Tag Archive: hedge cutting


wp_20161013_15_48_01_proThis week it was a concerted effort to cut back and tidy up the hedge that runs along the ‘ha ha’ on the northern boundary of the gardens at Blickling.

The hedges that run along the ha ha, backed by a wire fence for security, are a bit of a bone of contention. Some are pretty consistent (like the one that was cut back this week- it’s mainly Beech), but others are a real mixture of different hedge plants and hedge plants that want to grow into trees (especially Sycamore). And in some places the hedge has grown out to reduce the space between it and the fence which makes it almost impossible to get in alongside with a strimmer to keep the undergrowth down.

If I had my way I think it would be worth spending time to grub them out completely, as they perform no useful security role, but take  a lot of maintenance if they are to be kept in a reasonably tidy state. Of course they are of value to nature (as nesting sites and food sources for birds) and I must say gardeners Ed and Rob did make a nice job of cutting back the northern hedge so that it should, hopefully sprout forth with new life next spring.

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After cut..looking a bit of a mess….?

Anyway, our session involved finishing off cutting back the hedge and its immediate surrounds and then ‘feeding the wolf’ that is the industrial scale shredder. By the end of the morning, having brought up all the brashings from the hedge to the path above the ha ha the shredder had finished its first pass.

After lunch we tidied up the last few cuttings and then moved on to finish off the hedge at its steepest descent from the path. An earlier attempt at cutting this area had been halted as a wasp’s nest had been discovered. Despite the wasps still being active, gardener Rob proceeded to cut the remaining hedge back…only to disturb the wasps and get attacked for his efforts! A few stings later (one on the head seemed to be especially painful), Rob paused for thought…and we gingerly tidied up as much as we could, but staying well away from the wasps, until the nest can be properly dealt with.

All told it had taken Gardeners Ed, Rob, Rebecca and Jane plus half a dozen volunteers virtually all day to complete the job. But it does look tidy, if bare- the hedge has been drastically reduced in height and girth, and hopefully is back to a manageable size. Now will the next stage be to tackle the east and southern boundaries, or would that be a hedge too far….?!

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

One block of the 'Piano Hedges'

One block of the ‘Piano Hedges’

A very hot, humid session this week at Blickling. Just as well then that Gardener Ed had something not too taxing for Aussie Pete and me to do. It involved coaxing the Yew bushes known as ‘pianos’ (due to their resemblance to grand pianos) into a bit of order.

Gardener Ed explaining his approach to 'playing the piano'...

Gardener Ed explaining his approach to ‘playing the piano’…

Ed handled the hedge clipper, while Pete and I used measuring tapes and lines to cut the turf edges that will help to guide the edges of the hedges! I his usual thorough way Ed explained how, over time, the bushes have become a bit unruly- too much ‘cutting by eye’ had resulted in a number of bumps, bulges and hollows that spoil the neat geometry. Over the past few years he has been letting some areas of the bushes grow out to the desired lines, and now they look pretty much ready to be ‘whipped into line’. It’s interesting looking at how much these bushes – and their accompanying ‘acorns’ on the parterre- have grown in the last 200 years or so. Here are some pictures taken between 80 and 100 years ago and the difference with today is quite noticeable…

Whilst the bushes will continue to grow (especially inside), the hope is that the lines now beign established can be maintained. Even so, it was interesting to see how much Pete and I had to cut back the turf edges to accommodate them- 2-3 inches in places. As I say, it was relatively easy work with lines and half moons, but even so the high humidity made it rather sapping work. Still we were rewarded with an ice cream from Ed at the end of the session.

The rest of the gardens in this area are looking grand, and I also made a quick trip over to the walled garden to see how it was looking (Project Manager Mike wasn’t around today). The other garden volunteers were busy weeding around the edges fo the parterre and Rob and Becca were raising the crown on a Lime tree near the Temple- complete with hydraulic lift. The result has certainly opened up the area and enabled some shaded shrubs and trees to benefit from more light.

Before the session I’d emailed Head Gardener Paul a layout plan and list of trees for possible inclusion in the Tree Trail project I’ve mentioned before. This is coming together nicely, with between 20 and 30 trees in the trail. Once firmed up we can start to sort out the information to go on the sign boards at each specimen, as well as leaflets, childrens’ activities etc.

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As I may have mentioned before, the gardening team is a wonderful group of people, with many an amusing tale to tell. Ed’s contribution today concerns the ‘human sundial’ set out in the parterre (see picture below). Apparently he confronted a bemused gentleman walking around this one dull day. The man complained that the sundial wasn’t working- ‘It’s overcast’ said Ed. The man was puzzled and disappointed he couldn’t get the dial to work- ‘You should put a sign up explaining that it only works when the sun is out’, he said. Hmm, maybe a case for introducing an artificial sun on dull days?!

The 'Human Sundial'- it seems a little too complicated for some people...

The ‘Human Sundial’- it seems a little too complicated for some people…

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

Daniel Greenwood

The language of leaves

Alphabet Ravine

Lydia Rae Bush Poetry

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Australian Pub Project

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