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The pre-Easter rhododendron border


A bullet has been well and truly bitten this weekend. Something I’ve been meaning to do for years.

I can’t remember how it started, possibly Mike suggesting that we trim the rhododendrons back “a bit”. They got in the way of the mower you see. And we can’t have that now can we.

My own thoughts with regard to those shrubs have always gone decidedly further than “un peu”. There is another level below the lawn and beyond that, the river. A potentially longer view. The rhodos meanwhile have a fairly short season of interest and for the rest of the year we’re looking at a wall of green. It’s bad enough now, but imagine how it feels in summer when those trees are also in leaf.


The time had come.


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Coffee break

Possibly a little late for a change of heart..


According to my research, rhodos respond well to being cut hard back. It should ideally be done in February or March. Spring is a bit late this year, so I’m hoping they’ll let me off the extra four days.

The plan is to see if they re-sprout from the base, as indeed they should. Those which survive we’ll move to a more suitable location. Believe it or not there are about ten separate plants in that short row, all competing for space and growing into each other. And to add insult to injury they were planted still in their plastic pots. Some of the pots little over a foot wide. They’ve done well to thrive at all.


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Ta Daa!


To me, the whole balance of the garden has changed. The eye no longer stops at a blank wall of green. It immediately travels to what lies beyond. Even if what lies beyond is a lot more work. Such is the life of a renovator.

There’s another bonus too. Before laying in with the loppers my plan for the future was to finish off the new perimeter of the lawn with a low hedge. In hacking back the rhododendrons we discovered that a hedge is already here. You can see it clearly from the previous two pictures; in the second of the two it’s shown cut back to about a foot in height. Lonicera nitida I think.


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The lonicera hedge with the river beyond.


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From a vantage point in the house it’s clear how much lawn we could reclaim with the rhododendrons moved.


Those two large trees are next. Not looking pretty having been previously lopped, the right hand one already half dead and shedding branches.

There’s to be a stake out. Somewhere down by the river.

A director’s folding chair. Binoculars. A flask of coffee.

To make sure there are no birds a-nesting. Assuming there aren’t, the lumberjacks are coming in.