I’m not sure where I went wrong, but I seem to have been the victim of a miscarriage of justice. I know that life isn’t fair and I didn’t expect my gardening career to be one of dainty peregrinations with some gentle dead heading; but why am I still shovelling hardcore or gravel, mixing cement, heaving rocks and barrowing soil from one part of the garden to another and back again? Alas it is all my own fault, first of all I married for better or worse and unknowingly committed myself to a lifetime of projects and finally I chose to garden in one of the windiest places in the UK.
So when March comes around, it is time to order the gravel, hardcore, cement, fencing posts and screws and as soon as we get a hint of a couple of calm, dry days out comes the concrete mixer. Usually it is just the start of another project, but this year we had a few maintenance jobs to perform. First the fence at the end of the polytunnel had developed a serious list after being belted by 100+ mph winds. So it had to be dismantled, and rebuilt with extra posts set in 2 tons of concrete. A small warm-up exercise in preparation for tackling the hedge.
After we had cut the hedge in December we were debating as to whether we need to radically reduce its girth and my prophetic words were “the severe gales and storm force winds forecast for next week may concentrate the mind”. The mature section of the hedge withstood the gales, even though it lost most of its leaves, but some of the very young plants were torn out of the ground or blown almost horizontal.
Without the leaves it was easier to get into the hedge and reduced the overall height to about 4ft and radically cut-back some of the older branches. The width of the hedge was then reduced by about 3ft to enable it to be cut with the hedge trimmers.
This involved putting in a new fence leaving a 3ft wide strip along the drive to the cottage. My suggestion that this should become a grass verge or wild flower strip was greeted with derision and I was sent off to get the barrow and the shovel!
Some plants had to be removed and these were cut back almost to ground level and used to replace some of the young plants which had been blown away in the hedge by the polytunnel. I had been unable to cut through some of the bigger branches with the pruning saw, but Himself came to the rescue with the chainsaw! The result was not pretty and I was left wondering why I’d spent so much time with my careful trimming.
The great hedge is now rather a sorry sight, but it is shooting and in a few weeks will be clothed in new leaves and in October it will be time to cut it again