Tag Archive: tree surgery


Another hot day...

Another hot day…

An interesting (if not very taxing), session at Blickling this week. In the morning I worked with Norfolk Peter and Chris ‘bashing brambles’ along the main Temple walk. Cutting them out at ground level often involved scrambling amongst the rhododendrons and then hauling the extensive stems out of the bushes. Prickly work!

I then joined the ladies in the Walled garden and did a bit of weeding around the Raised beds with their brightly coloured Zinnias. The heat was climbing…

Weeding in the Walled Garden

Weeding in the Walled Garden

After lunch Peter and I joined Gardener Ed and a team of Tree surgeons over in the Wilderness, where a couple of huge, but unsafe, trees (a Beech and Sycamore) had already been felled- I remember hearing the loud crashes earlier in the day.

Well we were there to help clear up the brashings once another sycamore (also infected with Honey fungus) was felled. It was fascinating watching one of the surgeons clamber up the tree and progressively rid it of all its side growth, to leave a tall (I estimate 80 feet) trunk, ready for the chop. Ed told me that the hand-held chain saw he used is digitally controlled, so it regulates the power it delivers in relation to the resistance it picks up in the sawing job in hand. It was impressive.

Well, did we clear up? No. Did we see the tree fall? No. Unfortunately we had to leave before the deed was done, but Ed told me later that it fell well, and that it was caught just in time as it’s inner wood was spongy and soft from the fungus….a few more lives saved!

Old School Gardener

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

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