Ta Daa!!

Wilderness Wm




Wilderness clearing 001 Wm








You can see how long it’s taken.. if not from the advancing season, then from the progressive greening of the roof!

I wanted to get this work done before winter sets in, as preparation for next year. Having cleared out the bank, I now have somewhere to re-home the perennials that I evict from the terraced beds on the other side of the house. Next Spring will be all about moving things around and hopefully the summer show will be better as a result.

The pressure is off a bit now. If we have a few mild days over the winter, and the ground less of a quagmire than it is today, I can enjoy pootling around with a hand fork or a hoe. All through this job new weedlings have been shadowing my progress, insidiously sprouting the moment my back was turned. Getting some plants into this bare earth will be a priority now. And in the meantime, I suppose, digging the thorns out of my fingers for a few days yet. There were a lot of brambles in there..


 Linking up with Helen at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog, where you will find many other gardeners and their projects this November.


2018-02-17T09:54:57+00:00November 30th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. wherefivevalleysmeet November 30, 2013 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    Well done Jessica and what a great sense of satisfaction you must have. I just love the way your pretty thatched cottage sits snuggled up in its private location.

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 5:15 pm - Reply

      The situation of the house was one of the things I loved about it. But ideally I would like to take out a few more of the adjacent trees. When we moved in, this bank had 28 very large coniferous trees on it… way too close to the roof. I felt vulnerable whenever the wind blew!

  2. Pauline November 30, 2013 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    Wow, you have worked hard, that is a very steep slope you have there, it will certainly keep you fit working on it! I can imagine you abseiling down it to do your planting next spring, I’m sure it will be wonderful when planted up.

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 5:30 pm - Reply

      It’s awful working on it, and that’s not the steepest bit by any means… I keep meaning to get some crampons!

  3. Joanne November 30, 2013 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    It must be a great feeling now that it is cleared, happy planning!

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 5:31 pm - Reply

      It certainly is. I gave myself a day off today as a reward!

  4. Natalie November 30, 2013 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Ooooh, I do love a thatched roof! Things that just don’t work in Canada. 🙂 Great work on that bed.
    One thing I particularly like about winter here is getting a total rest from garden work. When I lived in British Columbia, it was more like England; things were happening in the garden almost all year. But here, things go to sleep around Oct/Nov and nothing gets going again until late March. Same for the beekeeping! 🙂

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 5:43 pm - Reply

      As a fair weather gardener I tend to keep the same hours. It does have to be a really nice winter day to get me out. There are not very many of those!

  5. elaine November 30, 2013 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Well done Jessica, you really do have the most unusual garden with all sorts of problems to contend with. You are doing a marvellous job and isn’t it lovely to see the before and after pictures – give yourself a pat on the back from me.

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 5:49 pm - Reply

      I will! Thanks Elaine. When we get to January I will have been recording the progress on the garden for a year. The blog has been a great discipline. It will be lovely to look back.

  6. Denise November 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Marvellous stuff! It’s very satisfying to look back on photos taken over a period of time to see the impressive progress one makes in these projects, isn’t it? Fingers crossed for a few mild days so you can do some happy pootling!

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 5:55 pm - Reply

      It is very satisfying to look back, and often I don’t think I’ve made much progress until I do just that. Pootling and pottering – my favourite activities! And frequently the most productive, actually.

  7. Crafty Gardener November 30, 2013 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    The views in those photos really accentuate the slope/grade of the land you are dealing with. Great job on all that clearing out. Looking forward to seeing the results in the spring.

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      It is actually even steeper than the photos show, particularly at the top. The gradient levels out a bit further down and then drops off behind the house like the edge of a cliff!

  8. Amy at love made my home November 30, 2013 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Wow, you have done an amazing amount of work there Jessica, it will look wonderful next year with your new and moved plants in there! xx

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      Thanks Amy. I hope so! It will take a lot of plants though, so may need to do it in stages.

  9. Alison Collins November 30, 2013 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    We’ll done! That is some amount of hard work. I am so loving seeing your gorgeous home and garden coming back to life:-) Take care, Alison.

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Alison, thanks and welcome to rusty duck!
      It is very hard work. When we bought the house I was bowled over by the potential, and somehow managed to gloss over just how much work would actually be involved..

  10. woolythymes November 30, 2013 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    i so admire your tenacity!! great job!!! (i always wonder how my weeds grow all winter, too, while everything else lies dormant??? inquiring minds want to know)

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 6:14 pm - Reply

      Weeds will always manage to grow more strongly than anything else. Nothing seems to eat them, whatever the weather they just bounce back. It is one of life’s great injustices.

  11. Well done! What a job and on a slope like that. Do you use ropes? Now if the weather turns too cold you can sit and lick your wounds and feel pleased with yourself.

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm - Reply

      I should buy some ropes along with the crampons! It’s turned cold already, bloomin’ freezing today. It felt very good to be able to look at it from the other side of the window with a mug of coffee in hand. Thanks Chloris.

  12. Sue@GLAllotments November 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    Hopefully the relentless progress of the weeds will snow as winter sets in. I know exactly how it feels to have thorny fingers, I’ve had some that although I can feel them are devils to find.

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 6:21 pm - Reply

      I have supposedly thorn proof gloves too, it doesn’t seem to make much difference. Berberis is the worst.

  13. SeagullSuzie November 30, 2013 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Oh I’d have an achy back after all that work-looks great though. I have brambles in my skin-especially when you grasp a clump of weeds without seeing the brambles-ouch!

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      Back and knees… from climbing up and down the slope all day. Oh yes, ouch! I’ve done that too. And nettles.

  14. Bilbowaggins November 30, 2013 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    Oh my goodness, what a colossal achievement, very well done! You are fortunate to be able to move perennials this late in the year. I guess one advantage of that slope is good drainage?

    If I moved anything herbaceous at this time of year it would probably rot during the winter, makes for a busy Spring :}

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 6:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks Bilbo. I stopped moving things about a month ago, about when we took the second picture, so I’ll have a busy Spring too. The slope is reasonably well drained. It is clay so stays claggy most of the winter. But the worst of the rain runs off and collects in a French drain which then channels it away from the house.

  15. 1princerupert1 November 30, 2013 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    Fingers crossed for some dry, milder weather for you. Next year will be beautiful!

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 6:36 pm - Reply

      I hope so! At least the hardest job is done. Shifting things around if they don’t look quite right is a much more enjoyable task.

  16. Janet/Plantaliscious November 30, 2013 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Nice job Jessica, colour me impressed! Both by the work and by the slope – positively precipitous. But what a wonderful planting opportunity… Love your thatched roof.

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm - Reply

      In an ideal world I’d have it all meadowy or prairie like up there, with lots of grasses blowing in the wind. But given the slope it’s probably too high maintenance. I’ll settle for a select range of shrubs that look after themselves.

  17. Wendy November 30, 2013 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Fantastic progress – well done! I love the thatched roof too; what a lovely cottage you have.
    And you have my sympathy re: thorns – I’m currently moving rose bushes about.

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 6:46 pm - Reply

      Oh, roses are just as bad.
      There is quite a lot of thatch down here. What I don’t like is the way the straw goes green in winter, all the rain! It burns off in a dry summer like we’ve just had. The year before it was green all year.
      Thanks Wendy.

  18. haggiz November 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    wow I hadn’t realised quite how steep that slope is! Great job on the clearing. Looking forward to seeing it next Spring and Summer. Julie x

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Julie. I’m not confident of getting it right first time though.. next year might be work in progress!

  19. justjilluk November 30, 2013 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    You have done an amazing job there, I do so wish I hadnt lost the plot healthwise. The garden here I know what I would do with.

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 7:02 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jill. From what I’ve seen of your garden it looks lovely already.
      I would get help in here if it didn’t cost so much. We are making progress but it’s far too slow.

  20. Suzanne Dutchess County, NY, USA November 30, 2013 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    That is impressive. That’s a lot of pulling and hauling. You now see the light at the end. Well done!
    There will always be infiltrators sneaking back in when your not looking. Thorns are the worst. They hurt and fester before you can get them out. I have used a drawing salve. Here I think it’s called icthammol?
    It’s kind of tarry and I put it on at night and wear an old but clean sock on my hands so I don’t get the salve on my sheets or in my hair, etc.
    Is that irrigation I see in the photo? Lots of fun ahead.

    • Jessica November 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks Suzanne!
      I will look up the salve.
      It is irrigation. I am hoping we’ll only need it for a year or two while things establish. But it’s a south facing slope. They will frazzle in a dry year without it, and I don’t fancy carrying cans of water up that hill every day!

  21. Brismod November 30, 2013 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    Weeds are the bane of my gardening life too! You’ve made such great progress though. xx

    • Jessica December 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm - Reply

      Your garden looks so lush! A favourable climate for ornamental plants and weeds. Thanks Brismod.

  22. Vera November 30, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Oh well done Jessica. Now how are you fixed for coming and sorting out our front garden. But only if you have a minute or two, or a week, or a even perhaps a month of so free. It is in a mess! But it is on the flat. And as a bonus, you could always involved the goats and sheep and cows and chickens and geese, all of whom would enjoy helping you, although unfortunately would not differentiate between what is supposed to be growing and what is not supposed to be growing!
    Seriously though, we used to have a back garden which went up steeply into woodland. It was not very big, but it was tough going. Well done for your efforts. I shall look forward to seeing how it progresses.

    • Jessica December 1, 2013 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      Thanks Vera. Now that sounds like good fun! Count me in.
      I thought of you this morning. We were in Tesco and they were selling chocolate flavoured Baileys. Hmmmm, not sure..

  23. islandthreads November 30, 2013 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    well done Jessica, that’s a job an a half there, your hill is much, much steeper that mine, if you can cover the ground with something it will help stop the new weeds growing, I realise though that on such a slope it will be hard, enjoy your coffee and new clear view, Frances

    • Jessica December 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm - Reply

      Thanks Frances. I’m just hoping that there will be a natural slowdown of weed growth over the winter. And that I can plant it up quickly enough to get some soil coverage next year.

  24. Cathy November 30, 2013 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    Ha ha, on first glance people might think it was all in a day’s work Jessica – you wish! You can indeed be truly proud of your progress and I look forward to seeing how the slope progresses next year too.

    • Jessica December 1, 2013 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cathy. Things do seem to grow well up there, so fingers crossed.

  25. CJ November 30, 2013 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    Wow, that’s a serious amount of hard work you’ve put in. It must be very satisfying to see it now it’s done though. Hope you get to have a bit of a rest tomorrow!

    • Jessica December 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      A rest, and time to plan the next project! Thanks CJ, it’s very good to get it done. Big bonfire now for all the rubbish.

  26. Anna December 1, 2013 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    Well done you – that must have involved some blood, sweat and tears Jessica! I’m dizzy just looking at your photo 🙂 Are you roped on to anything? Look forward to seeing what you plant in the bare spaces.

    • Jessica December 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      No tears that I can remember, but the other two more than made up for it.
      Old tree roots and stumps are useful for wedging a foot up against, or for holding on to!

  27. Jo December 1, 2013 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Phew! I bet you’re glad you’re at the end of that job. Great progress and I look forward to seeing what you do with the space next year.

    • Jessica December 1, 2013 at 6:15 pm - Reply

      There may have been a glass of something at the end of it..

  28. Helen Johnstone December 1, 2013 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    Bravo and I think you are madder than me! Looking forward to seeing how things progress next year and I’m glad to find another continual plant mover.

    • Jessica December 1, 2013 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      Hi Helen and welcome to rusty duck.
      I put so much thought into where plants should go and always think, this time, I’ve got it right. But it never is. Colours don’t work or the plants grow to dimensions that bear no relationship at all with the guidelines printed on the label. So I have become a continual plant mover. And actually am coming to enjoy it, how satisfying it is when it all finally comes together!

  29. snowbird December 1, 2013 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Oh well done you! I spend my life removing thorns too……sighs. What is it with weeds, they NEVER stop growing. I’m a continual plant mover too….xxx

    • Jessica December 2, 2013 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      It’s the weeds with underground networks, like ground elder, that drive me mad. You have to get out every last little bit or they’ll be back. Good survival strategy!

  30. Em December 1, 2013 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    VERY impressive. What a difference!

    • Jessica December 2, 2013 at 2:42 pm - Reply

      Thanks Em. Now just have to keep it looking like that!

  31. CherryPie December 2, 2013 at 12:16 am - Reply

    Wow! it is looking great after you efforts.

    • Jessica December 2, 2013 at 2:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cherie. I hope maintaining it will be easier!

  32. nataliescarberry December 2, 2013 at 3:12 am - Reply

    Whew, is right! That was quite a job. Can’t wait to see what you do with all of it for the spring. Hope you’ve gotten the thorns out. I’ve got a rose thorn in my thumb I need to work on. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

    • Jessica December 2, 2013 at 2:48 pm - Reply

      Ouch! Rose thorns are not nice either. I never realise how much I use my thumb until its got a thorn in it.

  33. Jenny December 2, 2013 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Hooray! Well done, I’m sure you’ll beat the weeds yet. Its looking great now its all cleared, and now theres a bit empty space for you to fill with whatever you fancy 🙂

    • Jessica December 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm - Reply

      Just in time for more cold weather too.. it’s freezing out there today.

  34. Simone December 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Good job! It is great to have the space in which to put spare plants.

    • Jessica December 2, 2013 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Thanks Simone. Now comes the exciting bit of deciding what goes where.

  35. Sarah December 2, 2013 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    You have worked so hard in your garden it is so tidy and looks quite challenging – it puts our garden to shame. This time of year is a good time to get things in order before the cold weather and bulbs appear. You deserve a rest now!
    Sarah x

    • Jessica December 2, 2013 at 10:33 pm - Reply

      It is challenging. This is the spot where Mike fell off the edge and cracked (or broke) his ribs! I treat it with renewed respect. There is still a lot to do to keep the weeds down, but with cold winter coming this week it is time for a break. Thanks Sarah.

  36. Dee December 2, 2013 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Love the term “pootling.” Great one! Thanks for the sweet words about my greenhouse. It’s a lot of fun.~~Dee

    • Jessica December 2, 2013 at 10:35 pm - Reply

      Your greenhouse is lovely Dee and looks really sturdy too… enjoy pootling in it!

  37. Josephine December 3, 2013 at 2:35 am - Reply

    A job well-done !
    Hope the weather holds off for a little bit longer, and gives you the chance to complete your list.
    You have the most delightful cottage, complete with a thatched roof….what more could one want in life !

    • Jessica December 3, 2013 at 10:19 am - Reply

      Thanks Jo. The cottage is lovely, but like everywhere else has its challenges!

  38. young at heart December 4, 2013 at 7:45 am - Reply

    not being naturally green fingered I’vealways quite enjoyed the digging bit…..I think I like the instant result!!

    • Jessica December 4, 2013 at 10:03 am - Reply

      It is very satisfying. Until about a week later when the weeds start to regrow..

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