I’m one tooled up blogger!

My day-to-day business on the farm involves so much management of plant and tree life that a watering can and a chainsaw have recently become unexpectedly vital tools.

Outside, I have three eight-litre seed trays filled with heather seeds from a company in the Highlands which specialises in shipping authentic Scottish plants and seeds to homesick ex-pats in Canada and New Zealand.

I have no illusions about replanting the grouse moor.

This little side project is an experiment to learn more about heather.

The seeds themselves were absolutely tiny.

They needed to be frozen before sowing so that they would germinate, and the accompanying paperwork told me that they would take between three and six months to emerge.

Sure enough, feeble strands emerged after a tedious wait of 16 weeks.

They were instantly dismantled and devoured by a crack team of slugs, but one has survived to illustrate just how slowly heather grows.

After six months, it is only 9mm high.

I was told that cuttings are a good way to produce rarer trees on the cheap, and I have been making forays in that direction over the past three months.

I have now accumulated 25 juniper cuttings for the black grouse, as well as half a dozen unidentified conifers which I lopped off from next door’s garden when they poked their branches too far over the boundary fence.

How a twig can become a separate tree is a mystery, and I can’t help wondering if I was to cut my thumb off, dip it in rooting powder and plant it out in a pot whether a genetically identical copy of myself would grow.

Maybe that is an experiment for another day.

The views expressed on Patrick Laurie’s blog are the author’s and not the views of Shooting Gazette, ShootingUK, IPC Media or its employees. www.gallowayfarm.wordpress.com