of its own and place them in light shade. Keep watering, and they’ll really start to grow.

Place the pots outside in the summer, and the following autumn you’ll be able to plant out your brand new saplings. I can’t wait to get started!

Now you remember I mentioned a fox which was sometimes seen sleeping on the lawn beneath a tree at Montrosa’s Residential Home, and it even rolled and consumed a gull? Well now, thanks to CCTV, it has been revealed where the fox gains entry to the grounds. Even a fox has no privacy!

Michael still continues feeding the birds at Montrosa, and with great success regarding goldfinches.

It took a little while before a single goldfinch arrived and sampled its special seeds. It wasted no time imparting the good news to a second goldfinch, and since then numbers have steadily increased to eight at one ‘sitting’!

Our neighbour has frog tadpoles in a small pond. These should develop from a limbless tailed form with external gills into a form with internal gills, limbs, and a reduced tail. Some remain limbless, and should soon be hibernating! Give them a small piece of raw liver for a treat.