Aided by the birds, a nursery of baby beech, rowan, blackcurrants, gooseberries, ivy and cotoneasters not to mention willow-herb, nettles, grass and other weeds has been quietly establishing itself 10 feet up on the top of the walls, so I spent a recent few hours up there chopping them back. They have managed to get a toe-hold in the loose mortar between the coping stones on the top of the wall, rooting into the rubble that lies between the two skins of the wall. I may have to do a repeat performance in the spring probably armed with a pot of Roundup (glyphosate) and a paintbrush to finish off any re-growth for good. Some of the mortar between the stones is a bit ‘iffy’ so we may need to call in the ‘Wall Man’ to give us his opinion.
Anyhow, while I was up there, atop a decidedly wobbly 12 foot ladder, balancing with my knees while I leaned into the wind, I pulled out the trusty smartphone and took one or two pictures which I thought you might like to see; it’s not a view which we see very often. Unfortunately, this being January, there is little colour in the pictures so rather more bare earth (and earth which should be bare!) features than I would like. I’ll get the ladders out again when spring calls!
I also discovered, just over the wall in the old pleasure grounds, an ancient variegated holly which I didn’t know was there (although the Good Lady assured me she did!) – one of the original trees, I would imagine, (along with the Yews, the Sequioa, the Monkey Puzzle and the species rhododendrons) that were planted in the Pleasure Grounds of the Big House. Hollies were popular trees in Victorian times and we have one or two fine specimens.