Sunday, 7 August 2011

Back to the Grind!

It seems an age since the break in Paris, when it's actually only been a couple of weeks. The weather her in the UK has been hot and wet, and so things have been growing non-stop. Usually, the summer months bring a welcome respite at work, as plant life slows down through lack of moisture, but not this year. Hedges and shrubs are fluffing up almost continually and grass is growing with a vengeance.

The only advantage to this is that some of the drastic pruning that usually has to wait for the spring, can be done now instead, as things can recover quite easily. This Fatsia japonica had grown way to big for the spot it was in. I only remembered to take a 'before' picture after the front three limbs were removed, but you can get an idea of how things underneath were losing out to the overgrowth.

This is a very large property, with stacks of ongoing work to upgrade the gardens, and in this case I decided to cut it back quite severely, and then maintain the plant at a more aesthetic height of five feet.

Always trying to find new growth to cut back to, to ensure new leaves would sprout, as opposed to just getting stem die back, although this doesn't happen very often with Fatsias

Our own garden has become a jungle, and will need some very, very serious trimming and pruning to get it under control once more. The working year has been so hard that time in our own garden just hasn't happened as it  needs to.
The bird feeders have seen many come to feed, and while making a morning cup of tea, I spied this rather scrappy looking blue tit wrestling with the peanuts.

The  Hydrangea villosa is now back up to looking how it should do after our chop back of undergrowth earlier in the summer. The flowers are simply gorgeous.

Our wall basket of  Lotus bertholotii is getting quite huge, but to fully appreciate the blooms you have to get up close and personal. Aren't they amazing, like little flames!

We always cover the back of the house with baskets full of whatever takes our fancy.

Normally, Stachys lanata are grown in herbaceous borders or some such, and aren't exactly one of my favourites, but we stuck this one in a large terracotta pot and put it on the patio for a change. It's common name is Lamb's Ear, and the leaves tell you why.

In the front garden is our two year old Cardoon, or Cynara cardunculus. It got blackfly badly last year and became rather stunted, but this year has recovered quite well.

Moving back to the world of gardening for money. On top of all of the normal contract work that I do comes requests from various family, and friends of family members. Most of this work comes in the form of large scale hedge work and has to be done at weekends as the working week is so full. Although pretty tough, and usually dreaded after a long week, these jobs are the ones that give us our holidays away. Last Saturday I spent in the pouring rain, hard pruning an extremely steep bank full of shrubs. Yesterday I made a start on the trimming in this garden.

Usually the hedges and shrubs just get trimmed, but this year Ronnie wanted the perimeter hedge reducing, which meant leaving the trimmer in the van and getting in close with saw and loppers. What you can't see just behind the house on the left, is a twenty foot fig that had to be brought down in line with the laurel hedge. This fig alone took three and a half hours and has left me with a rather battle scarred chest. I didn't get everything done as planned, as the hedge took longer than anticipated, and so I'll have to go back one evening after work next week to finish off the individual reduction of several large shrubs, but at least the hard part is done for now.

Today is Sunday, I am very tired, sore and achy, have had a lie in until 8am! Didn't want to do much today and so decided to take Amanda for breakfast at The Grove. Then a very pleasant drive around Sandbanks, and being unable to park because of the rather large and loaded trailer still attached to the van for the time being, and so we have returned home for a few hours of blogging and book reading.
Thanks for dropping by!


  1. If you ever fancy a trip north, to a location surrounded by whisky distilleries, my Dad has a big hedge that needs cut back...

    (word verification was 'forke')


  3. Majid, how about sending me your home address so that I can write to you with suggested ways to raise money for your tuition fees?