As predicted in my last blog 2 weeks ago, I didn’t write anything last Sunday as I have been focussed on the same activity for 3 weeks – hedge cutting. I have made some good progress but have still not finished the job.
This is partly because we have had a number of days when I couldn’t make much progress. Either as the weather was too hot (and our guests were enjoying the sun in the peaceful surroundings of the garden), or too wet. Also I have done a few areas that I had not intended to do, although they required attention!
What it has done is reinforce my thought, if reinforcement were required, that I need to stay on top the cutting each year so that, in theory at least, the job should be quicker and easier when I do it.
We are reasonably pleased with how the hedges are starting to look around the garden. Seven years ago most of the hedging that existed had not been cut for a few years and needed serious taming and there were large areas of the boundary where nothing existed. Since then, we have planted over 300 separate plants of lonicera, holly, yew and griselina even a few privet to fill some gaps, and most are starting to resemble a hedge.
Sadly, while cutting the privet hedge that lines the front drive, we have found that the honey fungus which appeared a couple of years ago, has continued to spread. We had been trying to form an arch over the gate from the drive into the Granary garden but the fungus killed one side of it 2 years ago. It now seems to have infected the opposite side and spread to some of the other privet along the drive.
As we did before, we will slowly remove all of the privet and replace with griselinia which is supposed to be immune to the effects of the fungus.
The laurel hedge on our front boundary along Hent Gorreker has also had a mixed recovery from the major pruning I gave it some years ago. Half of it now resembles a pretty decent hedge but half wasn’t looking so good. Again, I think this is in part because I have not been able to cut it as often as I should (although both halves have been cut with equal frequency) so I have been a little harsher again on the less dense side in the hope that it will recover and thicken out in the spring.
The front entrance itself is looking sharper with the hedges trimmed, and will look even better when the new lonicera hedge we planted in April is fully grown.
One of the areas I hadn’t planned on doing initially, was to hack back the self-set sycamores and ash trees that had grown in the ‘untamed’ end of Granary’s garden. These plants were blocking light from getting to the inside of the hedge and so the growth was patchy in places and the hedge not very thick.
I didn’t take any ‘before’ pictures foolishly so you can’t really appreciate the difference but it should mean the hedge will grown more evenly in the future. Keeping it clear will be easier when the task of clearing this entire end of the garden makes it to the top of the list – probably sometime in 2025 the way things are going …
The second unplanned but much needed hack, was to the talus on our rear lawn which borders Hent Gorreker. A talus is effectively a stone wall or bank used over the centuries to mark boundaries. This one is where we have planted lots of young yew and holly plants and have cut down 8 tall but very spindly ash trees.
Both yew and holly can take a few years to get established before it begins to grow more rapidly but we think we are now at that stage and it too will need regular trimming. At the base of the talus is a drainage ditch which had become overgrown with bramble, fern and rhododendron much of which was rooted into the talus itself hiding what is a very attractive wall but also destabilising some of the stones as the roots and trunks expand.
In years to come the easiest way of trimming the hedge on the Hent Gorreker side, is for me to stand in the drainage ditch so I wanted to clear it, and it looks much better having done so. Again, foolishly no ‘before’ picture so you’ll have to take my word for it how much I needed to remove.
Now I need to ensure I make the time to run along the talus a couple of times a year with a hedge cutter and it will be a much easier job!
In future years this hedge will look fantastic even if it takes a bit of imagination just now.
Next week – more of the same I’m afraid but, if the weather is kind, I should get it finished and be able to go back to clearing the garage (which is currently my shredding space for most of the hedge cuttings). All good progress, even if not great blog material! Sorry.