Monday, 29 March 2010

Restaurant renovation

It would be reasonable to think we love the view from our kitchen window and we do but it also irritates every time we look outside. The silver birch, cotoneaster and rowan left standing along the boundary are all in a dreadful state - years of being squashed between over-sized triffids have taken their toll. The C. cornubia, despite producing a wonderful crop of berries each year, is badly overgrown. Depending upon where you look different nurseries claim this is either an "arching shrub reaching 4 metres" or a "small evergreen tree growing to 6 metres", difficult for the unwary purchaser. We currently have large, arching deciduous tree-like growths of at least 6 metres . . . sigh

If that were not enough, the Bag End buffet has been due for a serious revamp for some time.

We want to plant mixed native hedging along this fence but first there has to be some serious "pruning".

After the regulation "who said Sunday was a day of rest" six hours or so things looked a lot neater, albeit very bare and stark. The jury is out as to whether those cotoneaster stumps will be allowed to regenerate or be removed completely - they don't really belong in a mixed native hedge and we have others. All I did to the squirrels' favourite tree was cut out a couple of small dead branches. As an apology, two new hazelnut feeders have been installed.

I only needed Management's assistance for a couple of cuts on the tallest bits of the small rowan at the back. It was very satisfying to safely bring down some huge bits of cotoneaster on my own. Why then, does the pole pruner look like this?

After felling some large, heavy, thick limbs successfully I only had a couple more cotoneaster branches to deal with, neither of which were particularly thick. The penultimate one decided to get its own back, unexpectedly swung around about 270 degrees and the choice was dropping the pole pruner and me getting smacked in the head or hanging on to the pruner and using it as a shield. I won, the machinery lost, and the bend in the extension arm shows how much power is in a branch that's less than 3" in diameter. Fortunately it can be repaired reasonably easily which doesn't stop me being extremely irritated with myself, it's the most expensive tool we have bought so far for the garden.

I don't seem to have upset the regulars as much as I feared, some of the birds were back for tea before I'd even finished clearing up and the female pheasant is getting silly and just doesn't move unless I am almost within touching distance.


  1. You'll be surprised how quickly they get used to the new look. We stooled a hugely overgrown eucalyptus a week or so back and its sparrow population have moved to the next shrub along - the forsythia!

  2. At least you were not hurt - pole saws are easy to replace, unlike a Hobbit.

    It does look much tidier, but will the blackies and fieldfares thank you come winter when the berry count is much reduced? Of course, knowing the Bag End Buffet I suspect there will be plenty else to munch.

  3. Thanks Flummery, I suspect it is the decent quality food they come for, and as long as that doesn't stop they will be happy enough. At lunchtime I watched Mr & Mrs Pheasant, bramblings, chaffinch, goldfinch and plenty of blackies.

    James - reducing the berry count is sad and it is why we didn't do this sooner, but there are other C.cornubis in the shrubbery (towards the log store) and I'll eventually be planting other bird-friendly stuff in the new hedge.

  4. Personally, I'd have the silver birch out, but make sure the rowan stayed - but personal preference only there.

    The rowan berries here seem to last right through well into winter for the thrush to feed on - I'm not sure whether that is because there are zillions of berries, or if these aren't as tasty as the others & so get left till last!

  5. Hazel, the rowans definitely stay and more will be planted in the future; like you, I love them.

    The silver birch get to stay, Management is very fond of them (note that he doesn't clear up the leaves in the autumn!)

  6. What a difference a day makes, as the song goes. Sorry about the bent pole but it's better than a bent Bilbo.


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