A Bit of Forestry, Part Two: the Path Less Travelled

Less than a month ago, blogging friend Chloris from The Blooming Garden happened to mention, when talking about projects, that she had been having fun uncovering a hidden overgrown brick path. This sounded an exciting discovery and reminded me of a dream I have had on more than one occasion, suddenly finding a bit of garden I had completely forgotten about – fat chance of that happening! I have, however, been able to ‘find’ an extra square metre or two by jiggling things about and thinking creatively, a bit like a cost-cutting exercise but with no jobs lost at the end of it. Indeed, I have managed to do so several times, not least by the recent border realignment, but there will inevitably be a limit to the number of times I can do so.

Nevertheless, Chloris’ words gave me food for thought on my rambles, and it did not take long for me to see that the only area ripe for land grabbing was the woodland, where the hedge has done what a hedge (like a tree) has a tendency to do, and grown… Fairly thin compared to the rest of the hedgeline, this section has probably only been trimmed once since we bought the property in 1996; despite the relative thinness of the boundary, the holly that forms the bulk of it has reached over and rooted in the woodland, giving the impression of denseness. By pulling out and cutting back the wayward holly and its partner in crime, ivy, we have regained a metre wide strip the length of the woodland, creating a second path, the path less travelled.

So far I have moved some ferns and comfrey to border the new path, but there are other plants that could join them once we have had some rain, to give them more of a chance to settle in. And I await further inspiration, for plants and additional elements of surprise – not quite sure what yet, but that’s why it will be a surprise…

This was actually the first ‘bit of forestry’ conceived and carried out in two or three days a couple of weeks ago, filling a number of the 20 bags of green waste we accumulated, but seemed quite tame compared to the excitement of the Oak Tree Removal – tame and subtle compared to the impact of losing the tree, its absence standing out like the smile of a six year old who has lost both front teeth. The rest of the trunk has now been removed safely (with a chain saw), bringing it down to the height I wanted, just right for a clematis to clamber over, and meaning ‘A bit of forestry, parts 1 and 2: mission accomplished’, as Jim of garden ruminations will be relieved to hear…

With thanks to Chloris for simultaneously spawning the idea of the less-travelled path and the inspiration for my last poem, Pathways

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15 Responses to A Bit of Forestry, Part Two: the Path Less Travelled

  1. Jim Stephens says:

    I am indeed relieved to hear, and see, that the deed is done. That’s let some light in!

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    This looks like it was fun and very satisfying. It will be fun for me to see how this is planted up. As I know you use all your space. I have shady areas and am always looking for inspiration.

    • Cathy says:

      Dry shade is difficult Lisa, and I am just looking for things I can move from elsewhere – it’s better to plant in winter though, when rain can reach the woodland floor more easily

  3. Heyjude says:

    Gosh it must be looking very different now. I only cleared a few branches at the bottom of my contorted Hazel and it’s amazing how much better it looks.

    • Cathy says:

      It certainly does, Jude! We took lower branches from our variegated holly a couple of years ago (‘crown lifting’) and that made a big difference to the area below (but harder to reach berries in December!!)

  4. Ha! I’ve had dreams of that kind too. I wonder if it’s a common theme, like those involving a final exam for a class you’d forgotten you were taking. Congratulations on finding space! That’s always exciting.

    • Cathy says:

      It is always exciting to find more space in a busy garden Kris! What surprised me about the dream was that it was the same new area being discovered both times…

  5. tonytomeo says:

    My colleague in the Los Angeles region and constantly compare our gardening style, and how vastly different they are. His garden is so small compared to mine, but has SO much in it, and so much potential. Serioualy, there are more species in his city lot than I can fit into many acres! It is amusing to see where usable space fits into his garden. The best of the decks is on the flat roof o the office. The spiral stairs to get to it wind through a thicked of bamboo palms.

    • Cathy says:

      Sounds like a man after my own heart, Tony! Visitors are always surprised at how our garden seems to go on and on – and from the narrow frontage onto the street ( as you can see on the aerial photograph) you would never guess

      • tonytomeo says:

        Yes, that looks intriguing. I have seen narrow gardens in San Francisco, but none that take a turn into even more garden space like that.

  6. Anna says:

    Oh how exciting Cathy! I did wonder what you were up to 😂

    • Cathy says:

      I am not sure how exciting it will prove to be to be, other than it opening up a slightly different area, which is why I want to add a bit of the unexpected…

  7. Chloris says:

    Oh well done, how satisfying, making that dream come true and pushing your elastic boundaries as far as they will go. I am so glad my hidden path inspired you. And now you have inspired me to see if I can retrieve any more hidden parts of my garden.

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