Miscellany and detritus, from the writer of Is This Mutton?com

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

In search of a grubbing mattock

A "before" shot
When we bought our house six years ago, the back garden didn't need too much attention. The previous owners obviously knew their stuff and had created a wide border with a few trees and shrubs to shelter the garden, a decking area and a small lawn.

Gradually though the trees had become too big - particularly two awful leylandii - and part of the garden was subsequently always in shade. Ivy was rampant, no matter how much we tried to hack it back. So we decided to rip everything out.

Quite a shock when it finally happened. It's amazing how much bigger the garden looks. But also very bare and unwelcoming. The fence in particular is suddenly exposed, without its ivy coat, and looks ghastly.

The plan is to keep it fallow for a year, except for planting two trees in the autumn. Two small trees: I'm thinking an apple tree and a medlar.

In the meantime we'll be building up the soil and removing the ivy as it reappears. Which requires a special implement. Today J was on a mission: he wanted to get a grubbing mattock  (which I was mistakenly calling a grubbing matlock, as in Glen Matlock from the Sex Pistols). We visited B&Q, Homebase and Focus, but no such tool to be found. It eventually turned up in Wickes. Resembling a pickaxe, it was used by the professionals when they removed the roots.

Rose "Scepter'd Isle" from front garden
I'd love to create an English cottage garden, with delphiniums, lupins, hollyhocks, stocks, Sweet William, lobelia at the front. I'm also very taken with Monty Don's "jewel garden." And for me, you can never have too many roses. Our front border is looking splendid with the rose bushes groaning with blooms. Example on the left. Those roses are all pink, but in memory of my dad Stamps, I would like to acquire an old rose he loved, a red rose called "Ena Harkness," and plant it at the back.

1 comment

Trevor Woodford said...

Roses have always been a favourite of mine...the scent of some of them is divine.

Although the garden might look a bit bare at the moment it will be all the better for the work that you have done...!!


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