Six on Saturday: In One Fell Swoop…

… the character of the woodland has been destroyed…

Our neighbour on the hedge side came to the door a week or so ago to say they were planning on replacing part of the hedge at the bottom end of their garden, where it was very thin and scraggy, with three fence panels. Admittedly it has looked thinner and scraggier since we cut back some of the holly and ivy on our side to create the ‘path less travelled’ a year or so ago, which wouldn’t have affected them in any way as it was tucked behind a shed and  disused greenhouse, but they felt it allowed their dog to escape into our garden and wanted to make it more secure – and they have also always been an exceedingly private family.

The age of our properties has meant responsibilty for the boundaries was not definitive, but our neighbours believe their deeds suggested it was theirs, so we couldn’t really insist the hedge was left as it was. We have since found out from their landscape contracters that there were to be five panels, not just three, and we were certainly not anticipating the towering monstrosity that began appearing yesterday – six feet of panel and gravel board above a drop of more than a foot makes for a very dominant boundary, reinforced by the garish orange stain and glaringly white concrete posts and gravel boards…the very antithesis of the dark green natural boundary it has replaced…

Hey ho… we are trying to be philosophical about it, walking down the garden periodically to have another look, trying to imagine how different it might be in other seasons, when there were more leaves on the trees, and pondering how to make the best of the situation. On other boundaries, admittedly, we might have welcomed this outcome, as we did when another neighbour replaced their leylandii conifers with a fence, although we have still toned down the colour of their panels (which we could still do here of course), and in time holly and ivy will recolonise the boundary – but not soon enough! In the short term camouflague netting might be a useful remedy, but would it prove to be a bit ‘naff’?

The one redeeming factor in all this is that replacing this section of hedge in this way is nowhere near  as detrimental as having another property built in our neighbours’ garden, on the boundary, as was the plan until recently…

But let’s move onto other and more pretty things this Saturday, like one of the many hellebores which are now brightening up the garden and enjoying the sunshine we have been blessed with for much of this week (for some reason it seems to be missing a label, perhaps buried under a recent mulch of compost):

They certainly add colour to the carpet of white in the woodland edge border, which I was admiring today whilst realising I have not begun splitting any snowdrop clumps, a task I usually attend to as soon as they start emerging. Plenty of time for that though!

Down in the working greenhouse there is a pretty array of young grasses, a recent purchase partly to fulfil my plan of replanting one of the bold borders with grasses. Bought through eBay, the purchase was impeccable in every respect – great communication and personal attention, great packaging and great plants – and at a great price too!

Also in the greenhouse is evidence that my 2022 seed sowig is well under way, with newly germinated seedlings, fresh from their warm spot in the house, next to the first batch of January sown seedlings now pricked out:

I have hitherto not been brilliant at keeping up with feeding regimes in the garden, starting well but becomingly increasigly lax, and am hoping to remedy this by the use of post-it note reminders in the garden diary I now keep (with brief information about garden tasks, flowering highlights and the weather). Today the clematis have all been treated to bonemeal and slow release fertiliser, topped off by a final pruning of the group 3 varieties. Most were showing very few new shoots yet, but ‘Margot Koster’ (below) very obligingly had a good crop of healthy shoots low down, perfectly placed for accurate pruning:

With the first ‘Tête-à-tête’ beginning to open, the advent of spring comes tantalisingly nearer, and I am sure other contributors to Jon the Propagator’s Saturday meme will be seeing evidence of this too – why not check them out?

This entry was posted in boundaries, early spring, Gardening, Gardens, grasses, pruning, seed sowing, Six on Saturday, snowdrops, woodland. Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Six on Saturday: In One Fell Swoop…

  1. Rosie Amber says:

    Perhaps you could take some cuttings of your clematis and get them clambering over the unsightly fence? Or something else which like lots of fence room, perhaps a passion flower?

    • Cathy says:

      It’s very shady, Rosie, as I will explain more when I next write about it, and any planting needs to retain the woodland character

  2. If this makes you feel any better, or neighbor’s fence rotted, fell down, was left in place and they are keeping a pig back there..snowdrops look wonderful.

  3. tonytomeo says:

    Gads! I loathe fences. In the neighborhood where I used to live, middle ages houses get replaced with much larger houses, which shade much smaller garden spaces. Taller fences contribute even more shade. It makes more sense to me. More than a million people live there now. I can not imagine living in a town with more than a million other people in it, but wanting such separation from them.

  4. Anna says:

    Always sad to see hedges albeit thin and scraggy replaced by fences and the newness of it will no doubt be glaring to your eyes Cathy. You must have been both sad and shocked 😫 No doubt you will come up with an ingenious solution in keeping with the woodland area you have in mind. As you say a new property would have been even more unpalatable. Your pink hellebore is rather lovely. Thanks for the timely reminder to feed my clematis.

    • Cathy says:

      I will continue pondering, Anna! The fifth panel went in today and ironically, there is still the means for their dog to get trough gaps at either end…! 😉

  5. Cathy says:

    Oh dear, what a shock. But I see so many options for new climbers or more artistic touches Cathy. And you always come up with great ideas. 😉 The hellebore and your snowdrops are gorgeous. 😃

    • Cathy says:

      In other situations, the fence could be a background for all sorts of things, whether decorative climbers or some sort of artwork, but neither applies here. I will continue deliberations and will hopefully have a lightbulb moment in due course…

  6. bcparkison says:

    Think of it as a clean canvas….ready for your magic.

    • Cathy says:

      In theory yes, but replicating the dappled effect of a natural hedge is challenge – but somehow I will make the most of it in due course…

  7. Brian Skeys says:

    I would paint the fence green Cathy to help blend in for now. Then I would plant an ornamental Ivy, I have found gold child very attractive and grew quite quickly over our fence.

    • Cathy says:

      Painting would be an improvement of sorts, but the actual solid mass of the five panels would still dominate, I feel, and there is the white concrete too… Interesting to hear that Gold Child works well for covering a fence, although I suspect it would need more light than it might get here…

  8. Noelle says:

    I think Brian’s idea is perfect for the fence. Birds love ivy and will soon be nesting amongst it. Thanks for the reminder regarding pruning, feeding and mulching the clematis. I’ve only just cut down Bill McKenzie, now he would cover your fence in a season or two, quite easily! I think you would be able to come up with more choice ideas though.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Noelle, I will work out something satisfactory in due course, but it can’t be anything too ‘cultivated’, to fit in with the woodland theme, and the soil is poor and the area very shaded too

  9. Stain it dark green and introduce climbers… that would look lovely!

  10. Going Batty in Wales says:

    Your post makes mne very glad I do not have neighbours – well not in the gardening sense! You will think of some way to restore the feel of your woodland spot – the shock has made your brain freeze temporarily.

    • Cathy says:

      It will not be a quick decision, Sue – most of my inspiration comes after a period of walking past and pondering, although I do have sudden lightbulb moments too! Bizarrely, because of the way the houses are, we have about 9 different neighbours, although our house has been here longer than any of them!

      • Going Batty in Wales says:

        Years ago I was getting into a bit of a tizz about something I hadn’t done in the garden and an old man told me ‘With a garden there is always next year’. Better to take time and get it right than rush.

        • Cathy says:

          That is very true, and I know how tempting instant gratification is in the garden, as I am definitely guilty of that! ps I will come and have a proper look at your blog soon, I promise! I have dipped in, but at a point when I had little time to comment…🙄

          • Going Batty in Wales says:

            I love it when people read my blog and even more when they commenbt but I know that not everyone has time or inclination to read every post especially as I write about all sorts of things. If you choose to comment I shall read it with interest.

          • Cathy says:

            I did see one about your dishwasher befire Christmas and was going to comment that Google is pretty good at sorting out issues like this without getting anyone in or a new appliance… 😉

  11. Pauline says:

    Paint it black or dark green and then plant 3 or 5 silver birch, underplant with masses of bulbs and they would soon give you back your woodland. Neighbours can be a problem!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for the suggestions, Pauline – in fact I have planted a lot here since I created the ‘path less travelled’, mostly moving woodland plants from elsewhere, plus additional bulbs, and you will see from when I write more why planting additional trees wouldn’t work

  12. linnie says:

    your flowers and plants are beautiful!! as to the fence, my suggestion is to paint the posts and anything that is now white in the same color (greyish-blue) that you have on the shed door … i personally would let the wood go “natural” … it should age to to nicely blend. i do like the idea of a climber or ivy to grow up the fence. good luck and have fun making it your own!

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, using the Wild Thyme that we have on all our other woodwork is another option, and probably less garish than a green stain. It’s not going to be a decision to be taken quickly!

  13. Cathy says:

    Oh, I feel your pain about the fence, Cathy. Been there in the past. And yes, Pauline’s idea about the colour and the birch is rather a nice one for a woodland area, isn’t it? I’m sure you will have your own creative solutions once you come out of shock. The others of your six are things full of hope – I enjoyed reading about them after the wretched fence, so thanks!

  14. Yes, that must have been a shock – I’m looking forward to seeing what you do to make the area yours again.
    What a glorious combination the hellebores and snowdrops are. So pretty.

    • Cathy says:

      The hellebores and (native) snowdrops are at their peak now, I would say – and make me want to rush out and buy more hellebores, although there are a number of younger ones that haven’t flowered this year so perhaps I will resist the temptation… 😉

  15. shemann says:

    That is an unfortunate fence. A friend of mine covered a fence with a beautiful clematis, tiny white flowers. I’m looking at spring in the works for you and wishing it were so here in Ohio.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks shemann – it’s very shady there for most of the year, so any planting would have to cope with very shady and dry conditions for much of the year. Yes, definite signs of spring here! When can you anticipate the first stirrings in Ohio?

  16. Tracy Perez says:

    I feel your pain. Behind my house was a radio station. I have a wire fence to keep the dog in but didn’t want to block the view of the open field and trees. now they are going to develop the property with 34 townhouses, set back only ten feet from the property line. I’ll be planting native evergreens to block the (ruined) view.

    • Cathy says:

      Sorry to hear that Tracey 🙄 Having worked in ‘town planning’ some years ago I am well aware that we don’t own our view and an open field will always have potential for buildings, subject to planning rules. Had the land been allocated for housing for some time? I don’t know where you are based so don’t know what rules might apply where you are. The buildings should hopefully take account of where your windows are, but that is a small consolation for the loss of your previous outlook. And they should provide some sort of boundary protection, – in the UK at least. have you looked at the plans to see what is proposed? Might be better not to plant until the new boundary is in?

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