Completing The Boundaries

Right on cue, another large cardboard box was delivered to Hillwards on Wednesday.

Peeking inside revealed two bundles of bare root beech hedging, and a bonus piece of what looks like a purple leaved berberis just coming into leaf.

The evening found us, spade in hand, digging and planting a double-staggered row of beech just behind the new rail fence that was completed earlier in the week along our front boundary.

We used up the last of our mulch around the base of the plants, and watered them well. Beech are much slower to break bud than the other trees which are already starting to show off their spring finery, so our fingers are firmly crossed that we have planted them in time, and these plants survive the trauma of being transplanted and settle in well.

Beside our new hedge are these wonderful new gates – don’t they look smart? We hired a local fencing company for a few days this week to secure the remains of our boundaries, and they have done a wonderful job. As well as the front rail fence and gates, they put in a side rail fence that runs along the border with the field from the front boundary (and a smaller side-gate) to the back of the house.

This fence stops where our native hedge begins, which then runs down to the end of the shed. Beyond here is some existing hedging, where our plum trees reside, and then a feast of brambles which run down beside the greenhouse to the holly tree and the last bit of boundary beyond, where we have replanted native hedging and a couple of filbert/cobnuts alongside a patchy bit of hawthorn hedge.

The observant among you may already have spotted cows once again in the picture; indeed they have returned to the field beside us today for their summer foraging; however, this time we are armed! The fencing company have provided us with some sturdy protection from these fiends – a set of wooden posts have been staked around the newly planted areas, with multiple runs of barbed wire to prevent inquisitive and hungry heads from reaching over and nibbling on all the new hedge plants. This should protect our new hedges for the first formative year or two.

We still have to trim the tops of the posts as they extend a couple of feet above the barbed wire, but the structure at least is in place – and not a day too soon, as already the cows are jostling along the boundaries looking for something tasty to chew.

Finally, we have a smart new fence running down between us and our neighbour as far as our horse chestnut and beech tree, where we pulled out another bloated lonicera nitida hedge. It looks rather stark, although beautifully crafted, without any planting before it; however in years to come it will fade into oblivion behind rambling roses and clematises, and hopefully a couple more apple espaliers soaking up the sun. This fence is along the northern side of the garden, facing the sunny south.

Beyond this, the boundary kicks in a little and we have a small bit of low mesh fence along beside the raspberry patch, then our wood stores and compost bins run down to the hawthorn at the bottom of the garden. Our boundaries are complete! It is wonderful to see so much progress. Now just the small matter of what lies within!


16 thoughts on “Completing The Boundaries

  1. You have made a big impression on the place already! As you say, the new wood does look a bit stark at present, but I’m sure it will mellow with age. That big expanse of south-facing fence will be very productive in years to come. I don’t suppose your farmer neighbour warned you in advance that he was going to turn the cows loose in the field next door, did he? It would have been a nice gesture.

    • Thanks Mark. We’ve only put solid fence on that adjoining side, so that it doesn’t impact the views out across the countryside at all, and kept it pretty low once past the house and “terrace” area. We did pop down the road to ask the farmer when the cows were going back at the start of the week, so we knew that we only had a few days to make our garden cattleproof this year! He’s very good to us; letting us drive trucks into the field during the building work and even the recent fencing etc. And last year he did put an electric fence around all the gardens for a bit to keep the cows off, although the damage had already been done!

  2. That’s fantastic Sara! The gate and fence look really smart, and I’m delighted to hear you have barbed wire to protect the lovely new hedging from The Cows. It must feel like a huge milestone to have got this far – and the start of an exciting new phase. I’m sure the beech hedge will be fine, it may sulk a little but if kept watered it will grow – and will look beautiful. Love the idea of all that espaliered fruit sunning itself on your solid fence – yummy!

    • Thanks Janet, we’re really pleased with the results – and it’s such a relief that the cows can’t reach the hedging plants (or our veg patch!) this year. Yes, lots of water for the beech hedge especially these first couple of months. Now we need to figure out our paths and drives, and I should be able to dig over a border to start planting, once we’ve determined its shape. Exciting times…

  3. Sara it all looks wonderful and I know what you mean about keeping foraging amimals out! here it’s sheep and they can jump quite high fences, lucky they are not often in the field near me though there has been a ram and ewe there all winter, I thought of mentioning barbed wire but know some people are against it, here almost all wire fences have a run of barbed wire along the top which stops the sheep from even attempting to jump, sheep was one of my main reasons for moving from Scalpay where I first lived when I moved up here, they are not fenced in there, I chose this community because it is one of the places on the island where the sheep are behind fences,
    your lovely run of south facing wall will be nice for you to plant up but I can’t help wondering how your neighbours feel about suddenly being put in the shade with a north facing wall,
    I love your wood gates I have a metal one that was already here it’s in good order so silly to change it,

    • Thank you Frances, your sheep sound much more athletic than ours, I’ve never seen the sheep here even attempt to leap a fence or hedge! Barbed wire is effective, and when secured properly shouldn’t pose any threat to animal or man. Must be rather disheartening to find sheep grazing in your garden;
      I’m glad that you have a more secure location now.
      There was actually a six foot high tangled lonicera nitida hedge along the boundary with our neighbour until a few weeks ago, so the new fence is actually lower than this at only 4 foot high for most of its run (and the same six foot high by the house where they have a patio – and we shall too) so we have actually opened the boundary up, while respecting each other’s privacy near the houses. When we moved here, our garden had half a dozen leylandii/cyprus trees along that boundary that were as tall as the house. Our neighbour’s garden was permanently shrouded in shadow. One of the first things that we did was to pull down those monstrosities, and they were very grateful to have natural light back in the garden, so don’t worry, we have given them a sunny aspect and won’t shroud it again. Our current neighbours are not gardeners, though, alas.
      I love wrought iron gates too, we did ponder between the two but we are really pleased with our wood ones.
      Sara x

      • hello Sara,
        I had a feeling you wouldn’t block your neighbours light you come across on your blog as a considerate couple, what you inherited sounds horrendous, when I hear some gardeners say ‘it was only bare earth when we came here’ I think ‘lucky you’ I’ve often heard you mention the lonicera hedge but had no idea it was so tall, sorry if you have said I must have missed it, every one tells me leylandii grow big but the ones I planted where they have the room and I wanted them to grow big, after about 8 years the tallest is only about 5 foot, my Alders and some of the Downey Birch are larger and they are only a year older,
        my gate is not a lovely wrought iron one but round bars, not ugly just funtional, still it has no rust and I am glad it’s in good order,
        your neighbours must be glad you moved in, perhaps with you growing things and now they have light they might start to take an interest in gardening in the coming years,
        best thoughts Frances

  4. Hi Sara,

    congratulations on securing your boundaries! I’ve just planted a 160 foot beech hedge in my own garden. We don’t have an external tap yet so are having to fill watering cans at the kitchen sink. You can imagine it takes a while. Trying to convince myself they will survive … but it has been so dry here in Sussex and the chickens kick off all the mulch. Grrrrrr….


    • Thanks Dave, wow 160 feet! I don’t envy you all that digging – or watering by hand! Will look amazing once it fills out though. I think beech can be very temperamental, fingers crossed they all survive and you manage to fight the chickens off the mulch! Sara

  5. Hi Sara,

    Playing blog catch-up again and you have been busy! We still haven’t sorted out all our hedges/fences and I am super envious of the one between you and your neighbour, we had to persuade ours to put one up, they’d got used to a simple very low chicken wire on rotton posts which essentially viewed over our garden! They weren’t happy about loosing their ‘view’ but soon after we moved in realised it was the right thing to do, I think they’d just got used to having no neighbours on this side (the property was empty for some time) and had forgotten we would actually be using the garden.

    Hey-ho, yours all looks great!


    • Hi Beth, Indeed very busy! After two years here with varying boundaries it’s wonderful to have fences and hedges-to-be all around us. We’ve been relying on our neighbours balanced plastic mesh fence to keep their dogs out ( mostly successfully!) and had to find curtains quite sharpish when the hedge first came down to retain a bit of privacy in our kitchen and sitting room. Our neighbour has a conservatory at the back that is open directly to their kitchen/lounge, so the high bit of fence now gives them back privacy too. Good news all round, I think. And I’m so relieved that the cows shouldn’t be able to damage the hedge or our vegetables too much this year!

      I’m glad that your neighbours came around to their loss of “view” – it’s one thing to gaze across an empty garden, but rather different I suspect with you moved in and the boys playing out there.

      Sara x

  6. there’s such a feeling of satisfaction that comes with defining a space .. you’ve defined yours beautifully .. and such lovely countryside .. well done ..

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