Now that winter is here the garden is suffering from its annual problem with waterlogging. I was particularly concerned about a young pear tree, which was still standing in water several days after it had last rained:
I really want to establish a small orchard in this part of the garden and the pear tree is a trial to see whether it could work, but the trees won't be happy with these conditions. I'm not quite ready to abandon the idea yet, however - a few trees may even help improve the drainage - so I decided to try some localised improvement.
I started by taking the tree out and digging a larger hole for it. It quickly became obvious why the drainage was so poor in that area, within 9 inches of the surface I was digging solid clay. I perservered for as far as I could manage, then added a thick layer of gravel and new compost:
All was well for the next week, but then Storm Caroline hit. I checked the plant and there was quite a bit of water, but not as much as in some other parts of the garden:
It's not perfect but it's certainly an improvement. Storm Caroline was exceptional, we don't normally get that much rain in a short period, so I'm hoping the added drainage will work. I'll report back in a few months' time.