The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Off Topic: The Hedgerow

I’ve been doing battle with the hedge for a couple of months now, and I’m winning the battle.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a ‘before’ photo, but having completed one side in its entirety, and the top and other side of half of it, I did belatedly take a quick snap of the half-side that I hadn’t touched.

This is a pretty good representation of how the whole thing did look:

IMG_0619 (Yep, it snowed again on Saturday night; this photo was taken on Sunday)

The difficulty in the job is disentangling the rampant ivy from the hawthorn, which meant that electric hedge trimmers were of little use, so the entire job has been done with two pairs of long-handled pruners (one lightweight pair to save my arms, one ratchet pair for the thicker pieces of both hawthorn and ivy).

The extent of the damage done by our previous neglect of this task over the last few years is evident when you look at the sorry, bare state of the half that I have completed:

IMG_0625 I’ve probably only got a couple more days of teetering on the ladder (and occasionally falling down the drainage ditch as I dismount the ladder) before I can declare the job complete (alas, there’s still plenty of work required to bring the rest of the woefully neglected garden into order).


  1. And then you're going to go off walking from one end of the country to the other?! Fine gardeners you are!

  2. I think that walking from one end of the country to the other may explain how the garden got in such a state to start with!

  3. Ooh - you any good with pruning trees? I could do with a good tree pruning person...

  4. I could do with a tree pruning person too. That's the next job on the list, once I've finished the hedge.

    (The next job on the list after 'prune the cherry tree' is 'go for a big walk'.)

  5. Used to do a bit of pruning; that hedge looks as if it needs to be laid, no,no,no, not like that!: to regenerate growth the branches are partially cut through and laid over.

  6. Darn, I did put my nameto the last comment; it was me, that dreaded Dawn

  7. Dawn - you're absolutely right about the hedge needing to be laid. We've watched so many around here be done in the last couple of years, but fear that the purse strings won't stretch to getting ours done just at the moment (too many other maintenance issues of a higher priority!).

    Still, at least I've saved (most of) it from being killed by the ivy for the moment, which is better than where we were heading a couple of months ago.

    And, aside from the 'ouch' factor involved in the thorn, it's actually been quite enjoyable (and in the process I've had the chance to listen to quite a few audiobooks).

  8. You can borrow my billhook but it is a tad late in the year now; hedging should be done in the winter months when the sap is down. It is some years now since I did any pruning or hedging.

  9. I had to Google 'billhook' - that's how ignorant I am of these things, and I doubt that I'd know what to do with one if I had it in my hand.

    Good news is that, for now, I've won the battle with the ivy and just have a length of thorn to go. Another half of an audio book should see it done.

    A bit of Googling on pruning of the cherry tree also told me that this is not the time of year to tackle it, so that's postponed until the summer.