The Butchery Garden – 4

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Thursday 26th January and the undergrowth first stage completed.

The Butchery Garden

Thursday 26th January


Suze and l finally finished the first stage of the Butchery garden’s undergrowth, which we cleared out last Thursday. We took away 15 bags of green waste from the time we first began to the time we concluded.

If we thought the first stage was filled with heavy foliage and growth, the second stage is denser. The garden hasn’t enjoyed an excellent mid to top-wall height trim for quite some time, and this pruning will be relatively detailed and complex due to the simple fact that the previous gardener seemingly didn’t perform any significant cutbacks on the overhanging foliages here.

The American lilacs, japonica, jasmines and honeysuckles, wild wall roses, wisteria, black bamboo, and variegated ivy all need brutal trim backs.

The Butchery garden has a strange wall configuration that cannot be seen in the photographs displayed, which is that where you think the walls join and end is only sometimes the case.

On the second ornamental bed, for instance, it isn’t a straight wall there, but there is an additional cut-out section which means the wall drops back by a good eighteen inches, and in those pockets, we discovered roses desperate for light and sun.

They were in the shadows of the bushy American lilacs that initially were only meant to be larger shaped shrubs but had become runaway tree shrubs, overlying variegated ivies and the wild black bamboo.

Looking closely at Photograph Two, you can see the light green privacy screen behind the foliage. This area here, comprising the lilacs and the variegated, requires a massive cut. We will have to cut back to the wall itself, and when you see that finished image, the cutback wall will make more sense.

Photograph One, believe it or not, has a wisteria hidden in the massive ivy there and just behind the japonica fig palm is an old rose that needs to see more light.

Photograph Five more substantially displays the upper area of the third ornamental flower bed, especially the trellis residents of well-established roses and lesser-established honeysuckles. Below the window of the next-door house, the wild roses there all need to be cut back to a few inches above the trellis [in previous seasons the rose has invaded the property and died inside the house!], and on the corner of that house, you can also see the damage the vines are doing to the drainpipe there, so that all needs to come down.

The spring cut of 2023 will be expansive, and whilst the blossoms will be minimal for this year, by 2024, they will be back in fuller strength but with more managed training and disciplining behind them.

Other roses our clients have planted in this area since they moved in will begin to grow rather than being hidden and overshadowed. But this will look quite bare for this year.

Photograph Four is a relatively bare bed, but only because it doesn’t enjoy a great deal of the garden’s sun and so will need to be planted with some shade lovers and herbs too. However, it does have a wisteria climbing up through the guttering, so that will have to be trimmed to prevent severe damage. Wisterias are lovely, but if left unchecked can cause havoc.

You may notice in all five photos the presence of a vast irrigation system. There is too much of this, and considering the height of the garden’s water table, we will be stripping out fifty per cent of the piping. The roses are suffering from blight, either black or leaf spots, caused by excessive watering and, of course, the rainfall we have experienced over the last couple of years.

So to begin treating this, we need to reduce the temptation to blanket water everything for long periods. Despite what many think, roses enjoy dry weather and can survive without regular watering. The grounds, beds and lawns alike are saturated, and the garden only enjoys, at best, sixty-five per cent of the sun during the summer months and way less during the other seasons of the year, so drying out can take a long time.

It doesn’t look like l should imagine to the casual observer that Sue and l have done a lot to this garden – BUT – by the time we have finished with the second stage, things will start to look very different.

I will write about the plants in more detail in future publishings, but in the meantime, thanks for reading and l’ll catch you next time.

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Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

11 thoughts on “The Butchery Garden – 4

    1. Hey Eugenia, thanks 🙂

      I certainly hope so, it’s our showcase of our business in many respects, so it needs to look good.

      I have literally just come back from that garden advising the clients of stage 2 – which will be a harsh trim back ready for the spring.


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