Friday, 15 January 2010

Still listening to my father's advice

It took me a long time, but a few years ago I finally realised that I love gardens but really don't like gardening.  Low maintenance but pretty is my idea of a good garden.  Until I can afford a gardener, however, I do have to do some care and maintenance in the garden if I want it to look nice each summer.

This morning, with the snow melted and the temperatures reasonable again, I stood in the garden and wondered where to begin.  It was very tempting to go back inside and curl up on the sofa with a pot of coffee, but I asked myself 'what would Michael do?' and I decided that he would definitely start by tackling the monstrous ivy and jasmine hedge that runs the full length of one side of the garden.

Ivy and jasmine both seem to thrive on neglect - perfect for our garden.  But this means they need hacking back keeping in check on a regular basis.  For the first ten years we lived here, we trimmed the hedge painfully and laboriously with a bluntish pair of secaturs.  Last summer, our kind neighbours could stand it no longer.  They leant us their hedge trimmer - what a revelation!  The whole hedge took a couple of hours to trim and clear up, rather than the two weekends it used to.  After we had finished, we bought a hedge trimmer of our own and stowed it carefully away in the loft.

This morning, I got it out and laid waste to the hedge.  The hedge trimmer is a very malevolent looking piece of kit.

Those sharp teeth are pretty scary.  But I love how they bite through the thick tangles of vine-like stems. The hedge is so tall that I had to get the ladder out to reach the top.  And even then there were a few bits I couldn't safely cut.  I will need to lend our hedge trimmer to the neighbours on that side and suggest they give their side of the ivy some trimming too.

I filled our big garden waste wheelie bin with all the trimmings, and gave a little private cheer for our local council, who are very good indeed at recycling and composting. 

And after I had cleared the garden and put away the ladder and the rake, I went to put the hedge trimmer away too.  But as I picked it up I saw how filthy it was and asked myself again 'what would Michael do?'.  I decided he would probably clean it and oil it to stop it rusting.  I phoned him to check, and indeed that was what he would do. So I found an old rag and some WD40, carefully cleaned those crocodilian teeth, and put the hedge trimmer back in the loft ready for the next time.

And after all my hard work, I went inside to make myself a strong cup of coffee and eat a chocolate brownie.  Because Michael would definitely do that.


  1. Cutting a hedge in January? Oh, you are good. You make me feel lazy and idle.

    I haven't even cut down my perennials yet.

  2. I am impressed too (and also a little bit jealous that it is above freezing!)

  3. You're putting me to shame. I still haven't pulled up the bolted lettuces from last year's patio veg bed.

  4. very virtuous xx

    bloggy question now, how do you make your fantastic headers with all the different photos in them. love them xx

  5. good god woman, gardening in JANUARY? Are you bored? Or just being saintly?! What are you avoiding doing by hedge cutting instead? Hang on, have just realised, I am describing me!!

    Michael sounds very wise indeed, as indeed is my Michael, Andrew.x

  6. You are meant to clean hedge trimmers after use!

  7. The only down side to the snow having gone, is having to look out on the muddy wreck that is the garden now.

    I never really put it to bed in Autumn, and am paying the price now. Yikes.

  8. Ha ha! Another garden-lover-but-not-keen-gardener here - and I never learn my lesson. Enthusiastic spring plantings never get the attention required to fulfill their potential...


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