Recipe for a mirlo forest: today, Macaronesian Laurel

30 October 2014
Comments: 0
30 October 2014, Comments: 0

– 4200 m² of old volcano
– A handful of clouds, laden with water and mist
– 500 young laurel trees
– One good machine to turn the soil, if it has legs all the better
– A good handful of professional foresters
– A band of “mirlos” with determined hearts

The recipe, step by step

Stroll through this stretch of the volcano, take time to see what plants are growing, how much mist and rain it receives throughout the year, what the summer is like, how much vegetation grows in the rocky ground, how steep the slope is, what the birds tell you, where the most humidity accumulates, and discover that this is most certainly an ideal place for a laurel forest.

18 months beforehand, walk through the nearby mountains collecting fruit and seeds to grow the 500 trees. The most interesting ones come from faya, small-leaved holly, laurel, boxwood, Portuguese laurel, the more variety the better, but we need to be sure we maintain a good proportion of faya. Make sure they come from good vigorous stock, and choose the right moment so that these seeds and fruit are just about ready to germinate. Take them to the nursery, remove the husks and lay them out on trays in the germination room. Treat them to as much constant humidity and temperature as possible so that they germinate, and enjoy watching how the embryos break through the shells and start to grow upwards towards the light.

After a few months, transplant the little saplings into their containers, and look after them throughout the coming year. Check that their roots are developing properly throughout the entire root ball, and that they don’t lack for anything at any time.

At the end of the summer, or the start of autumn, start the work with the backhoe excavator (whether it has legs or not) and move all over the land, digging pits in the soil and leaving enough space between them so that our 500 trees can fit comfortably. If you turn up a lot of stones, move on and dig another one somewhere close by.

We’re nearly there. We just need to wait for it to rain, and for the water to soak into the soil. When the moment comes, ever so carefully, open up a small hole in the pits that you’ve opened, remove the tiny trees from their containers, taking care not to damage the root balls, place them in the holes, fill in the gaps with earth, stamp the ground down all around them so as not to leave air bubbles, and put the protective devices in place.

Leave them to rest, to bathe in the sun, to waft in the trade winds and to get wet when the rains of winter and spring come along.

Come back after the summer to replace those small plants that haven’t survived – if everything has gone according to plan, there shouldn’t be that many.

Your forest is now ready to begin growing and to leave positive footprint.

Enjoy for approximately 180 years :-)

Change your world. #BeMirlo..

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