Teetering On The Brink


Crab Apple 003 Wm[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=


Crab Apple


At least, I think that’s what it is. Tiny apples do form later in the season but never last to maturity. Maybe the birds have them or they drop off but either way they never colour up, making it difficult to identify the variety.

The little tree emerged from the centre of the group of 30 or so tall conifers that we had removed from the bank shortly after coming here. It’s a miracle that it survived, in almost total shade. We hammered a steel hook into one of the old conifer stumps and attached a rope to the poor bent crab apple trunk. Maybe after another year or so the support can be removed and the tree will continue to grow in the vertical.


The bank 013 Wm[1]




The bank 012 Wm[2]




This month has seen an explosion of green growth on the Precipitous Bank and it’s now ready for an injection of colour. New planting will be the main focus of my gardening effort over the season ahead with all the excitement (or not!) of seeing how it evolves.

I’ve got some perennials on order, my first excursion into online plant shopping. Nail biting stuff. And the greenhouse is packed full of seedlings: annuals and more perennials which will help to fill the gaps at a realistic cost.

There have been a couple more fundamental changes on the bank too. Two trees have gone. They were leafless in March and therefore quite difficult to spot on the usual view.


The bank 008(1) Wm[1]



This angle shows them more clearly.


The right hand arrow points to another survivor from the old conifer plantation. It too had to be pulled back with a rope for a couple of years but although now straight we’ve had a bit of a rethink. It was an oak and growing too close to the house for the size of tree it would have ultimately become. Best to get it out while it was still at a manageable size. Even so, watching your Other Half try to retain balance on that near vertical part of the slope, chainsaw in hand, is not for the faint hearted. Tempers got a bit frayed. My job, at the pointy end of the chainsaw note, was to hold on to sections of the trunk as they were severed and try to prevent them careering off down the hill.. Not least as my latest hellebore acquisitions are located directly below. And remember oak is a hardwood. A tad on the heavy side.

The other tree, indicated by the arrow on the left, was an old beech tree which had responded to the shade from the conifers by growing broader rather than taller. It’s a habit it refused to break out of, threatening to overwhelm my handkerchief tree. The Davidia has won out. No contest.


The bank 014 Wm[1]



The same view without the two trees.


Mike has also made more progress on ‘The Heap’. Will it be clear by next month? Maybe..


Cornus kousa 'Satomi' 010 Wm[1]


Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’


Aside from the Davidia, the dominant tree on the bank will now be this one. I love the way the leaves open, tipped in red. It is packed with flower buds too and should be a picture in June. The red tints on the leaves will then return with interest in autumn.


Helleborus 'Penny's Pink' 003 Wm[1]


Hellebore ‘Penny’s Pink’

In spite of our tree felling escapades, intact and fading to a lovely dusky purple.


Fern 008 Wm[1]


Ferns continue to unfurl


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Mahonia aquifolium


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Making a beeline..


The pulmonaria have been flowering for months. They are tailing off now but still literally alive with bees and other flying insects. It’s the plant that cuts the large swathe down the hill from right to left in the centre of the monthly shot. The flowers are just too small though to show up from that distance. The plants suddenly burst into life when the conifers came down and have been flourishing there ever since.


Lily of the Valley 004 Wm[1]


Lily of the Valley


As promised last month, I’ve started transferring the Lily of the Valley from the terraces and it’s going well so far. I hope it will do the job of stabilising the soil. It needs to. Large sections of the chicken wire have now gone, laboriously clipped away and disentangled from the ivy and weeds that had been growing underneath. In an ideal world the task would have been completed by now but, on the plus side, what could be nicer than a day spent nose down amidst these powerfully fragranced blooms?


There’s just so much more to do..


Linking up with Helen’s End Of Month View (here) at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog. Click through to find out what other gardeners are up to this month.


2017-10-24T19:32:47+00:00April 30th, 2015|Tags: |


  1. Linda April 30, 2015 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Looking good Jessica!
    Love the bee mid air!
    Nothing much blooming here….still waiting!
    I have to fill in my details EVERYTIME I comment! Arrrrgh!
    Enjoy your weekend!
    Linda :o)

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 11:04 pm - Reply

      I’ll look into the problem and try and find out why you have to do that. It’s annoying, I know, when I have to do it on other blogs.

  2. CJ April 30, 2015 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Always, always more to do. You’ve been very busy though, especially with the tree surgery. Do be careful at the pointy end the chain saw. My other half would NEVER trust me with a chain saw, although he’d also never use one himself either, too much like hard work. CJ xx

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 11:18 pm - Reply

      I’m glad it will be the professionals coming in to do the next lot of tree work. They make it look easy!

  3. Mark and Gaz April 30, 2015 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    So much to do but all sounds exciting! Looking forward to seeing what changes you’ll bring to the precipitous bank 🙂

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 11:23 pm - Reply

      Drifts of perennials and grasses is the aim but it remains to be seen how developed it will look this year. I put a plant up there and from ground level it looks tiny!

  4. Pauline April 30, 2015 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    You have worked hard, your slope is looking so different ! Slopes are never easy to plant or weed, we had a very steep slope in our last garden, I felt like a mountain goat as I scrambled up and down, do take care. I’m looking forward to the photos of your slope planted up!

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 11:27 pm - Reply

      It’s the way the soil shifts under my feet that makes me feel uneasy, not to mention how steep it feels when I look down!

  5. Christina April 30, 2015 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    It’s great when a plan begins to take shape and happen. I know what working on a steep slope is like and don’t envy you dealing with a chain saw, or the wielder of a chain saw on it.

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 11:29 pm - Reply

      I was very glad to get those trees down safely I have to say. But it will be worth it. They were already casting a lot of shade.

  6. Rosie April 30, 2015 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Don’t envy you the slope and the chain saw work but it is all looking good. I do wish we could grow Lily of the Valley, it just will not grow in our garden but perversely grows in abundance next door and in gardens down the road too. Love the photo of the bee:)

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 11:32 pm - Reply

      Perhaps it just takes a while to get established. And if that happens you’ll wish you’d never planted it! In spite of its beauty and scent that is certainly how I feel. It’s very difficult to get rid of.

  7. Amy at love made my home April 30, 2015 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    It looks as though great progress is being made and with all of the lovely things blooming around you I am sure that you are enjoying the challenges! xx

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 11:35 pm - Reply

      This year, at last, I feel I am starting to make some progress, which is good. Not enjoying clearing out the top terrace though, it’s hard work and self inflicted. The Lily of the Valley is growing up through everything and it’s all had to come out, be disentangled and replanted.

  8. LINDA from EACH LITTLE WORLD April 30, 2015 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    Don’t you just love to watch ferns uncurl? The photos looking down from the top really explain how precipitous that bank in fact is! Early on in our gardening days, I came home from work to discover my husband, one foot on the garage roof and the other in a 40 year old Arbor vita, sawing away. I merely asked if I should call the ambulance now or wait till he actually fell. Don’t know if it was worse being there or knowing what he got up to while no one was around.

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 11:51 pm - Reply

      It looks dreadfully steep when standing on it, especially near the edge. Mike actually did fall off a few years back, cracking some ribs. I thought that was going to be an ambulance job for a few horrible moments.

  9. Joanne April 30, 2015 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    Gosh you always have lots to do there. Mike would very much like to own a chain saw, I’m sure he would be more than happy to have me at the pointy end! I’m glad your hellebore was saved, it’s a glorious colour x

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 11:56 pm - Reply

      It is never ending. The weeds grow faster than I can get rid of them. Planting it up will help keep them down.. I hope!

  10. Alison April 30, 2015 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Great shot of the bee. Looking forward to seeing what you plant on the Precipitous Bank for color.

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 12:00 am - Reply

      There were plenty of bees around but it’s still hard to get a clear shot isn’t it, they move about so fast. A large element of luck! Thanks Alison.

  11. Sue April 30, 2015 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Love the shot of the bee, excellent photography 🙂

    The crab apple was well worth rescuing it is lovely.

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 12:03 am - Reply

      It’s sad that it’s never given us any fruit, but I’d keep it for the blossom alone, truly beautiful.

  12. Jo April 30, 2015 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    That sounds like hard work but you’re certainly making an impact and it will all be worth it in the end. I do envy your lily of the valley, I’ve got bits in the garden but it isn’t too happy and doesn’t put any growth on from one year to the next.

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 12:06 am - Reply

      I’m putting some of the Lily of the Valley back in the top terrace but planting it in pots to try to contain it. It may not like that very much, but we shall see.

  13. Chel @ Sweetbriar Dreams April 30, 2015 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    You made me cringe when you mentioned the chainsaw, be careful! I love the blossom of a crab apple, it is always such a display. The lily of the valley with its dancing skirts always makes me smile. I love that your garden is taking shape xx

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      It is taking shape but oh so slowly. Sometimes, often, I wish I had a magic wand. Thanks Chel.

  14. Rosemary April 30, 2015 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    I have neglected to capture any blossom or for that matter Spring flowers in my garden this year so it is lovely to be able to see yours.

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      It must have looked transformed on your return. With warm weather and then a little bit of rain everything has just exploded into growth over the last few days.

  15. Helen Johnstone April 30, 2015 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    The lily of the valley should be good for stablising the bank if the tangle of roots in my border are anything to go by. I like the Cornus, I have fancied a Cornus mas for a while,possibly an idea for my front garden.

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      I’m hoping that’s exactly what the Lily of the Valley will do. But I have had to break a few eggs to make the omelette.. standing on the slope and digging planting holes has brought an awful lot of soil down. But hopefully when the LOTV stems stiffen up again I can use them as a barricade and pile the fallen soil back up behind them. May work… I like this experimental side of gardening!

  16. Island Threads April 30, 2015 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Jessica you sound as if you have done quite a lot, it looks good, it must have been interesting seeing just what did appear once the conifers were gone, nice there is some good stuff, the apple blossom looks pretty and I love the purple hellebore, Frances

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      The pulmonaria were about it really, in terms of nice things to appear, they seem to do just as well in shade. For the first summer the area stayed mostly clear. The following Spring it exploded with weed seedlings! And I hold the national collection of brambles.

  17. Denise April 30, 2015 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    It’s metamorphosis but without the cockroaches! Love seeing your garden transforming!

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 8:16 pm - Reply

      Worse… mice. Evolving into a new super race of mice, a little more each day..

  18. Kris P April 30, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Yikes but that’s a treacherous slope! The angles in your recent photos emphasize the difficulties you face but you’ve made good progress already. I know the apprehension you felt sending your spouse into the fray – I experienced some of the same when I sent mine up our slope to pull tree-sized weeds. (There are some more of those now but I don’t dare mention them…)

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      It is a lot steeper than it looks from the bottom and even more so when you are perched precariously half way up. The concrete path looks a long way down and an unyielding thing upon which to land. There are quite a few tree saplings up there. I’m thinking that if I keep constantly chopping them to the ground they will eventually die. They can’t survive without leaves can they?

  19. Brian Skeys April 30, 2015 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’ is not a tree I am familiar with. It appears to have something for all year round interest, which is always good.

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      It is a beauty. Wait until June when it should be in full flower, you will be smitten. It has fruits too, like a sort of solid raspberry, in late summer/autumn. A real all rounder.

  20. Anne Wheaton April 30, 2015 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    Beautiful photos. I find the problem with a chainsaw wielding husband is stopping him from getting carried away.

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 8:33 pm - Reply

      That is a problem. Boys and their toys eh. Mike’s just inherited a hedge trimmer, which is also worrying. I foresee haircuts all round.

  21. mattb325 April 30, 2015 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Looking great! It is best to have smaller trees growing on that steep slope. This month, after weeks of heavy rain and high winds, the soil has been left so saturated that large trees on embankments have often simply toppled from the weight of their crown and a change in wind direction, so that is not desirable close to the house!!!! The pink dogwood will be spectacular and will be a lovely contrast to the davidia 🙂

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      No blooms yet on the Davidia, that is the spectacle I’m really waiting for. But apparently they need time to settle in and as mine’s been moved twice between houses, and spent three years in a pot, it may be sulking for a while yet.

  22. woolythymes May 1, 2015 at 1:38 am - Reply

    i always love this l post showing the progress month to month. when we see things every day it’s so easy to forget how much changes over the course of 30 days. i’ve been reworking my garden some and am now kicking myself for not taking those ‘before’ photos. you taught me to do it….i’m just a really slow learner!!!

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 8:39 pm - Reply

      It’s one of the reasons I started the blog, to have a record of the garden’s development over time. It will be great to look back over all the stages when it’s eventually done… assuming they’ll have wifi in the old folks home.

  23. Helene May 1, 2015 at 2:44 am - Reply

    Lovely to see your slope coming on nicely, looking forward to seeing what flowers will come here too.

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks. I’m also looking forward to seeing what you make of your brand new garden!

  24. Beth @ PlantPostings May 1, 2015 at 3:51 am - Reply

    There’s just so much more to do … that says it all! That’s how I always feel. It’s great fun, though. Your pond is lovely–I don’t remember seeing quite that angle before. I chuckled and gasped while reading your “chainsaw” story. Yikes! Anyway, it’s looking great and your work is paying off. 🙂

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      It wasn’t very pleasant working with the chainsaw on the steep slope. So easy to slip.. I was very relieved to see the job safely done. And at least it’s one job that won’t need doing again!

  25. Anna May 1, 2015 at 7:59 am - Reply

    Your crab apple looks like my crab apple Jessica but I hope that mine gets as far as the fruit production stage. I’m exhausted after reading your post 🙂 You and Mike deserve Olympic gold medals for your marathon efforts on the Precipitous Bank (shades of John Bunyan). Online plant shopping is not the same as the real thing but there are some excellent nurseries out there selling online. It’s great getting a box of plants in the post. Have fun planting.

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      I have resisted for a long time, but with the exception of a few good plant fairs (a haul of 12 plants today), there are relatively few opportunities for the serious plant collector down here. Online, I hope, may open it all up.

  26. Janet/Plantaliscious May 1, 2015 at 8:16 am - Reply

    I’m glad there we’re no injuries, to humans or hellebores, during that tree removal adventure. Well worth doing, but eek! The slope has changed so much just with the backdrop of green on the trees. Looking forward to watching it develop, but wow, I don’t envynyou planting it up… Do you plant with the plants buried deeper on the slope side or pointing out at an angle, level with the slope, if you see what I mean. I’ve often wondered…

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      It depends on the plant. If it’s a shrub or something with a long stem I’d plant them pointing straight up and bury one side deeper. Low ground cover goes with the angle of the slope. The lily of the valley I planted straight up as well because I want to use the stems as buttresses to hold back the soil. At the end of the day the plants will decide which way they want to grow anyway. One of the problems here is that with the trees in the background the branches will tend to lean forward away from the shade and into the sun.

  27. Linda P May 1, 2015 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Describing all your hard work in a few sentences takes only a moment when in reality you’ve been busy for hours, but the photos record the progress on the Precipitous Bank in removing those trees very well. One can imagine your efforts to do so as well as cutting away the chicken wire and disentangling ivy! A lot happening as flowers appear. I love lily of the valley – my birthday flower – and get excited when my little pot of it starts to come back into growth and begins to flower around about now. I know you’re transferring yours and the reason for doing so and glad that’s also going well.

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      Much as I love Lily of the Valley I’ll be very careful where I put it again. I’m having to lift every single plant in the top terrace, the LOTV roots have gone everywhere. It’s an awful slog to separate it out. Only marginally better than removing the chicken wire.. the plants on the slope have actually incorporated the wire within their growth. So when I get to something like a fern I’ve had to clip the wire away all around it, leaving a portion inside the plant itself!

  28. Sarah May 1, 2015 at 9:40 am - Reply

    You are making visible and tangible progress Jessica and I really admire your energy and determination. Have you read Miriam Osler’s book “A Gentle Plea For Chaos”. It is one of my favourite “gardening” books and is about gardening with nature, for instance choosing simple species over more cultivated ones and not being too tidy and is a really lovely read. I think it is one of Chloris’ (The Blooming Garden) favourite books too. I was at Winkworth Arboretum yesterday (a National Trust landscape garden) which is very steeply sloping in parts and it has made me think whether that could provide any inspiration for you. Could there be anything better in the springtime than the combination of magnolia, bluebells and just emerging azalea all set against the freshest new foliage from acer and other special trees including that almost psychedelic green of new oak leaves and that softest green of beech. It was just breathtaking. And that is just one day in one season. Oh and at the bottom a naturally-fed lake with ducklings. I had such a nice day!

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      That sounds like a wonderful day. I do tend to seek out hillside gardens these days, to see how others cope with the problems and it’s always an inspiration. They don’t always have ducklings though!! Woodland gardens are another treat. The bluebells are just coming out down here and after the rain of last week the leaves are burgeoning forth. It all looks so very green!

  29. Sarah May 1, 2015 at 9:48 am - Reply

    Sorry, it is Mirabel, not Miriam, Osler. Should have checked before publishing, but I was clearly getting carried away!

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      Thanks. I’ll look up the book. It is very much after my own style. And more in keeping with the natural surroundings than something overly contrived.

  30. elaine May 1, 2015 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    So much to do – so little time. I can see this garden as being your life’s work – but month by month I can see the progress that you are making.

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      I’m glad it looks like progress Elaine. I think you’re right, even though sometimes it feels like one step forward and two back.

  31. Amy May 1, 2015 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Chainsaws scare me even on the flat…! But what a lot of progress you two are making, and what a wonderful reward in the form of a crabapple! I grew the species Cornus kousa earlier – lovely tree! And how exciting to have a Davidia!
    Love the bee picture 🙂

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      The only trouble with the Davidia is that it smells rather unpleasant, a bit like BO. I bought it at a plant sale in Oxford and remember carrying it all round the botanic garden and the city centre becoming more self conscious by the minute.. even though I knew I’d had a proper wash and put on clean clothes. It wasn’t until I got home I realised it was the plant!

  32. Em May 1, 2015 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    I can’t believe you have Lily of the Valley! My leaves haven’t even started appearing yet. It all looks beautiful and definitely the right decision with the trees. X

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 10:05 pm - Reply

      Yes, leaves and flowers. I think it was the right decision re the trees. I love oak, but it was only a little one and we have enough shade already.

  33. Julieanne May 1, 2015 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    I love the colour of that crab apple blossom. I wonder what happens to the fruits; blackbirds? The Precipitous Bank looks like it’s glowing. All the work, and swearing(!) is paying off & i look forward to seeing the new plants go in. I’m sure your online shopping will be fine. I order plants online all the time & they always arrive well packed & looking good, so don’t worry.

    That bee-line pic is wonderful Jessica. Great action shot. My Pulmonarias have been flowering for ages now too and I love watching the bees take their fill. Such a great plant for any garden.

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

      The pulmonaria is a great plant, sun or shade. And perfect for ground cover too. It must have been blooming since February!
      I’ll have to keep a closer eye on the crab apple fruit this year and see what happens to it.
      Swearing? Surely not! 😉

  34. Rick Nelson May 1, 2015 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    I have not been following your blog for very long rd so may have missed something but wonder why you haven’t terraced the Precipitous Bank at least with one level. I would have preferred stone, but with the amount of timber which seems available to you it could be done very satisfactorily with wood. this is not a criticism but as I have had a lot of experience dealing with very steep banks I just think it would be more manageable for you.

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 10:16 pm - Reply

      You’re right Rick, it would make it easier. The difficulty here is twofold. First, the area is not as deep as it looks as there’s a drive running through the middle of it, so not a great deal of horizontal distance. The other problem is that the ground is full of thick roots from the old conifers. We were advised that, given the slope and potential for land slippage, we should leave them in the ground rather than try to remove or grind them. It would make it quite difficult to landscape. Sometimes finding even a planting pocket is tough enough.

  35. Alison May 1, 2015 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    It’s all looking wonderful, so full of promise for the year ahead.

    • Jessica May 1, 2015 at 10:19 pm - Reply

      Hi Alison, thanks. Planting next, the exciting bit!!

  36. sustainablemum May 2, 2015 at 9:19 am - Reply

    Indeed always work to do but it is always worth it! We have just started to work on our small front garden after years of neglect. I have trouble enough keeping up with the back garden……..

    • Jessica May 4, 2015 at 2:27 pm - Reply

      It can be a hard slog at times. I’ve just been walking round the garden after a weekend away. A weekend when it rained a lot… yes the plants have grown, but so have the weeds!

  37. Suffolk Pebbles May 2, 2015 at 9:57 am - Reply

    gosh, your garden always look so HUGE when you take those wide shots – a full time job indeed. Such pretty crab apple blossom and promises of a bountiful harvest of apples later …

    • Jessica May 4, 2015 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      It’s about three and a half acres. Thankfully most of that is woodland which I can ignore for the moment. But it does take a LOT of maintenance, especially in the damp south west. Perfect weed growing territory!

  38. SeagullSuzie May 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    Gardening can be very risky…don’t like the thought of wielding a chainsaw. Plants on line-not really a fan, I prefer to go and select my own, but it’ll be interesting to see what comes and what you think of them. Love the progress photos.

    • Jessica May 4, 2015 at 2:37 pm - Reply

      That’s why I’ve been reluctant to order online before. But I’m getting more and more frustrated by the predictable stock of the garden centres round here. So, a toe in the water, we’ll see what arrives.

  39. Chloris May 2, 2015 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Your slope is quite a challenge but you are getting to grips with it and it is looking good. I am envious of your Cornus ‘ Satomi’, it is a beautiful tree.

    • Jessica May 4, 2015 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      It’s a gorgeous tree Chloris. Probably my favourite.

  40. casa mariposa May 3, 2015 at 3:59 am - Reply

    Have you thought of adding epimediums to that hill? They love dry shade and aren’t too deeply rooted. Anything involving a chain saw makes me nervous. Love the shot of that bee. 🙂

    • Jessica May 4, 2015 at 2:45 pm - Reply

      It’s a south facing slope so probably not shady enough for epimediums. Although I do have a couple at the bottom of the hill, close to the house where on that side there is much less sun. They seem to love it there!

  41. Linnae May 3, 2015 at 7:32 am - Reply

    Hi, I’m new here!
    I’ve got a slope to work with, as well. It’s a bit of a challenge. Sometimes we call it the Hill of Death.
    I can identify with the constant need for changes and puttering about in the garden. I feel like I get one thing just how I want it [sigh of relief], then notice 5 other things that could use a bit of a change.
    Also, I’m impressed by your grasses. I haven’t entered the world of grass planted on purpose yet, but I’m thinking about it! Maybe this year I’ll take the plunge.
    Take care!

    • Jessica May 4, 2015 at 2:48 pm - Reply

      Hi Linnae and welcome.
      The Hill of Death sounds about right! It does indeed feel like that sometimes. Grasses work very well on a slope, especially if there are a few of them and you can plant them at different levels. When the breeze travels through it looks like a mexican wave.

  42. bittster May 3, 2015 at 11:51 am - Reply

    I’ve been looking through a few of your older posts and you have really come a long way! So much work, but you are making waves of progress.
    It’s not always obvious how steep and large the area is, without a person or something else on the incline to give perspective you can fool yourself into thinking it’s about the size of a rockery and the scale of a weekend project. What a misconception that is.
    Enjoy spring and happy planting!

    • Jessica May 4, 2015 at 2:59 pm - Reply

      There are one or two shots of me standing against the slope, I don’t know whether you came across one of those but I thought it helped give perspective. The other awesome thing is that the top of the Precipitous Bank is actually higher than the ridge of the house roof. It feels precipitous indeed when standing on the edge. Or even worse, balancing on the edge while trying to dig out a bramble at the same time..

  43. debsgarden May 3, 2015 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    A steep hill can certainly be a challenge! Yours is coming along nicely, and I love the variety of plants you have there. I envisioned perennials and wildflowers on my own hillside, which I think is smaller than yours, but we got frustrated with fighting weeds on the difficult slope. We ended up covering it with a dozen Anthony Waterer Spirea, a shrub which does well for us. They require little care and should spread to smother the weeds and provide spring through fall interest.

    • Jessica May 4, 2015 at 3:03 pm - Reply

      I think this slope will evolve to contain mainly trees and shrubs, leading to a low maintenance garden in the end. But while they grow I’ll use annuals and perennials to fill in the gaps.

  44. CherryPie May 4, 2015 at 12:18 am - Reply

    Your top photo is stunning 🙂 And I am loving the look of your garden 🙂

    • Jessica May 4, 2015 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cherie. This year seems to be an excellent one for blossom, all of the apple trees in the garden are covered!

  45. Donna@Gardens Eye View May 4, 2015 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    Jessica I really am enjoying these views and how you are changing them…you do inspire….and what a lucky find that beautiful crabapple.

    • Jessica May 4, 2015 at 3:08 pm - Reply

      I am totally amazed the crabapple survived. The conifers all around it must have been at least 30 feet high. I hope the view will get a little more exciting as the season progresses and certainly by next year. Gardening always seems to be about next year. The terraces are looking quite good now after all last season’s work, I must do another post on them.

  46. Sarah May 5, 2015 at 3:45 am - Reply

    I love uncovering hidden gems after removing trees and shrubs! We too have been uncovering delights after a bit of tree felling. Mainly bulbs and a patch of alstroemerias and a peach tree! Not sure the peach tree will survive but you never know 🙂

    • Jessica May 5, 2015 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      Well if our crab apple is anything to go by it will… as soon as it saw the sun again it put on a rush of new growth.

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