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!