Sunday, 30 August 2015

Dependencies - again

Neither of us like where we have parked the caravan.  Being on the right-hand side of the drive is too "in your face", gets in the way of moving the cars around and means I can't see anyone come in through the gate.

Of course, at Bag End "just" moving the van is not simply a case of raising the corner steadies and firing up the motor mover.  First there is the small matter of a massive pile of half-rotted bark chip.  Over the last couple of weeks we have thoroughly mulched the laurel hedge in the Cottage Garden and shifted much of it into builders' bags, which whilst still on the drive are tidy and waiting until I am ready to use it.
Mulching the hedge was made possible because I have taken out all the huge Miscanthus Sinensis which I grew from seed and then discovered I really did not like.  The laurel hedge looks much nicer without grasses crowding it and will grow better for the extra light, air and lack of competition.  (There seem to be no photos of the harvesting of enough grass to make my own small bale of hay . . .)


This morning Management helped me move the remainder and we thoroughly mulched the laurel hedge behind the big fruit cage.  No more industrial-sized piles of garden materials on the drive - Yay!

The next small obstacle was all the logs which LP supplied recently.  Thank crunchy for our little garden tractor and trailer - I would hate to be barrowing all these around to the log store which is filling up nicely.  We managed to move about half before deciding that we had worked for quite long enough in close proximity to the wasp nest in the compost heap and it was time to stop before someone got stung. 

With a place to pile brush until it can be shredded we could work on the next problem.

When we moved here in the dead of winter I thought the big tree next to the drive might be a beech but it turned out to be a magnolia

March 2008

I love magnolia and this was a pure white Stellata.  According to the RHS this is a "small shrub" and like most small shrubs at Bag End pays absolutely Sod All attention to what the country's foremost horticultural experts say it will do: our magnolia was at least six metres tall not the nice, neat 2.5m it is supposed to be.  Every Spring the frost wrecks all the flowers and for the rest of the year it's just a big green lump.  Parking a caravan underneath those big, brittle branches was never going to work.

Last weekend Management made a small start on reducing it and this afternoon he went back for more :-)   We fuelled up the chainsaw and the pole pruner and I agreed he could do whatever he wanted . . .   It must be mentioned that even though the pole pruner is absolutely the right tool for the job, using it is Incredibly Hard Work - it's heavier than it looks and not brilliantly balanced (we choose not to use the body harness) and M. is an absolute star for bringing the whole tree down with no damage to the hornbeam hedge below.

By the time he had finished we were far too knackered to even think about moving the van.  But it was definitely worth it - we are both staggered by how much the view has been opened up.  It is the usual gardening problem of getting so used to a tree/shrub/whatever that you don't really "see" it and realise the effect it is having on the whole area.

We moved a bench further up the garden, got a drink, sat down and went "WOW".

Taken from the same spot in July 2013:


  1. That was surely more than a days work? Love how your view has opened up and I pretend the view from the top of our yard of the distant ranges houses the Lake District behind it (giggle). I'll try and get a good photo soon from the back corner. Our caravan takes up one side of our drive, but we don't have a choice to park it anywhere else, so there it stays. I just spied Daisy sitting on the steps. Take care.

    1. Hi Susan, finishing the bark chip, some of the logs and the magnolia was accomplished yesterday. LP helped with the bulk of the bark last week. Look forward to seeing your view (and your caravan).

  2. Absolutely WOW! Moving trees makes far more difference than you would think. Suddenly the eye travels to what is beyond and the whole horizon becomes so much wider.

    1. Thank you Jessica. You know only too well what a difference it makes removing a large tree!!

      We found yesterday, and again this morning, that the wonderful range of hills immediately south of us (Grisedale Pile, Hopegill Head, Whiteside and Grasmoor) look like they have upped sticks and moved a couple of miles closer. It's the strangest optical illusion but we are not complaining.

  3. Oh so much better Jayne ,,, what a difference it has made! As you know I love light and space around me, not to mention mountain views ,,, not quite sure how I ended up here surrounded by trees :-)

    1. Thanks Jill. Today there has been much stopping and appreciating the hugeness of it all - and asking ourselves why we didn't take the damn thing down before. We haven't had decent flowers on it for about 4 years.

      As for your trees - I suspect when you moved (was it about 30 years ago?) you weren't surrounded by huge sycamores.

  4. That has made a heck of a difference. Amazing.

    1. Cheers Sue. Whilst I hate taking out large and established plants this was neither horticulturally significant or adding in any way to the design of the garden. But in a year or so when the wood has seasoned it will add very nicely to the heat generated in our wood burner!

  5. We were Jayne but I suppose 30 years ago they were not so huge! Since then the golf course has planted more trees extending right across the bottom of the garden next door and completely blocking out our view of the hills ,,, the view that we moved here for!


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