Winter work : garden.

Winter projects posts….the other stuff ( not boats that is !)

Blog real time….it’s early December and in real time i’m just taking a break from a 3 week project at home to get rid of a Leylandi ‘hedge’ planted by a former neighbour many years ago on the patch of unregistered land that she claimed to own ; and which borders our property and a council owned house behind us.   I don’t know how long the Leylandi has been there but as far as i can tell it’s never been managed or trimmed so at the start of my job it was about 30 feet high and with about 30 individual trunks, some of them up to 10 inches in diameter.  It’s an absolute bitch of a job because i’m having to climb up into the trunk mass and try and drop the trunks into the unregistered land….this week i’m through to the far side of the hedge but iv’e now got to drop the  smaller trunks into the neighbour below’s garden.  As it is she is ok with that, in fact it’s a council house and she is battling with the council to try and get other conifers removed from her garden edge…..iv’e been in the top of her garden and it’s like a deep dark jungle in there.

My aim is to get all of the Leylandi down by the end of the year, one neighbour is helping me by using his old chainsaw to lop the side branches off some of the larger trunks as i drop them ; then, once it’s all down i’m going to hire an industrial chipper and break everything down into a wood mulch which i’ll use to cover the lane access to that piece of land.     At the end of week 2 iv’e completely twisted my back out of shape so i’m taking a day off….mind you it is also blowing 40 knots and raining so it’s not exactly the best conditions for dropping the Leylandi trunks.  

Second week on the job.


Earlier this Autumn….

Most readers will know that iv’e been away from home for all of the summer and a fair chunk of the autumn ; in fact this year i managed to spend 4 months of it actually on the water which isn’t bad going but it did mean that the gardens got a bit neglected.             Jax bashed away at the weed growth when she had the time but it needed a more industrial approach when i was home and doing the summer boat refit ; from thinking that i needed to do a little bit of cutting and trimming i went into a solid month of site clearance and a created pile of green waste some 20 feet long, 5 deeep and 4 feet high !, so much that we had to go with a professional to take it all away.

At the end of that the site looks a lot lighter, brighter and more open again but equally it looked very bashed about and the clearance of big stuff revealed how much work there was to do just to get it looking ok again.     Just a quick note here : one part of the garden i try and keep a bit ‘wild’ but based on the way natural forestry grows around here and  that is with 3 layers, essentially climax trees, an understory of small bushes and then a layer of ground growth.  My ‘wild’ patch used to have a load of good native bulbs, from daffodil and narcissi through alliums and blubells….but had been completely taken over by invasive monbretia so all of that had to come out which meant stripping off all of the top 2 inches of soil and ripping out thousands of monbretia bulbs all linked together in mats.  In doing that i did unfortunately lose several hundred crocus bulbs as i found it hard to differentiate them from the Monbretia.


What i thought might be a few days of concentrated effort turned into 4 weeks of hard work….my arms and legs all cut up and deeply scratched from the overgrowth of brambles…this year i made the effort to rip out as much of the bramble and nettle root systems as i could and in the process of that i completely destroyed one pair of leather roping gloves and one wooly-pully.    At the end of that little job i can see what big jobs need doing this year and iv’e decided just to work on 4 areas this winter and really improve those :

  1.  Social, sitting area complete re-do
  2. Road edge (100 feet) drive edges (3 x 40 feet) strip out completely, re-shape, dig over  and re-plant to create natural forest/garden border. Once re-planted, cover with leaf mulch.
  3. Driveway edge….remove hazel , dig out all root systems and create border with retrieved bulbs.
  4. Attempt to remove or at least trim the Leylandi that a former neighbour planted in the unregistered land next to our property….that’s at least 3 weeks work and will need a fair bit of explaining.
  5.  + Mulch all ‘natural’ areas with retrieved leaf-mold.

And so it begins.  Stripping out the paving and weeds from our sitting area….old veg bed already emptied and soil saved to containers.




  1. Sounds like you’ve got yourself quite a ambitious winter schedule planned. I have a 200 ft. long, 35 ft. tall Leyland Cyprus hedge on the western edge of my side yard . Great windbreak and quite the hardy plant. I planted it myself in 84, when both me and my back were considerably younger.


    1. In the right setting Leylandi is a useful wind shelter plant, in the wrong place it’s horribly invasive and fast growing. In our situation there was no need for it at all, as i write this morning it’s all down and we are just starting the long tidying-up operation. My neighbour was startled by the sunlight hitting his workshop early this morning as the sun rose up and wasn’t obstructed for the first time in about 10 years


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s