Spring clean-up

It is almost the end of March and the spring colour is evident in the garden but the clean-up from last year still has a bit to go! Yesterday’s target was the area where one of the large Poplars was removed during the winter. I am carefully watching the suckers of this tree near the house for signs of life! I noticed the other day that the suckers are emerging from a root over an inch thick so removing the tree before it undermined the house foundations was the right thing to do!

This area of the garden is woodland really – native trees predominate and the undergrowth is a mixture of spring bulbs and self-seeding plants from the more cultivated parts of the garden. It usually gets an annual clean-up and is then left to do it’s own thing but last year because of my back surgery it didn’t get this annual attention so this year it was really necessary. Apart from the usual clean-up there were lots of little branches from the defunct Poplar entangled in the mess! It was less difficult than I imagined – the wire rake made short work of the clean-up although I did have to get up close and personal with the Crocosmia dead foliage and the Rosa Rugosa needed to be cut down too. I cut them to the ground every year and they seem to like that treatment!

Of course the result of this vigorous activity generated quite a bit of debris and I needed a solution for its disposal. I recently watched a YouTube channel “The wild gardener” which described the building of a Dead Hedge – a good environmental idea – so I thought of an area in the lower garden that would fit the bill. I had tried to establish a willow fence last year but it hadn’t taken so I used that as the back edge for the hedge. I used some good straight hazel rods to hold the front in place and there it was – all ready to go! The process for the Dead Hedge is simply to pile up dead branches and trimmings into a kind of giant Bug Hotel, pressing down each layer that is added. Over time it will rot down but can be added to each year to the desired height!

For me this was a perfect solution to two issues – since the farmer next door removed the hedgerow and replaced it with a stock-proof fence I have felt that side of the garden is very exposed but this will reduce that sense of exposure when I fill it to the height of the wire fence – and of course it also provides a good wild-life haven. I plan to scatter some wild-flower seeds in the ground in front of it to finish off that area!

2 thoughts on “Spring clean-up

  1. Thanks Paddy. Its an experiment – I had already started doing one with the willow trimmings before I got the new shredder but I have a load of hazel prunings that need a home so I decided to try it with these and other prunings too. The leaf debris is too full of branches for leafmould so I thought I’dd add them to the base of the dead hedge. I expect it will be more branches from now on!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paddy Tobin

    Plenty of work done and I imagine that poplar will remain a worry for another season until you feel sure it is well gone. I have seen one of these dead hedges at Lismore Castle Gardens using just cut branches for infill. It seemed to be reasonably successful.

    Liked by 1 person

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