One of the ‘features’ of our garden is a Leylandii ‘hedge’ along one of the borders. For anyone who isn’t familiar with these monsters – firstly, congratulations. Secondly, they’re a coniferous hedging plant, common in suburban gardens, presumably because they’re difficult to kill and form a tight, meshy growth that isn’t easily seen through.
Unfortunately, they are also very vigorous, and need regular attention if they’re not going to get away from you. If they *do* overgrow, you end up with a huge, bushy, straggly and potentially very tall hedge which is only thick and green on the outside. If you cut it back far, you will be faced with scrubby, brown, dry growth which will take forever (read: years) to green up and look nice again – if it ever does.
Our hedge was a little rambunctious when we moved in, but I managed to trim the sides back up to a height of around six to seven feet. The plan was to take the tops off above that height and maintain them there.
As you can see, it hasn’t happened (dog included for scale):
The ‘controlled’ part is still about six feet tall; there is at least another six feet above that, now, which takes us well beyond the ‘tall hedge’ height (above which neighbours have the right, under law, to ask you to sort the damn thing out).
As you can probably imagine, we also lose a lot of depth (easily a metre, at a guess, probably more) to the thing.
There is, in fact, a path (juuust visible in the picture above) that runs alongside the hedge and which can hardly be walked thanks to the overgrowth.
Much as it pains me to cut down a tree, these are clearly beyond our control. In addition, they don’t add much, if anything, to the ecology of our garden. So today, we have some nice men coming in to cut them down and erect a fence in its place. The reclaimed space will become a border, either for flowers or to house my collection of Fruit Trees In Tubs (more on those later) – or possibly for a cold frame or two, because the location and orientation is ideal.
We’re also going to have this ‘passageway’ down the side of the house cleared and the fence will continue down there:
That’s the wall of our house on the right. The Leylandii start just outside the left hand side of this shot; that fence panel behind the elder bush is (mysteriously) the only one standing on the border. The old shed door, on its side, stops the dogs getting down the passageway, which has a dead-end and has become a bit of a dumping ground for Things That Need To Go To The Tip. I will be *so* glad to see it opened up!
In fact, I think the only person who will be sorry about any of this is Woody, who spends a lot of his garden-time investigating the myriad smells to be found under the hedge. Quite often, all that can be seen of him is his tail, bottom and hind legs, sticking out from the undergrowth as he sniffs and snuffles eagerly. Still, I’m sure he’ll cope: there’s still the back of the shed to enjoy.