As mentioned in my last post (Breaking Glass), the boundary hedge was hacked in order to cut away ivy and an old tree from the resident greenhouse, prior to renovation. The butchering looked awful, though it created much more light whilst the rest of the unkempt hedge appeared even more in need of a drastic cut, rather like our hairstyles after weeks of lockdown.
I was therefore very pleased when my son spoke those magic words “I’ll come up next week to cut your hedge“. Being approximately 21metres from entry gate to greenhouse, and over 3m high, it was not a job I could tackle. (And being responsible for the hedge on the roadside too, meant double the effort).
With scaffold, electric and petrol cutters, plus an assortment of ladders, the job was done, though it took most of the day and the next morning. Ivy also had to be torn from its moorings on the entry fence. Altogether, we scraped up and filled eight builder sacks of cuttings for composting.
The hedge is approximately 100 cm thick and offers privacy from the few neighbours over the road. It acts as a sound barrier to the occasional passing farm vehicle as well as creating an east wind break. Being a mixed hedge of privet, hawthorn, ivy and yew it benefits wildlife and the birds certainly frequent it. Right now with the ivy flowering, bees, wasps and butterflies are feasting here, proving that in its right place, Hedera is a desirable wildlife garden addition, (if only it did not grow so wild!).
Once the hedge was neat and tidy, I set about removing a 11m line of ‘lawn’ in readiness for a path to be built alongside it. This will provide some hard structure to the eventual design of the Japanesque garden and give access to any future hedge cutting. Meanwhile, it meant taking up my mattock again and slicing through mossy, weedy, grass and roots. Phew!
The path continues straight from the back of the greenhouse platform. I’ve temporarily placed the paving down on timber beams (making it easier to drop in place and lift later, when permanently mortaring in situ). That was 20 paving slabs in all and I felt every one of them!
Having been clipped closely, there is a now a narrow, bare earth gap between hedge and path – a potential waste ground for the weeds and grass to return there. I’m considering planting a low growing linear hedge of Euonymus since it originates in Japan and is evergreen. Also, as this hedge matures, it can be pruned at the same time as the adjacent boundary. Another idea is a line of ornamental grasses, like the more upright Japanese blood grass Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ or ‘Rubra.’ Meanwhile, I’m open to suggestions as there is a lot of ground to infill, but plastic weed suppressant with a decorative stone topping is not an option I’d consider!
Two sets of garden steps either side of ‘the rockery’ slope plus cementing in the paved path, are now planned for mid-month, when more help is arriving!
A scrolling view of the hedging and edging work thus far:-