Saturday, 26 November 2016

Gardening Improvements Underway!

Hello Friends!

For those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving I hope you had a peaceful and happy day filled with the joy of having your loved ones near. It is a funny old day for me, for having lived in America, and around Americans, for the best part of twenty years I now mark the day on my own as I don't know anyone who celebrates in my little corner of the world.  When I lived in America our home was always full with the Single and Unaccompanied from the barracks. We welcomed as many as we could, cramming and jamming everyone in with never enough chairs to go around, and calling on sturdy paper plates for the food, but these things didn't matter, what mattered is that we managed and it was always a great time of sharing food and friendship.  This year, I did not feel alone at all for I had the well wishes from many friends on Twitter and Facebook who shared their day and made the day special even though I wasn't there.  Love is an amazing thing to give and receive.

The week started out with the tail end of our first named storm, Angus, hitting our shores. The south of England bore the brunt on Sunday, but Monday and Tuesday saw us with winds of fifty and sixty miles an hour and lashings of torrential rain. An early sign that autumn will soon turn into winter ~ sigh ~ and this will be our normal weather once again for three or four months.  There will be more on this in my next entry in a few days.

Meanwhile, my plans to get work done in the garden have started in earnest. On Tuesday, despite the atrocious weather, the tree surgeon came along and began the work. I told him I'd understand if he didn't come but, as he said, it's his job and if he doesn't show up he doesn't get paid so he works in almost all weathers. Fair enough, but rather him than me!

Here are some photographs so you can see what he did. Because of the weather I didn't get proper before photos, and I hope that the after photos {sometime in Spring} will show a marked improvement on the mess there is now.

Here is the rockery. I was not able to maintain it myself because I am too short could not reach into the middle to keep it clean and tidy. Clambering around on top was just too dangerous and several times I nearly had a nasty fall. Consequently, after a summer of neglect due to two episodes of my back being bad, it was horrendously overgrown with brambles and honeysuckle. There was a tall and rather dangerously whippy cottoneaster tree in the centre, the unwanted gift of a seed dropped by birds, which was cut down last year, however the roots were still in there and it was sending out new shoots aplenty. This is after he has weed whacked away most of the brambles ~~~

I don't know what madness made me think that I would be able to tackle all this on my own!

This is what I have still to clear, it is mostly now a weed killer job {sadly} to eradicate the remains of the brambles and honeysuckle and then cleaning away the remaining mound of earth ~~~

I will need someone in to rebuild the retaining wall, but there are now plenty of stones for this job!

For here are some of the rocks and almost boulders removed!

and some really big ones! I could never have lifted these myself ~~~

I have a couple of different ideas for the space, so will mull over these through the Winter months and make plans accordingly. However, all the ideas I have so far will involve using some of the really big stones but no rockery to have to climb over to maintain!

This is the small apple tree he removed, and behind it is the yew tree which he has now cut back so it is no longer whipping around in the gales and posing a threat to the neighbour's garden. The apple tree was an untested cross and did not yield good fruit, not even for vinegar or cider; the surrounding border will be cleared of the infestation of Crow Garlic and flattened to make mowing easier ~~~

and as it is now ~~~

The yew tree will be pruned into a shape that will keep it neat and tidy. I did not want to remove it completely as I believe they are trees of great and ancient magic, and this tree came as a gift borne on the wind, but is, sadly, growing in the wrong place to allow it free reign.  I'm not a fan of topiary, but will make it into a funky rectangle with rounded corners {I think} ~~~ Watch this space!

It is already starting to sprout new shoots from my earlier botched attempt last summer to remove the massive branches ~~~

It's got a way to go before it fills in the hard cut back branches, but yew is a quite quickly growing tree and it probably won't be that long before I'm starting to shape it up!

The red Camellia was reduced in height by half. Since my neighbours cut back their much higher hedge I spend many worried hours in the winter months watching mine rock back and forth frightened it is going to just rock one time too many and uproot, so I've had it shortened to where the wind won't catch it now ~~~ there are still plenty of buds on the remaining shrub so I hope there will be blooms around February ~~~

I have not yet decided the final future of the two Camellias; there are more blooms than I can count on the pink one!

These should be opening in early to mid January for some much needed colour in the darkest depths of winter.

Well, Dear Friends, I was also going to share some sunset and sky photos with you, but I have probably gone on enough and this entry is more about the practical side of what is happening in my little corner of the world as I get the plans for the garden's future underway. Next time my writing muse will make a long overdue return!  Yes, she's back!

Until next time
~~~Deborah xoxo


  1. Camellias seem to respond well to hard pruning although it usually means at least one flowerless year.

    I look forward to seeing what you come up with for the ex-rockery.

    1. Yes, I heard that and it is definitely happening on the pink one now. I've also heard that you can chop them right back which, for me, is good as they are too big for their current situations.

    2. Martyn chopped one of ours right back and it regrew.

  2. Dear Deb: I love this blog on two counts. Regarding living in more than one place and having customs not common to where you are at present is a mixed blessing I've concluded. Like you, I have favorite memories. One is of a much more traditional celebration from being raised in New England, and always aware of that awesome historical setting that instills a kind of dignity juxtaposed against the casual approach of where I am now. I long for some of the proper ways and bring those little touches to our own celebration. And perhaps they are more meaningful because I have to do them intentionally initiating it all myself, and sharing with others who find this new.

    The second point is in regard to your gardening. I have great admiration for your determination and for all the good progress you are making. I so look forward to seeing what you will come up with in the spring, and what use you will make of the rockery.

    A final note: I am so glad that we are friends and in contact through Facebook and Twitter. When I'm feeling suffocated I somehow feel connected in our joint friends communications. It must be my ancestral roots, in a broader sense, of great, great grandparents whom I know left those shores so long ago.

    I look forward to your writing muse! Jane xoxo

    1. The progress has only just begun ~ after too much procrastination! Baby steps, but it will come. I look forward to seeing what I do too.
      I'm so pleased we are FB and Twitter friends too. There is a strong base of friendship there with many like minded souls. Sometimes the threads get a little complicated, but it is like good friends having a chat, we all understand the cross~chatter.
      Much love, Deb xoxo

  3. Yes, I have read evidence of your muse returning-Hooray! You will be rewarded greatly for the pruning that has recently happened in your garden. When you mentioned the tree surgeon, I was afraid of high winds. I was thinking you were talking about 100 ft tall trees! Your large stones are going to be so handsome whatever you decide to do with them.
    It was so nice to read of your hospitality at Thanksgiving in America. The more the merrier makes for a table of true gratitude. xoxo ♥

    1. Haha! Yes, he does do those tall trees too! My garden is not that big, but big enough for me to contend with, and my small trees were getting bigger and causing all manner of problems, not least being too close to boundaries and the cottage. The camellias were fast approaching twelve feet or more in height and no longer looking as if they belong here. Jobs that needed doing and just beyond my ability I'm afraid. There is now so much more light in the living room, it is bliss!
      ~~~Deb xoxo

  4. How much fun to see what is going on in your corner of the world. I look forward to seeing how it evolves.

    Love and hugs,

    1. Hello there, my friend! Yes, I look forward to seeing how it evolves too! I'm going on an adventure!
      Much love, Deb xoxo

  5. There is always work to do in the garden, those stones are huge, us girls weren't designed for heavy work, we have a small Camellia, it has been dug up and been on 3 house moves with us and always settles back in well and gives a good show.
    I shall look forward to seeing more of your garden progress. Have a nice Sunday.

    1. Agree, but why did it take me so long to accept this? I was shocked when I saw the amount and true size of those stones! I am deeply wishing both Camellias were in pots not the ground.

  6. Living here in Suffolk where the only stones we see are small flints I would love to have a few of those lovely lumps of rock!
    Good luck with your plans

    1. I wouldn't mind some small flints; perhaps we can arrange a swap? I need most of these for a future wall that is being planned.

  7. Good job there, Deb! We have a small garden area, and it's almost too much for the both of us. You can imagine, then, how impressive it is to see the work you've done in your much larger garden. I'm curious about the yew trees, don't think we have those here? And oh how I miss my camelias in California. Loved having that late bloom, even when they fell all over the ground....
    Waiting (im)patiently for the returning muse. :-) Jen

    1. The aim here is to get help in to do the work I can't do and set it up to where I can manage it without it being like the Firth of Forth Bridge ~ lol! Yew trees are very magical trees and often called the eternal tree because of their regeneration. Some are believed to be 5,000 years old! I might try and research them for a future entry.
      ~~~Deb xo


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