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January - a useful time to start your planning!


Almost 1 year ago I decided it was time to start organising the garden. I’ve always been quite keen in the garden but never before have I decided to commit so much time, effort and not to mention cash in to it! Building on the work and the planting I carried out last year – it is time to think about this year.
January has pretty much been taken up with erecting new fencing and trying to paint it – weather hasn’t been conducive to getting this completed but I’m almost there!!
Meanwhile – behind the scenes – I have been busy trying to decide what plants to use for a hedge. This part of the boundary is around 25m in length – after much consideration – I decided that I would opt for an evergreen effect. Rather than use the same plant for the entire length I decided I would use different shrubs which would each provide a different visual effect. Here is a collage of some of the plants I have chosen. Unfortunately the budget would not stretch to buying very mature specimens of these shrubs – but I have convinced myself I’ll get more joy out of watching them mature, learn how they grow and their habits. The section in the middle is going to be a bit of a hit or miss – it gets flooded a couple of times a year – not for very long, it is usually gone by the next day. I also have a couple of decidious purple leaved shrubs Cotinus and Physocarpus that I would like to move to this side of the garden, so will try incorporate those into the hedge somehow.

Escallonia Laevis ‘Gold Ellen’
Choisya Ternata
Euonymus japonicus Ovatus Aureus
Euonymus Aureapictus
Ilex maeserveae ‘Blue Prince’
Photinia Red Robin
Choisya ternata Sundance ‘Lich’
Aucuba japonica ‘Rozannie’
Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’
Griselinia littoralis

Part of this boundary is already planted out with Rhododendrons – which were once shaded from the morning sun by an old shed – this shed is no longer there -so I need to work out figure out how to provide shade. They have been in the ground now for around 4 years so moving them is not an option – what’s a girl too do?!!!
I’m going to try provide some shade by planting a Prunus laurocerasus ‘Rotundifolia’ slightly offset from the edge of the border. Don’t know if this will work – but I need to try something, I’ll let you all know how that goes.

Prunus laurocerasus

My winter workshop……
On a cold and frosty morning – still plenty to do!
Luckily I managed to get the posts in and the concrete set a few days before the temperatures dropped. 14 × 2ft holes dug out in 1 afternoon, I was exhausted!!!

The posts and rails all set in both fences

A couple of days later and goodness knows just how many screws later – bingo!!

This will be the boundary where the evergreen hedge will go. As a hedge is planned I decided there was no need for a 6ft fence – there was only a small fence before so felt that replacing it with a similar sized fence was fine.

The high back fence is a necessity however – there is a very large dog which lives on the other side. As you can see from the picture it is being supported by rope attatched to the washing poles on the other side. The other sections, out of the shot being kept up by a garden shed and a very large Birch Tree stump.
I was lucky enough to be able to salvage around 75% of the slats.
Some of you may remember this fence from a previous blog. This is the fence I have spent the last 8 months training and tying in my Rambling Rose –
‘Félicité Perpétue’.

Before the winds…..

Secateurs at the ready….

The whole fence moved forward around 12 inches and sheared the rose completely. This upset me more than the fencing and all the work I had too do :( However, it will regrow and I will now have to wait until 2013 for it’s flowers.

One of my neighbours is no good at DIY and the other was really really really ill with ‘’Man Flu’’ neither was able to help me out, all was not lost though, as I did manage to find a helper for the day…wait a minute did I say helper – I think I meant hinder……

Kooki is of course not as brave and strong as he likes to think he is. Kia, the very large and unfriendly to pussy cats Japanese Akita has not been allowed outside to play whilst the fences aren’t secure. Believe you me he would not be anywhere near this fence is she was!

For Bamboo – this is the hedge on the other side of the garden – which is not what I want. I take it this is what is called a ‘formal’ hedge?

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Love the cat photos!! Its all going to be marvellous Scottish and I love your hedge ideas. What about those Rhodys though? I think you could move them if you wanted to. I know they've been there a while but Rhody root systems are very compact and round. If you are careful you'll be able to get them out and moved without them even noticing!

5 Feb, 2012


Great blog hen! Love the cat too :))))))))

5 Feb, 2012


that is amazing scottish, i am sooooo impressed.

such a shame about your lovely rose, i hope it flowers soon.

love that collage of hedge plants.

5 Feb, 2012


Good advice Karensusan,. i love blogs like this scottish, i would of been happy reading about your makeover all night, a very interesting blog, loads of hard work but Ooh how it will be worth it, by spring when all the good stuff starts your garden will be ready and willing lol
when we pulled up our front garden in january 3 years ago, it was ready by march/april and i had the time of my life planning and planting it up, nothing better :)
Love your cat pics, cute kitties..

5 Feb, 2012


Lots of work put in there Scottish. Karen is right about the Rhodys being easy to transplant, 4 years isn't much for them.

5 Feb, 2012


Lovely job. Its great getting your teeth into something like this, so satisfying.

5 Feb, 2012


Karen and Pimpernel....I have no doubt that I probably will move them, just trying to save myself the bother I suppose :))
I need to find somewhere to plant them - that's more the problem!!
The largest was in the garden when I moved here and it is quite old, I think. I moved it out of full sun when I moved here. They have been without the protection of the shed for 18 months and to be honest are not showing any sign of not liking where they are!
Sticki, no need to be impressed, I'm as happy doing this kind of work as you are baking cakes!! I may not be able to turn my hand to baking or cooking but give me a job like this then I'm your woman!!!! :))
Pixi....cheers, how are you?
Thanks Young Daisy....glad you enjoyed reading :) My next handy work blog will be the new front drive - I'm hoping to get this done end of March - although I won't be doing the driveway work I will have to put up a new fence and rearrange the garden, one for your diary :)

6 Feb, 2012


Willinilli - I love this kind of work :)

6 Feb, 2012


I think your evergreen hedge will look interesting. It can be a bit boring to see lots of the same thing. I'm trying to do the same kind of thing, but not very successfully lol.
Yes January is a good planning time.
By the way there's no such thing as 'man flue'. Please don't say it. It's degrading.

6 Feb, 2012


lovely Scottish - great choice of plants ! Have most of what you have there too :))))) Not surprised you are tired after all that digging. Picture with the ferns included is fab !!! Going to look great !! Yes afraid us men do suffer sometimes too with flu ;)))

6 Feb, 2012


Great endeavour,Scottish! really admire you! this is such satisfying work.

6 Feb, 2012


Im sure you could bake cakes if you wanted scottish, strikes me you can turn your hand to anything you want!! i wish i could put fences up!!!

6 Feb, 2012


AM fine thanks..nice to see the sunshining brightly this morning, but cant see the houses down the back from me for fog! :)

6 Feb, 2012


Wow... brilliant .. you are well organised !

Kooki has cute white paws ! :o)

6 Feb, 2012


Interesting blog, nice pics, love your little helper... I do miss having cats.
Sorry about this, but just one thing though - I can't help doing quick mental calculations re length of border/size of shrub - by my rough estimate, if the border is completely empty, 9 of the shrubs you list will be more than sufficient to fill it up. If its not completely empty, then fewer...

6 Feb, 2012


Oh no! I remember you pruning and training your rose a while back, and thinking what a fantastic job you'd made of it! It must have broken your heart to see it demolished like that... I always take the attitude that it's just had a really severe pruning! You're getting on really well there, Scottish, and your little builder's mate is sooo pretty... no builder's bum to worry about either!

6 Feb, 2012


Great encouraging comments for you guys x

Hywel... Where I work - we have a staff of 55 - 3 females and 52 males.....there is never a week goes by without at least 2 of them suffering Man Flu.....:))))
Sticki..I've tried the baking milarky - it's just not me - my brother is geat at it, so I don't really need to!
Pixi...glad you are well - weather here is great - fog not reached us here over the bridge :)
TT..thank you - the only think cute about Kooki is that he is as cute as a cage of monkeys :))
Bamboo....the border is or will be completely empty when I plant up. I've got my calculations wrong then....the book I was reading (The flowering Shrub Expert) says...add the mature height of A and B then divide by 3 to get the recommended planting distance. Some of these plant heights on the labels were given as 1.5m, hence why I calculated I needed so many. What would be your recommended distances then? I know that the laurel, grisellinia and the photinia will be larger. Any advice greatly appreciated :) Also at the end nearest the house I want to make it sort of triangular/curved shaped.
Libet, thank you for your kind words. I'm kinda over the rose situation now and yeah, no builders bum to bother about :)

6 Feb, 2012


One more question - did you want all the shrubs to grow intogether, and to be cut periodically as if they're a solid hedge? Or do you want a more natural, shaggy, uncut hedge, where outer branches mingle, but each shrub has enough room to develop properly sideways?

6 Feb, 2012


Loved the blog and the pussy cat:)

6 Feb, 2012


A lot of work but very exciting, I love it when there is lots of altering and re-organising going on. Like Bamboo I did wonder about the number of shrubs, but as she says it depends on whether its solid hedge or a more relaxed look your aiming for, whatever the choice looking forward to seeing how it all turns out.

6 Feb, 2012


lot of work , but will be well worth it ............... two years ago we did our bank .............. its spreding now thank god lol ............ semed a long wait wen we started it tho . you can see u diff if you look tho my pics .............. joining this site helped me get it going !! its amazeing the people on here arnt they ............ xx

7 Feb, 2012


Bamboo...the effect I 'would like' to achieve is as you descirbed more natural and shaggy. I've been out and measured it properly today - the total lenght of the boundary fence is just under 20m and where I want to introduce a curve at the end nearer the house can be around 3 or 4 metres, so it will be L shaped. I hope you don't mind - I've put 2 links below which reflect the image I have in my head :))

Paul and Meadowland, I missed you out on my last reply - thank you for your nice comments. Please you like the ferns ;)

Stroller - thank you for your encouragement and of course like Bamboo - picking up where I am going to go wrong. I'd rather get this right first time :) The plants that will be left over can find themselves a home elsewhere in the garden.

Cristina, thank you too for the encouragement! I'm off too look at your pictures now

7 Feb, 2012


Had a look at the first pic - that's not really a hedge, its just closely planted shrubs of varying sizes. Which I have no doubt would have needed severe cutting back by the end of the season. So do you really want a hedge, informal or otherwise? How deep from front to back do you want the shrubs to be (I mean from the fence to the lawn) and will you be putting smaller stuff in front?

7 Feb, 2012


Sorry to be such a pest!! I'd rather get it right first time round than have to correct it a few years down the line :)
I've put up a picture above of the hedge on the other side of my garden. I take this to be a formal hedge? This is not the effect I want.
So I either want an informal hedge or closely planted shrubs. I used the word hedge to describe what I wanted but probaby I'm wrong.
Presently there is no border along some of the fence so depth will be as the plants allow and yes I do want to plant smaller stuff along the front and no doubt will have to use plants as fillers for a while. The section where there is planting - these will be moved as most of them are perennials. The little bed I created last year when the shed was moved is what I would describe as a temporary bed - plants I bought last year, which either didn't do very well where I planted them or are intended for this sunnier side of the garden. I have started removing some of the turf - I have lifted to a depth of 1m at the moment, which will obviously need widened and shaped.

7 Feb, 2012


I think you should more or less get it right from the off too - the list of shrubs you currently have will all require about 2m sideways and from front to back, so a 2m gap between each will still mean they'll grow into one another - possibly rather more than you'd like. Given the length of the border, you will only have room for the ones you've listed - but be warned, you may then end up with a solid wedge of growth along the back with no room at the front for shorter plants, which usually go in the natural 'gaps' created between the centre of one shrub and the centre of the next, or directly inbetween two larger shrubs, but further forward.
the other option is to leave out one or two you've mentioned, then plant closely, which means if one spreads 2 metres, and another one next to it spreads 1 metre, you'd plant them just far enough to accommodate that - in this instance, a gap of 1.5 metres between the two plants, from central stem to central stem. Not sure that's clear enough, but when thinking about spread of a plant, it means all round - so a 2m spread means one metre out from the central stem all round in a circle, making a total of 2m from side to side eventually. Ensure also that, if a shrub has a spread of 2m, you allow 1 metre behind it, measured again from the central stem, otherwise the thing will be squashed up against the fence and you'll end up with a distorted shape and bare branches at the back.
I hope that makes sense...
I'd also query your possible choice of the Prunus laurocerasus in order to create shade - it'll create shade alright, it's a monster, up to 4 m in height with at least a 3m spread... I can't help thinking maybe a more attractive shrub might be nice - how about your Cotinus instead? Shade in the summer when the rhodies need it, dappled sunlight in winter which will be good for them. But of course, in the end, it's down to personal preference...

7 Feb, 2012


Bamboo, thank you very very much for the advice. I have taken in and I very much think I understand what you have explained.
The Prunus was bothering me too! It wasn't til I started thinking about it and looking at a large one round the corner that I thought it will be too big! I have a large empty space behind the shed - which once the plant is large enough will create a filled in look, better privacy at the back and of course somewhere usefull for the birds. The idea for the Cotinus sounds great and I can use one of the others to replace the cotinus on the other side, win win there I think!
Thanks again!

7 Feb, 2012


I assume the area you wanted to use for the Prunus, and now possibly the Cotinus, isn't in full shade all day? Because the Cotinus won't like total shade - fine with half and half though. I also don't know how large the Cotinus is currently - they're pretty slow growing compared to Physocarpus, so that might be a better choice for your shade giving plant.

8 Feb, 2012


No will get plenty sun, which is the reason I want to create a bit of shade behind it for the Rhoddies.
It is already just about as tall as the tallest Rhoddy.
Creating the shade will all be down to choosing the correct angle which is why I want this part of the border to come out to an L shape, to recreate the shade the shed was providing.
I could use either one and will think about which to use.
Thank you again for all your input - it truly is appreciated :)
ps...I will 'attempt' a scale drawing before I plant - this will help me :))))

9 Feb, 2012


A little tip - buy yourself some graph paper and designate a square per sq. metre, draw the outline on that to scale - it's much easier than doing it on plain paper.

9 Feb, 2012


I have some so don't need to buy :))

9 Feb, 2012

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