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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.


2017-10-24T19:32:47+00:00April 7th, 2015|Tags: , |


  1. Marian St.Clair April 7, 2015 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    You’re on a roll! Strike while the iron is hot. It’s going to be fabulous.

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      It’s very tempting!

  2. Helen Johnstone April 7, 2015 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    How exciting. I remember many years ago we had a vast laurel and I decided to lightly prune it, by the end of the day it was a stump, then removed and I gained the slope at the back of the garden!
    The new view looks so much more open and inviting, encouraging you to explore. Do you own the land down to the river – am jealous. I would get the tree surgeons in pdq before any birds get any ideas

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      Yes, the river forms the boundary. There are two paths down to it although both are fairly hazardous at the moment. And when the nettles and cow parsley start to grow, impassable!
      Have a look at the post that’s come up as related, A Light Bulb Moment. It contains pictures of Derry Watkins’ gorgeous garden. It’s where I got the inspiration for the low hedge.

  3. AnnetteM April 7, 2015 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    That is so much better without the rhododendrons. You now have a lovely view. I will be interested to see whether your rhododendrons regrow. I pruned a ‘Cunningham’s White’ last year and although it has plenty of new growth I am going to have a very poor show of blooms this year. I have also been thinking about doing something drastic with the back hedge as there is so much ground being taken up with big shrubs. I am a bit scared though as we have a lovely barrier to the next garden, but the shrubs are really getting too big. I am wondering if I could do a drastic prune instead of removing things. The shrub I would miss most would be an Eleagnus which is so bright all year round.

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      I thought about a less drastic prune, but the rhodos were all bare wood under the top layer of leaves. It wouldn’t have got me very far. Sometimes the only solution is to prune all the way back and get the shrub to re-sprout from the base. It was a shame to cut off all our flower buds though, I don’t suppose I’ll see any more for a couple of years at least.

  4. Linda aka Crafty Gardener April 7, 2015 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    Sometimes you just have to be brave and cut things right back. The plants will probably thrive, you will like it and it really does change the look of the view of the garden.

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 8:43 pm - Reply

      I really like the new view and if the plants regrow I’ll treat them to a position with much more space. They are useful in that they provide so much evergreen ground cover, I’ve got the perfect spot in mind for them.

  5. Jane and Lance Hattatt April 7, 2015 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    You have most definitely bitten the proverbial bullet here, Jessica, and with what a remarkable result. To have opened up the view of the river in this way is, as you clearly acknowledge, not only to allow the eye to go to the borrowed landscape beyond the garden but also to incorporate a feature, the river, into the whole garden. As is always the case, of course, one thing rapidly leads to another!

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      The view will change dramatically during the summer when the lower level gets totally overgrown with weed. If we have time we’ll have to do some serious chopping back to retain the open feel. It will be worth it though I think.

  6. Pauline April 7, 2015 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    So much better to have a view of the river. Your Rhodos should grow back, mine usually do when they get too fat for the path through them! Just think of all the new space you will have for planting, the possibilities are endless!

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 8:50 pm - Reply

      They are. This is my future bog garden.. for obvious reasons the soil stays permanently moist down there. It won’t be this year, but I will have fun researching the plants that will be best suited to it.

  7. Sigrun April 7, 2015 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    You are very uncompromising! But the Rhodos will backfire, I know it! A view on the river is beautiful!


    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      The rhodos will be back I’m sure. If they have made it through the conditions they were planted in they must really want to survive.

  8. pbmgarden April 7, 2015 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    The river view is a nice reward for taking command of the rhododendron.

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      It’s nice to be able to see it at last, as well as hear it. There is more that we can do yet, to open up the view.

  9. Rosie April 7, 2015 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Wow, that has opened out a whole new visita for you. Our local gardens are getting rid of all rhododendrons from beneath the trees on the lakeside and opening up new paths of vision, the differencet is quite astounding. Lots more hard work but well worth the effort:)

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      They are quite invasive. These had spread a ridiculous amount in recent years, we were in danger of losing the lawn. And I much prefer the view.

  10. Simone April 7, 2015 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    You have opened up so many more opportunities Jessica! 🙂

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      I hope so Simone. The problem with seeing so much more of the garden is that I now need to keep it tidy!

  11. cherylwest2015 April 7, 2015 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    Gardens are always evolving and this is definitely a change for the better. It will be so much nicer having your river view and a feeling of more open space. I did not know that rhododendrons could be cut back hard like that so I have learned from your post. Happy clearing.

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      I hope it works and I’m not left with a load of stumps for ever more. It may be best not to try it at home until we see how my experiment turns out! It is quite claustrophobic in summer. You can see how close the trees are to the area where we usually sit.. most of the time in the shade.

  12. sustainablemum April 7, 2015 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Wow, what a difference! Many birds have yet to start building nests so I would be for chopping quickly before they do!

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      The wheels have been put in motion so to speak.

  13. Alain April 7, 2015 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    You don’t do things by half! I am sure it will turn out to be an improvement. Since we are on basic soil, people who try to grow rhodos here have to cosset them. It is funny to see them being treated like any other old shrubs!

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      I like to see them as a pop of colour from a distance, ideally between trees. I have to confess, up close they are a bit too blowsy for me. Any other old shrub is a good description!

  14. Jacquline April 7, 2015 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    Even though it looked good before, it is going to be even better now ….. so lovely to see the river. A job well done and I look forward to seeing it later in the year Jessica. XXXX

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      It will be full of weeds taller than me (not an ambitious target, even for a weed). Thanks Jackie.

  15. Jo April 7, 2015 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    I think your new view of the river is worth that hard work, fabulous. You never do things by halves though, do you?

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      I was aching a bit that night. The branches were surprisingly easy to cut through, except for the very thickest ones. It was hurling them on to the pile and then raking the lawn afterwards (especially that). I needed the glass of wine.

  16. justjilluk April 7, 2015 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    Yours is really a magical garden. With a talented Magician!

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      I wish I had a magic wand!
      Hope you’re feeling much better Jill.

  17. Denise April 7, 2015 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    Ooooh, great improvement, Mrs Muscle Workout Lady! I’ve always thought of rhododendrons as being a bit parasitic. The view down to the river is lovely.

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      Now you see why I need Mr Poldark. There’s a lot of weeds need scything..

  18. Alison April 7, 2015 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Wow! What an enormous difference! Do you actually want more lawn? I’m fascinated to see what your view will be without those two dying trees.

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      No, I don’t necessarily want more lawn, but it did need to be a more regular shape. Which hopefully we’ll now have with a bit of tidying up of the hedge. It does make a tremendous difference. More than I’d dared hope!

  19. Christina April 7, 2015 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    Dear Jessica, that was a pretty brave decision and I think from a design standpoint the right one. Removing the rhododendrons visually opened up the whole area a lot and it somehow feels much spacier than the actual free space you have created by cutting them back. I can not believe that these rhododendrons were planted in a little bit over a foot wide containers. It truly amazes me how well they have done under these circumstances. Your garden must offer them ideal conditions to grow!
    Warm regards,

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 9:49 pm - Reply

      Judging from the number of them around, Devon does seem to provide an ideal climate for rhodos.
      I feel differently about the garden now. Previously it was the garden and the wood. Now the wood is part of the garden. Even the birds seem to be singing louder!

  20. Freda April 7, 2015 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Brava! And the badly lopped trees. Go, Jessica!

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 9:50 pm - Reply

      At one point Mike was going to chop them down himself.. now he’s seen how big they are we’ll be getting the experts in (phew!).

  21. Jennifer April 7, 2015 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    Good for you. It looks strange at first but you get used to it quickly and then you love it. At least that’s how it usually goes for me when I finally get the strength to do a big chop. I like your yard very much and it’s looking better and better all the time.

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 9:52 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jennifer. I do know what you mean, empty space takes a bit of getting used to. Then I start thinking about how many new plants I can buy..

  22. Charles Lock April 7, 2015 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    Fantastic amount of spce. As a fisherman I am entirely sympathetic to your need to see the river although even now I would say that it would be a challenging proposition to get a fly onto it.. Judging by the shadows you are going to get an imense amount of extra light with the two trees gone.

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      You would spend an awful lot of time disentangling the fly from the trees. I’ve never seen any fish in the river either. It reminds me very much of those on Dartmoor, shallow and bubbling over rocks. Very restful.
      The trees are square in the middle of our south facing view. The increase in light, inside and out, should be quite amazing.

  23. Kris P April 7, 2015 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    It looks great already! I had some trepidation at the start of your post but the results are impressive. It’s amazing that the rhododendrons were planted in their non-degradable plastic pots (a quick fix by former owners preparing the house for sale perhaps?) but I suppose that may make them easier to move. You have a very nice view of the river – that in itself has to be a major boon.

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 10:03 pm - Reply

      I think they had read advice about keeping rhodos in pots in ericaceous compost. To have survived the roots must have broken out of the pots by now in any case. I too am hoping that it will make them easier to get out, but it may be a forlorn hope.

  24. Em April 7, 2015 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    SO much better. Not a fan of the Rhododendron myself so I was always going to side with the chop! x

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 10:05 pm - Reply

      They will have their uses if they survive. I was going to put them on the lower side of the 84 steps, they can block the ugly view of the back of the outhouses.

  25. Amy at love made my home April 7, 2015 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Wow, what a difference it makes!! I have been cutting back some large shrubs here and was surprised at how much space it made, but it has really opened up your views and given a great feeling of space without making it all just wide open! Fantastic job!! xx

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 10:10 pm - Reply

      Thanks Amy. The view is pretty much what I get from the study. I have been sitting at my desk the last couple of evenings keeping tabs on Ptolemy. He likes to stroll along the river bank just as it gets dark. It’s a bird’s life.

  26. frayed at the edge April 7, 2015 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    I did once cut a rhodo down to the ground (it had been growing out sideways from under a large shrub. It grew back into a healthy plant. It looks so much better with the view opened up. I hope the lumberjacks are young and handsome – sorry, I meant efficient!!

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 10:20 pm - Reply

      The tree surgeons have been here before. They were just as you describe. Efficient too. 🙂

  27. Trilliums? April 7, 2015 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    Wow. Looks much better. As you say, opens up the view, allows you to expand the lawn. Job well done, me thinks.

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      Mr Trillium, thank you and welcome to rusty duck.
      I’m presuming the rhizomes would rot if I planted them down by the river. A shame really, it’s about the only place I’ve never seen any mice! #drownedrats

  28. snowbird April 7, 2015 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    A fantastic improvement! It’s a shame you haven’t been able to see the river before, such a wonderful feature, and now you’ll get to see more wildlife too!xxx

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 10:32 pm - Reply

      It’s the pheasant’s stomping ground, the deer are down there as well. I should get a good view of them from the house now. We’re thinking of getting one of those wildlife field cameras too. There must be so much going on that I don’t know about, especially at night.

  29. paxton3 April 7, 2015 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    It makes such a difference, and I totally agree with you on rhododendrons too. Now you can see the river, and observe its’ comings and goings to your hearts content.
    Leanne xx

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      It does change quite a bit over the course of the seasons. At the top of its banks and dramatically fast flowing after a winter storm, down to a trickle in a dry summer. The pictures are deceptive but it’s about 15 feet below the level of the house, which gives me much comfort.

  30. Beth @ PlantPostings April 7, 2015 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    The view is much-improved. Sad to lose the trees, but if they’re unhealthy it does make sense. We have a couple of huge, old Oaks that will probably have to come down soon–they’re near the house and I fear they’re hollow in the middle, which poses a threat to the house and the people in it. But it’s always sad to see a tree go down. You seem to have a reasonable plan, though. 🙂

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 10:40 pm - Reply

      Quite a few trees down by the river have fallen of their own accord and need clearing out. The big trees by the lawn are definitely unhealthy, or at least one of them is. I was in the greenhouse one day last winter and heard a huge crack.. a branch fell about eight feet away from the glass.

  31. Sarah April 7, 2015 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    What a difference the view you have discovered is so lovely! With your home and garden one thing always seems to lead to another,,,! Sarah x

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 10:43 pm - Reply

      Doesn’t it just! It keeps things interesting but there are never enough hours in the day.

  32. Dorothy @ The Nature of Things April 7, 2015 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Congratulations on your breakthrough. It really opens things up and brings up new possibilities. Sometimes change is good, as it certainly appears to be in this case.

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      I wondered if a previous owner had this view before. There must have been a reason for the hedge behind the dense screen of rhododendrons. It’s got me thinking about how much this place must have changed over time and what life must have been like for previous inhabitants.

  33. Anna April 7, 2015 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    I imagine that both you and the rhoddies are delighted that you took the plunge Jessica. How cruel that such big plants were planted out in still in their pots :(Now you will be able to see any ducks that might paddle by.

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 10:51 pm - Reply

      We’ve heard ducks and fleetingly seen a pair of mallards. I live in hope. I dare say the pheasants would see them off if they looked like they were staying.

  34. mattb325 April 7, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    What an amazing new view. I normally love rhododendrons, but not when they’ve been left in their plastic pots in the ground…it is a wonder they actually lived at all! That new slope to the river offers plenty of possibilities…can’t wait to see what happens there 🙂

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      I can only see the rims of the pots and can’t get them out so I presume the roots have broken through and become all tangled up in them now. It just goes to prove there was no need to plant them like that. The soil is acid enough for the plants to thrive.

  35. Jayne Hill April 7, 2015 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    Speaking from experience I’d say you are unlikely EVER to regret opening up a view. Depending upon your position though, you could well be opening yourself up to prevailing winds (also speaking from experience!). Will you take out those two trees yourself or “get a man in” {snigger}. Just think of all the firewood :-}

    • Jessica April 7, 2015 at 11:03 pm - Reply

      Mike was going to attempt it, until he saw how big they are.. so we’ll get a man in! Seriously, they have the training and the proper kit. Much safer.
      It would open up only the southerly aspect, the hill is behind us, sheltering the north wind and the trees filter to the east and west. It’s a proper little microclimate. Quite often I’ll climb the hill to go out somewhere, find it’s several degrees colder up top and have to go back for a jacket.

  36. Suzanne April 7, 2015 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    It’s looking wonderful! The view is fab. It’s so SPRING there. Here the snow has almost melted. Just a few more spots to go. Now if the rain would cease I could get out there and start the spring clean.

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 8:23 pm - Reply

      In the last couple of days I’ve noticed mega changes. From a late start everything seems to have caught up and some, the last week the weather has been marvellous. I have tender fuchsias in bloom! I want to slow it all down a bit, it is NOT summer yet!

  37. Amy April 8, 2015 at 2:09 am - Reply

    It must feel great to have that view opened up! For obvious reasons, I had qualms about removal of anything green and growing, but the arrival of space and light is worth it! Best of luck with the tree crew’s work – definitely the way to go in my opinion…! It will be perfectly lovely looking down onto the river… 🙂

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      Yes, I can understand your qualms. But with all the rain here things grow a little too exuberantly!

  38. hoehoegrow April 8, 2015 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Bold moves indeed ! It can be such a fantastic feeling to bite that bullet and make changes . It’s a bit like having your hair cut though, as you can look in the mirror and give a small, involuntary squeak but it’s always worth it in the end !

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 8:43 pm - Reply

      It does take a bit of getting used to. It’s still kind of odd going outside and finding it all so open. But I am seeing all sorts of things now I didn’t know were there. Not all of them welcome.. rabbits!!

  39. jannaschreier April 8, 2015 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    You are a brave lady, but oh, so much better. Isn’t it nice when a plan comes together?

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      Absolutely. The garden feels so much more integrated now. And having made a bold move so early in the season I’m all fired up to do more!

  40. Joanne April 8, 2015 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    How exiting, lots and lots of opportunity for you xx

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      And lots and lots of hard graft..

  41. Vera April 8, 2015 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    Nice view you have now, ……it makes me feel as if I would like to explore the land beyond the lawn now, rather than being shut in by a green wall of shrubs….

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      Our river is not on a par with yours, more of a stream really. But I love the sound of gurgling water… or rushing water after a big storm!

  42. Karen at Lady of LaMancha April 8, 2015 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    I can’t help but laugh! Our gardening priorities are completely opposed. Where you see a wall of green, I see longed-for green lushness, privacy and shade, something that is severely lacking in my garden. While I fully agree that the final result will be spectacular, I am so envious of your cast-offs!

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      All things are relative aren’t they. And I long for your hot, hot, hot sunny days and blue skies. I’d be more than willing to give up on a bit of rain soaked lushness!

  43. Rick Nelson April 8, 2015 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    Your vista has opened up beautifully but what I can’t understand is why it is recommended that Rhododendrons are best pruned back in February or March when the majority haven’t flowered. Many of mine have contracted a rather nasty sooty mould, which is rather worrying as it is typically formed on the honeydew following an aphid, whitefly or scale insect infestation none of which which I noticed, however I will let them flower before cutting them right back this year.

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      I have to confess I was surprised too and hated cutting off all the flower buds. Apparently it is best to get them before the sap starts to rise:

      • Rick Nelson April 11, 2015 at 8:50 pm - Reply

        Thanks for the link Jessica, I am going to take the information as a recommendation rather than written in stone.

        • Jessica April 11, 2015 at 9:12 pm - Reply

          I take that approach with most things. But I’ve been wanting to deal with these rhodos for so long that in the end we just bit the bullet. I hope I didn’t leave it too late… sap has well and truly risen in the last week. Suddenly it feels almost like summer. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  44. 1gus1 April 8, 2015 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    Rhododendrons are thugs (but
    I do like them!!) What a wonderful vista you have discovered:-)

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      Their thuggish quality will be valued in their new location.. should they choose to accept the challenge and live to fight another day.

  45. Laura April 8, 2015 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    A view of the river! So very nice to not have it hidden behind bushes…but I’m still in shock that they managed to grow like that while still in pots!

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      Me too.. I have tried lifting some but it isn’t going to be easy. I think the roots bust out of the pots long ago.

  46. wherethejourneytakesme April 8, 2015 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    I trimmed my Rhododendron a few years ago and it is looking like it needs another chop. Mine is the opposite to yours as it is placed to block the view as it forms part of the secret entrance into the woodland walk. I think you have gained a beautiful view chopping yours down and it will feel quite open when the trees go. When we opened up a bit by felling a couple of trees the weeds went rampant with the new rush of sunlight!!

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      Ah… yes. That may well be a problem. Plus I’m now looking down on a wilderness. Not so bad in early spring.. but when the brambles and nettles start to grow?

  47. Sarah Shoesmith April 9, 2015 at 7:17 am - Reply

    That was a weekend well spent! It’s unbelievable that some were still in pots and grew so well. I’m pleased that your efforts have been rewarded with a hedge you wanted and that beautiful view. I bet you can’t stop looking at it.

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      It’s really odd because I haven’t got used to it yet. There is enough green growth left on the hedge for me to take cuttings and hopefully start off more plants to fill in the gaps. It may take a while.. but a new hedge for free can’t be bad.

  48. Cathy April 9, 2015 at 8:26 am - Reply

    How absolutely stonkingly wonderful Jessica – and a timely reminder that plants do – um – grow… 🙂

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      They certainly do. It must have looked good when the plants were about a foot high, but almost a dozen trying to grow in that small space?

  49. Sarah April 9, 2015 at 9:49 am - Reply

    It is so liberating removing blocks of shrubbery to open up a view and how lovely to see the river below. Hope your back and shoulders have recovered from the work Jessica (my back is still grumbling after potato planting on Easter Saturday) and you have been enjoying a drink with a view during these lovely spring evenings.

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      I am aching a lot this year. Hopefully just because I got lazy over winter.. it takes a little while to get back into it doesn’t it.

  50. SeagullSuzie April 9, 2015 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    Oh I feel refreshed just looking at your new garden area, it looks so spacious. It’s so easy to live with things for too long.

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      It is. Especially things that require hard decisions. Nothing for it but to find the right moment and just launch in. I hope we won’t regret it.

  51. Mise April 9, 2015 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    Much nicer without them, say I! The upward sweep of trees that brings the eye right up is a lot less urban. Jolly good work!

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      There are plenty of trees. That’s what makes me feel we should keep going and take the lopped trees out. The view will extend, but to more trees in the next layer maintaining the woodland feel.

  52. Sue April 9, 2015 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    What a difference!!

    Hard work but so worth doing, it completely changes your vista 🙂

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      It felt so oppressive before.. the old shrub border and the trees are just too close. I feel I can breathe a bit easier already.

  53. Linda P April 9, 2015 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    I imagine the good weather over the last weekend gave you the incentive to start the work you had planned You must be pleased with the result. 🙂

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      Pleased with it so far and keen to go on and finish the job. Hasn’t the weather been fabulous?

  54. Sue@GLAllotments April 9, 2015 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    That’s a lovely view. The trimming was the sort of thing Martyn would do, I’m a bit more cautious. But your trim was well worth it

    • Jessica April 9, 2015 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      I hope it will be. It seems it will be a few weeks before we can get the trees down, so the view will close in again in the meantime. I will need to be patient.

  55. CherryPie April 9, 2015 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    I like the new view. It certainly does draw the eye to what is beyond 🙂

    • Jessica April 10, 2015 at 9:58 am - Reply

      It’s made a huge difference already. It’ll only look good if properly maintained though, so more work! Thanks Cherie.

  56. Alberto April 10, 2015 at 9:58 am - Reply

    We need to be brave gardeners, don’t we? And you definitely are! I felt pity for the rhodos at the beginning but then reading the rest of the post I got your plan and I totally share it. Go for it!

    • Jessica April 10, 2015 at 10:02 am - Reply

      I really hope the rhodos survive their hard prune. Then I can enjoy them in a more appropriate position. That would be a win win! Thanks Alberto.

  57. welshhillsagain April 10, 2015 at 11:05 am - Reply

    I love what you have done. it is these big decisions that make the garden work on a larger scale, as part of the landscape. So utterly right and am with you on the work to the trees too. I had to smile at the phrase about things getting in the way of the mower! We have quite a lot of that up here too. Sometimes I have to remind the man that the place is meant to be a garden, not simply a mowing opportunity. I am not sure he agrees with me!

    • Jessica April 10, 2015 at 1:09 pm - Reply

      Mike hates mowing. God help anything that gets in the way. I tried gently flowing perennials to soften the edge of the lawn in a previous garden. Some chance. They all ended up with vertical front edges where the mower had passed by!
      The garden really does feel at one with the landscape now and I love that. Thanks Elizabeth.

  58. Donna@GardensEyeView April 10, 2015 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful view already….a bit of a tease for the river view. Looking forward to the next phase’s view.

    • Jessica April 10, 2015 at 9:49 pm - Reply

      Unfortunately it looks like we’re going to have to wait a while. Tree surgeons get really booked up it seems. But it will be worth the wait. Thanks Donna.

  59. Island Threads April 28, 2015 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    wow Jessica that looks so much better, I hate the feeling of being hemmed in, lucky to find a hedge ready and waiting too, Frances

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 11:24 pm - Reply

      Unbelievably both the hedge and the rhododendrons are growing back already.. I was looking at them just today. It may yet work..

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