Monday, 25 January 2010


Now that the snow has melted, we are seeing our land for almost the first time since moving in, and is it ever a mess. In front of and behind the house the former trees or gardens are now fields of muck peppered with builders’ rubble, and we have to turn it back into a garden.

The cardboard from moving boxes, spread across the land, will keep out weeds, and the chest of drawers can be made into a coldframe. The evergreens have spread far beyond their bounds, and need some severe pruning.

The pruned boughs have made a trail over the mud, and more of them might make good bedding for underneath the soil – forming a barrier at the base of the garden bed, drainage for our frequent rain and gradually composting away. They are acidic, though, so they might not make a good bed for things like brassicas.

We have mixed feelings about the evergreens – they are an invasive species that must be hacked back frequently, but they are also a good windbreak in this flat and whistling bog-land. One idea was to cut back the branches and weave them into a fence, and plant seedlings of something more desirable on the fence’s sunny side. In theory, the branches would collapse and the trees die over a few years, by which time the native trees would be strong enough to thrive.



Cecelia said...

I did not know about using the boughs as drainage n the garden beds - great idea.

We have a row of evergreens that were planted by the prev owner as a windbreak and privacy screen - they sheared all the branches off the sides of the trees which face the garden - thus creating lots of room - but left the boughs on the side of the tree facing the road. So you have a windbreak/privacy screen - but no problems re: crowding out. The trees happily survived and are still there - we have not sheared boughs off the higher parts of the trees cause at that height they do not create a problem re: space.

Brian Kaller said...


That's also a possibility, leaving the far side of the trees unshorn -- we might do that. We would just as soon replace the trees entirely, though, with something native and productive -- say, hazels wrapped in raspberry vines or something.

Where do you live, if you don't mind my asking? What climate?