Living the High Life

The new fountain with the west end of the Yew hedge in the distance

Since August, I think I’ve spent more time in the garden above the ground than on it. Perched atop ladders of varying heights and invariably encased in a cloud of 2-stroke exhaust, it’s hedge-cutting and fruit tree-pruning time.

The south east run of the Yew hedge, with the vacated sunflower border in the foreground, itself surrounded by a low Lonicera hedge

As I’ve discovered, yew grows quite fast when you don’t want it to, and tends to die when you do.

Our elderly yew arbour has certainly been doing quite a lot of growing these past three seasons and the trusty Castelgarden trimmer has been contending with fronds of some 60-80cm, although interestingly the hedge is made up of two or three varieties of yew, with some growing less vigorously than the rather less hesitant ones of a more wiry consistency. By the time I had got to near the end of this herculean task (started in August, completed in late November – later than I would have liked), some of the fronds had turned a rather nice bronze colour. Still, worth doing despite the lingering back-ache, as the hedge’s now clean lines give an architectural crispness to the winter garden and a rich dark-green foil to the hoar-frosted grass.

The west end of the Yew hedge with one of the Laurel roundels in the foreground

And then it was on to the Laurel roundels at either end of the yew hedge. Again original features, these 4 Portuguese laurels had put on around 90cm of growth on top  with stems approaching 6cm thick, so this proved a tough job for the trimmer as well as its operator! Incidentally, for all this high work I used a Henchman Hi-step ladder. We have an old steel one, which is quite heavy, but they now do lighter aluminium ones. Individually-adjustable legs and a non-slip platform with guard rail allow you to lean out over the hedge without fear of toppling. Not a nice feeling if you are working with power tools.

Inside the “T” of the hedge!

And then, just before Christmas, I finished the beech hedge which runs the full length of the Drying Green and the Secret Gardens. Half the length of this hedge had been allowed to grow to full tree size under the previous owners; we chain-sawed it back around 7 years ago and in the intervening period, it has returned to being a hedge again, producing new shoots from the old wood, such that you can’t easily tell the ‘new’ hedge from the old!

Time now to sharpen the trimmer!

The beech hedge that runs the full length of the Kitchen and Secret Gardens, with a large variegated Holly in the distance. The bantams get an early visitor!










2 thoughts on “Living the High Life

  1. Glad that you are back. Wow! I thought I had purning issues with my cypress. Cannot imagine not hiring out that work and congratulate your fortitude. Pip is a doll and will do the job of ridding your gardens of pests.
    I too have slowed in the blogging department. It is seven years now, yet I wonder who really reads my work. Comments are few although I do know how many readers “follow” my blog. Hundreds.
    Off to a new year, we gardeners never die, we just spade away.
    Cheers, Diane


    • Hi Diane

      Great to hear from you again! Yes, the hedge was a major exercise in will-power as much as energy! Pip is indeed our best garden asset for a long time, although ‘Uncle’ Ronnie, our yellow lab, is still going strong at 14 1/2! Well done for keeping blogging for 7 years – that’s mighty impressive! Have a good year!

      Liked by 1 person

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