In the beginning…
We first viewed this house in the middle of winter and acquired it a couple of months later, before the leaves had emerged on the trees. So while the rest of the northern hemisphere enjoyed the lengthening days and stronger light of spring and summer for us it grew darker and darker, as the tree canopy started to close in.
To the left of the drive in the photo above is the area we now know as the Precipitous Bank. The first job on arriving here was to have those conifers down. The surveyor insisted. Air circulation was so poor around the back of the house that the thatch roof was decaying much faster than it should. It didn’t do so much for a peaceful night’s sleep either, not with those trees thrashing around wildly at the merest hint of a breeze.
This year has seen work commence around the other side of the house too..
Lawn border May 2015
Lawn border a few days later
Now you see it…
Now you don’t
Our strategy has been to push the trees further back from the house… just a bit. To remove those presenting a threat to roof, life and limb or those that had a significant impact on light. There is more work to do, the tree surgeons will return later in the year, but already there’s been a monumental difference.
There used to be a fence between the spruce and the house.
I didn’t get there quite quickly enough with the camera.. Mike already had the bit between his teeth.
The next job is the scruffy old hedge running down the hill from the spruce stump. It’s not native. Most of it is philadelphus, liberally interspersed with brambles. Now that the birds have finished nesting we’ve started to clear it out.
The hedge from the other side
The acer far right will stay. The rather dead looking tree to the left of it is a hawthorn which I’m proposing to reduce by at least half, with the hope of spurring it on to a second lease of life. There are several self seeded ash and sycamore saplings congesting this group and they will go. As will all of the philadelphus except for the small portion that I’ve carefully protected immediately above the bench. It’s wonderfully fragrant for two weeks of the year but, quite frankly, for the remaining fifty it just sits there as a pile of mediocre leaves and an awful lot of twigs.
With the philadelphus gone the whole of the lawn will be opened up down to the river, bordered by a low lonicera hedge. There’ll be a new path too, starting just to the right of the bench and linking the formal part of the garden with the wooded area beyond. It’s the first time I’ll have done any real landscaping on the woodland edge and I’m conscious of the need for a proper transition.
Corylus maxima ‘Purpurea’
I found this purple leaved hazel the other day. Close enough to a native tree to be in keeping, but with the purple foliage providing something a touch more ornamental as a backdrop to the lawn. I’d been pushing a cart around the garden centre with the Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ that featured in the Bloomers post last week. The two of them came together for the briefest moment and it was love at first sight. When I plant the corylus with the acer and hawthorn the hydrangea will go in alongside. Wouldn’t be fair, would it, to split them up now.
Not that I’m banking on getting any nuts. Oh no. I know who’ll be getting first pickings of those. He of the grey bushy tail.
And he’s not my only problem either..
“Mum, there’s some people up there looking at me..”
“It’s alright dear. You just go finish your dinner. I’ll stand guard.”
Oh for heavens sake.
Linking up with My Garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day and Christina who is progressing some rather grand designs of her own.