Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Thursday 30 September 2010

Hedges are hard work

Filed under: Conifers,Progress — Helen @ 7:22 pm

Yesterday it rained.  A lot. Tomorrow it is forecast to rain again. A lot. So today I mowed the lawn and tried to plant the new hedge. I had to do a bit more digging first, but then I was ready to put the first tree in place. Then it started raining. I almost gave up, but then it stopped raining and the sky turned an innocent blue, so I went back to tree planting.

I found out that planting a tree of that size is non-trivial. It is so heavy, for a start! Then it has to be at the right distance from the other trees, the right distance from the fence, and the right level, vertically speaking. I tried to plant it in the orientation that would make the trunk look straightest. And it was jolly hard work. My legs were turning to jelly by the time I had finished. I stuck some bamboo canes around the tree to give it some gentle support, put my muddy spirit level away, and went indoors and wiped the mud off my tape measure. I was interested to see that the newly planted tree looks about as big as the four that I planted two years ago. I had thought that the trees in pots would grow more slowly than those in the ground, but I hadn’t measured the heights to check this. Maybe the extra food that the potted trees got made up for not having so much room to spread their roots about. This implies that it could be worth feeding the planted trees, in the summer at least.

Fifth thuja tree

The fifth thuja has just been planted.

And I still have nine more of these to plant! I need six thuja to go in place of the four remaining Leylandii, so I will plant three more this time. Then I will see how it looks and maybe plant more, and buy some more thuja to finish off the hedge next year. I really should have remembered that I was planting the thuja two feet apart when I bought them. If I were doing this project again, I would not grow the trees so big before planting them. I would perhaps buy small ones and grow them on for a year or two, but I wouldn’t let them get to five feet high before planting them.

At least I can have a nice rest tomorrow while the rain waters my tree for me.


Thursday 16 September 2010

De-jungling the garden

Filed under: Conifers,Progress — Helen @ 7:45 pm

The weather is noticeably cooler and the days are equally noticeably shorter. I fed my plants a few days ago. I may make that the last feed of the season, or they may get another one at the end of September. I have been starting to tidy up now that growth has slowed down. If I am lucky my garden will look tidy for about a month, and then the leaves and the beech nuts will start to come down in force.

I have removed the second tree completely, and a nice tree surgeon came round to trim the hedges. I trimmed back some of the jungle at the left hand edge of the garden as well.

Preparation for the second instalment of the new hedge

Preparation for the second instalment of the new hedge

You may notice that the number of the plants on the blue tarpaulin has decreased significantly. This is not because they have all died, but because I have started to move them out of the way of the planned works.

Space made for winter storage of plants

Space made for winter storage of plants

The plants are now sitting between the bay tree and the greenhouse. I have started to dig up some turf, which I shall bury somewhere that won’t be dug up imminently so it can rot down. I have put some of the path foundation blocks on the bare earth and I will use this space to store more plants. The essential thing is to get them out of the way when the landscapers are busy building the pond and cutting up the patio. And it’s looking as if I may just about be able to do it, given that the plants need less growth space in winter.

The next job will be to plant the thuja in the gap between the four remaining Leylandii and the blue conifer. I will dig in plenty of compost. The first set of four thuja that I planted two years ago are now almost level with the top of the fence.


Friday 3 September 2010

Leylandii removal continues

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 12:48 pm

Now that it is September we have been having hot, dry weather. I have made good progress on removing the two Leylandii. I have dug up the leftmost tree, so there are only five still standing.

One Leyandii completely gone and one reduced to half height

One Leyandii completely gone and one reduced to half height

My friend Graham kindly came round and sawed through the trunk of the other tree to be removed (this is now the leftmost tree in the picture) while I held onto the top half. Then we carefully let go and it fell onto the tarpaulin, as you can see in the picture.

I have also done nearly all the shredding, and started to dig up the second tree. The first tree took about 3-4 hours to dig up, and I expect this one will take the same time.

I have eaten all my Discovery apples now. I am amused to see that Charles Ross has managed to do an apple, even though he never had any blossom. Obviously a virgin birth. It won’t be ready to eat for at least another month.