It seems that these pictures date from August 07. I mentioned the work in progress at the time, but by the time it was all finished, it seemed too late to put up pictures of diminishing undergrowth. Not for the first time, it seems I was wrong.
It’s an odd garden, with no cohesiveness about it. There are some beds in a gravelled area in front of the house, a smallish lawn (for the size of the garden overall) at the side, separated by the drive from the beds, and the kitchen garden is the other side of the lawn and separated from that by the other side of the drive, which encircles the lawn (more of a tear-drop shape than a circle). Then there are various barns and a rough grassed area, and a scrubby shrubbery – it could be made beautiful I daresay, if you threw enough time and money at it, but we quite like living in the middle of a bit of wilderness and we’d sit uneasily in elegance and beauty.
Nevertheless, once in a while, one realises that something drastic needs to be done. The growth around the lawn had got quite out of hand, and trimming only showed that there was a whole lot of rubbish behind, which had been planted in front of rather than being cleared out properly (bad grammar? Indeed. Makes sense though). I had, the previous winter, cut the much-disliked laurel hedge to about 3 foot in height, but it had only made me realise that it had to come out altogether. It was so thick that it needed 15 or 20 feet of height to give balance, and it overshadowed everything and encroached on that side of the lawn. On the other side of the lawn, some lilacs would have to come out, which was a pity, but they were a thin border in front of a lot of dead wood.
This is the sort of thing I mean. Much of the wreckage was only visible once we’d cut down the lilacs. I cut them down with my trusty pruning saw and a helpful friend dug them out. The pictures showing the old fence were taken from the drive side. We were sorry to lose the old laburnum, which was ailing, but when it was cut down we realised that it wouldn’t have lived much longer anyway.
In one of the pictures, you can see the granite blocks that now edge some of the paths in Dave’s garden. You can also see the footings of the wall, which were put in a long time before we started building last May.
In another, you can see some dead elm saplings – the big elm tree fell victim to disease years ago, and since then suckers keep growing and then dying when they start to become trees, which is the fate of all English elms now. You can also see the wire we took out, remains of various fencing – the earliest, the Sage thinks, dates from before the drive was put in as when his parents bought this house in 1928, there was only a wire and a hawthorn hedge separating it from the field. The hawthorn was completely dead and almost rock-hard.
I left a fringe of lilac between the lawn and the field, which has thickened up in the past couple of years, and the little pightle at the pointed end of the tear-drop remains (a pightle is, in Norfolk, a small remnant of land, usually triangular in shape), which Weeza and Al remembered playing in when they were small, visiting their grandparents.
Stripped of ivy, the trunks of the wild plum trees are smooth and twisted.
That August wasn’t all work – we went with the family to Southwold one day.
While I was having fun hacking and chopping, the Sage was busy preparing for the next auction.