|Good intentions lasted through April and the shredder was overworked. I found it was actually very fussy - so many of the things I tried to put through it were too thick, too thin, too hard, too soft or too stringy and it would go on strike.|
|I cleared brambles, assorted saplings, nettles and other weeds. The enormous Clematis armandii was draped over a dead tree or two so I removed these, plus quite a lot of Clematis - there was plenty left!|
I piled the big chunks of tree at the back of the bed as part of the wildlife habitat - well that was the excuse for not shilfting them any further. Still, they should look good when the ferns and moss have colonised them - together with the nettles, bindweed and various other things I don't really want.
This is the view across the garden to the cleared bed, with the rockery, also cleared of brambles, on the left.
|This is a closer view of the cleared bed, still littered with roots and stems of the Hedera helix which is everywhere in the garden. "Weeding" was a slow job because I could not be sure which of the original plants were still there. It revealed several things that had been buried - including four Rhododendrons that I hadn't seen for five years, several Epimediums and a Trillium, together with Arisarum proboscidium, Arum italicum and Cyclamen hederifolium.|
|Clearing away the undergrowth, the Clematis and the dead trees meant that not only could I see the bottom of the garden - I could actually get to it.|
This is the view of the right hand side of the bottom garden area with the corner of the rockery in front.
There was less undergrowth under the Carpinus, so less clearing to do. I found Viburnum tinus, Viburnum x bodnantense "Dawn" and Trachystemon orientalis flourishing.
|Despite there being fewer brambles and weeds there was still a lot of clearing to do - dead branches and twigs littering the ground and low branches on the Carpinus which needed trimming back.|
I found Magnolia stellata, Philadelphus x purpureomaculatus "Belle Etoile", Cotinus coggygria "Royal Purple" and Choisya ternata - all of which I had been able to see from a distance - together with Anemone nemorosa, Cardamine asarifolium, Polygonatum x hybridum, Smilacina racemosa and Tellima grandiflora which I had not been able to get near for some time. Rosa mulliganii (longicuspis) scrambled around and up the Carpinus.
|Throughout April I worked to clear the worst of the weeds. Having attacked the brambles and nettles I could reach the other things that were strangling the garden.|
This large mound of Lonicera was actually the Cortaderia selloana - but not a lot of it was visible. After I'd cleared the honeysuckle I gave it a severe haircut which did it the world of good.
|I did manage to keep the beds at the top of the garden weeded and tidy.|
The Fritillaria meleagris fllowered well under the Cercis siliquastrum in bed 5; from the three bulbs I planted in 1992 they have multiplied very nicely.
Leucojum aestivum "Graveteye Giant" and Erythronium "Pagoda" (below) and Narcissus "Foundling" in bed 4 (below right) also flowered very well.
|At this point, in April, the garden was reasonably clear of the larger weeds, but I only had time to keep the top part weeded properly - the further from the house, the more weeds.|
|I was busy and the garden grew exuberantly. This was fine when what grew was wanted, like Campanula poscharskyana "E.H.Frost" seen here on the raised bed in July - but not so good when it was the weeds elsewhere.|
The garden rapidly became a wildlife sanctuary again - great for the birds, butterflies, frogs and toads which I like....
|... but I am not so happy about the foxes. They think the garden belongs to them - they dig holes, roll on the choicer plants and drag all sorts of rubbish into the garden as well as killing any small wildlife they can catch.|
They come right up to the door in broad daylight. This one was enjoying the early morning sun on the roof in October. They may look cute but they are not, most are mangy and I just wish they would go away.
|In 2001 I was busy, time flew by, very little got done in the garden and the weeds took over.|
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