Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Garden at Ash Cottage - An Introduction

ladybird ladybug

The mild weather that we had before Christmas, along with keeping the ladybirds out and active, allowed us to get a really good start on the garden.  One of the main attractions of our new home is the garden at Ash Cottage.  It is about an acre in size, with several out-buildings and a 60ft chicken run, loads of BIG trees and incredibly over-grown.  The first thing we had to do when we got in was cut everything back, so that we could see what we have.

trees

What we have are a lot of very large trees that make the house and garden dark and prevent other plants from growing, but with views and hints of how beautiful it could all look once we get to work on it.

Ash Cottage - line of trees

garden ash cottage

garden ash cottage

So, we went for it with the trees, all the leylandii except 1 were cut down; that's 8 trees (1 felled by the other Mrs Fox & I); plus an 11ft hedge of 7 more leylandii cut down by Neil with his trusty chainsaw; plus the 3 or 4 trees cut down by the electricity board (at our behest) to make safe the power-line that runs across the garden.

tree felling garden ash cottage

Most of the trees had to be climbed to be felled, there was not enough space to allow any of them to go down without them falling on a house, out-building, chicken run, caravan or other trees.  The tree surgeons didn't think any of the trees had been touched for a minimum of 20 years.  We still have tonnes of dead wood that needs to be cut out of the remaining trees to make them healthier and safer.

tree felling garden ash cottage

After all the cutting down we've had huge bonfires to get rid of all of the wood and leaves, that are of little use in wood burners due to all of the oils in their timber.  We are still working our way through this wood, huge long piles of tree limbs have been; trampolines, pirate ships, castles and forests for the children to play in and on for the last 3 months.  They will be sad to see it finally all gone, and we have re-learnt that primeval enjoyment of just gazing at a big bonfire, poking it and stoking it and listening to it crackle and flame.

garden ash cottage
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Despite all our felling we still have plenty of mature trees in the garden, including a large beech and sycamore tree that are over 100 years each, 4 more young sycamore, 5 silver birch, a willow, field maple, a cherry tree and several damson and greengage trees, 3 more substantial evergreens still standing, numerous hawthorn and elder, and I'm not even mentioning the various large shrubs.

Along with clearing the trees here has also been a vast amount of rubbish; old swings, barbed wire, garden machinery, chairs, wood, oil drums, cabling, concrete, glass, rubble, an old MG engine buried in the compost.  The compost heap itself was about the size of a small urban garden and needed to be moved as it was rotting the neighbours fence it had been leaning against.

garden ash cottage

All this space in the garden allows us to say "Goodbye" to our allotment (sad day though it was) and incorporate the veg patch into our garden.   Here's the final destination of that compost heap; but it's back breaking work.

veggie garden ash cottage

And it is the veggie garden that has absorbed most of my attention this week.  At one side of the garden is a hexagonal greenhouse that I have been renovating the last few days, clearing of ivy, cleaning, re-hanging shelves and re-making benches.  Sadly neglected like the rest of the house and garden, it is being returned to it's intended use and now is home to two trays of tomato seeds.

hexagon greenhouse ash cottage

And to make up for my decimation of bird habitat, we have put out feeders and bought nest boxes to go up in the remaining trees.  Yesterday I ordered 3 apple trees and we've a walnut tree waiting to go into the ground too.

Simple Wanderlust


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15 comments:

  1. What a garden you have! There's a lot of work to be done but it will all pay off.

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    1. Thanks, we have only just got started, but I have high hopes.

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  2. What a fabulous space and a busy time ahead! It's amazing how much light there is when trees are cut isn't there, and that alone is incentive to keep them at bay! Good luck and look forward to seeing how it goes #hdygg

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    1. Thanks Stephanie, yes, the extra light into the house and garden has been a revelation.

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  4. Oh wonderful a family like us embarking on a similar project although you sound like you know what your doing !!! i love your green house so much i would love to pot up in there in the warmth.

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    1. Thanks Helen, I'm not sure I exactly know what I'm doing, but, I'm hoping the mistakes will be almost as much fun as the successes.

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  5. What a fabulous space you have there (very similar to Helens as she mentions in the comments). Loving the hexagonal greenhouse, such a good feeling giving a facelift and some tlc to things isn't it?
    You can't beat a good bonfire - but I hope you had a stiff G&T as a reward to all your hard work!
    Thanks for joining in and sharing x

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    1. Thanks Annie, I did join in with "How Does Your Garden Grow?" from our previous (smaller) garden, so I am looking forward to contributing again and seeing other peoples gorgeous gardens too.

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  6. Oh that looks like my dream garden especially the 60ft chicken run - my chooks would appreciate that!

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    1. Thanks, we hope to be getting 4 chicks in time for the Easter Hols.

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  7. Wow - what fun you are going to have developing this huge garden!

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    1. I'm very excited, tho the size does sometimes make me wonder if we have bitten off more than we can chew.

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  8. wow! so much work, but so worth it! looking forward to seeing more of what you get done this year!

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