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The Great Wall of Somerset!

41 comments


It must be visible from space!

But I’m telling you the end of the story, so I’ll start from the beginning.

Are you sitting comfortably? Here goes.

You might well have seen photos of the huge Leylandii hedge at the back of my garden – behind the top border. It acted as a windbreak and a barrier to keep farm animals in their field.

This hedge was 40’ long and 8’6" tall. One day early this year, I noticed ominous brown patches appearing at one end. They spread unbelievably fast, and research told me that the hedge was dying.

We had a discussion about what to do, and decided that we’d have to get a wall built. The prospect was alarming – we’d need co-operation from the farmer, and someone to help to remove the hedge.

However, we had to get listed building consent first, and we had a wait while the Planning Officer made the decision. We had a visit to inspect our plans, and conditions were laid down. A ‘sample panel’ had to be built and approved before the actual work could begin.

I found a local man who came and helped to cut all the trees down. He and my husband between them got them all cut off to stumps in one day – all 25 of them! The stock fence had to be put back at once – we didn’t want sheep all over the garden, nor did we want Henry exporing! They made a huge bonfire of the Leylandii branches.

We had asked Mark, who laid our path, to build the wall for us, as he is very experienced with blue lias stone. This is a local stone – our house is made of it, and we had to have the wall built of it to ‘match’, or permission wouldn’t have been granted. We booked him for the whole of August – but due to the awful weather, he was only able to hire a digger and remove the stumps that month. He made it look easy!

He removed the stumps and dug the trench for the foundations – all in one day.

We had to wait until the weather cleared for building work to begin, but in the meantime, I ordered Clematis and roses to climb on the wall, as well as a seat and a rose arch for the ‘niche’ we’d decided to have half-way along the wall.
I wanted to get the roses while they still had flowers on, so that I could decide which would look best together.
I got ‘Pink Perpetue’, Dancing Queen’, ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ and ‘Calypso’.

‘Pink Perpetue’

The lorry that delivered the seat blocked the lane completely. Luckily we have sympathetic neighbours, because the rose arch and the climbers came, too, and so did truckloads of sand and loads of stone from the quarry…not forgetting a skip – quite a lot of traffic on our quiet, narrow lane!

Well, at last Mark was able to start building, and the wall grew…

…and grew…

…until last week, when it was finally finished.

That’s not quite the end of the story. I had plenty of time to plan a colour scheme for the long border in front of the wall, and I made a list of plants. I bought or propagated several plants over the weeks, and ordered more online. They arrived yesterday, and I planted them all…plus some bulbs. There are still large spaces to fill, and I’ll track down the other plants on my list in the spring.

Are we pleased with the changed ‘look’ from a green hedge to a stone wall? Yes, we are, and neighbours who have been to see it have all admired Mark’s handiwork. He’s rightly proud of the Great Wall of Somerset – it took 32 days to build, and we hope it will grace our garden for many years to come.

Clematis ‘Lasting Love’

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Comments

 

Oh my goodness, what a lot of work had to be done there, looking at the stages of this work fasinated me and my OH, I must say Spritz the wall looks fantatsic, love the borders and the seat, gorgeous,

31 Oct, 2012

 

What a mammoth job that all was. Worth it though! It looks great. Mark has every right to feel proud of the wall, it loooks fantastic. I bet you had fun planning and planting the border as well. I look forward to seeing it again when the plants have grown more.

31 Oct, 2012

 

Wow! What a transformation B. I absolutely love it! It's a real improvement and your arch and planting looks great! Can't wait to see what it looks like next summer, but it's beautiful already! :)) Well worth all that effort!

31 Oct, 2012

 

Its a work of art in stone.

31 Oct, 2012

 

Wow what a wonderful wall. I love it. It will be lovely for you to watch it weather and see the plants grow on it over the years .

31 Oct, 2012

bjs
Bjs
 

Fantastic I have always wanted a wall.Just waiting for my lottery ticket to come up trumps.lol

31 Oct, 2012

 

It looks so good, and I am sure will mellow with age.

31 Oct, 2012

 

Wow....So worth it Spritz...The wall is beautiful....I love it...:>)

31 Oct, 2012

 

What a beautiful wall.....living on a windy hill my dream is a walled garden........and Leylandii on a bonfire ........, that pink rose is perfect, it will be a delight to watch the wall mature......what a lovely blog. :0))

31 Oct, 2012

 

that wall is absolutely beautiful, i would admire that all day! he is a skilled craftsman!

31 Oct, 2012

 

What a transformation - an eye catching improvement indeed!!
It's no wonder everyone is so pleased with it - that niche with your bench and arch really sets it off - as will your planting. Superb!!!!

31 Oct, 2012

 

Oh yes very smart, its sad when the living dies but I would love a wall like that Spritz, very country manor type thing, cannot wait to see it next spring when all is established and flowering their heads off.
Do you think there is a connection between the loss of the juniper and the hedging, so many dying off in recent years all over the country...

31 Oct, 2012

 

What a beautiful wall, much nicer than the original leyandii. Wish that I could build half as well as that; I go for the 'rustic' appearance so it doesn't matter.

31 Oct, 2012

 

What a brilliant job done by Mark - and great idea to have a niche with a seat. I know you'll enjoy all the choosing, if not all the actual planting!

31 Oct, 2012

 

Oh it's beautiful Spritz! And only 32 days to build, he really got his skates on didn't he. What a stunning addition to your house and garden, I can feel some more clematis coming on....lol...:))

31 Oct, 2012

 

what a work of art....I love it Spritz...cant wait to see all your babies growing up it...:-)

31 Oct, 2012

 

I'm so pleased you all like it! If I have to justify spending our savings on it - well, we haven't had a holiday for some years now. It is indeed a real work of art, Sandra, so it was worth it.

We both sat on the seat one day to check the level, before Mark built up the paving 'platform' and it was sheltered there - lovely! You can look down the length of the side garden - AND it's south facing!

Yes - two more Clems should be arriving today, as they were out of stock when I got the others...'Semu' and 'Mary Rose'. The last one apparently dates back to 1500, so I thought it was very appropriate as our house is that old too! :-D) The others already in are 'Etoile Violette' and 'Warsaw Nike' and I also planted an Aktinidia.

1 Nov, 2012

 

I really enjoy reading your blogs spritz. the wall is stunning and I am sure you'll enjoy the planting even more. The plant choices are to die for. So many lovely plants.

1 Nov, 2012

 

Thank you - it's great fun deciding what to plant, but a bit frustrating when I can't source them yet. It's supposed to be the best time to get perennials in, but try telling the GCs that! They seem to have packed them all away!

I wish you could get down here to see the wall for yourself. I've just received the last two Clematis - see photo. :-))

2 Nov, 2012

 

Almost a garden sculpture Spritz ....I love it! :-)

2 Nov, 2012

 

massive job Barbara and shame about the beautifull hedge, but i love the new wall, its amazing and will look fab once all plants have established, :o))

2 Nov, 2012

 

A beautiful wall Spritz and having that niche and seating in it has added so much more character to it. Look forward to next year when I`m sure you will show us how it looks with all that new planting.

2 Nov, 2012

 

You try stopping me! ;-D)

You're right about the niche. A long, straight 'run' of wall would have been a bit overpowering. I sat on the seat yesterday in a few rays of sun that appeared in between the heavy downpours, and it's sheltered there. :-)

3 Nov, 2012

 

I'm pleased to see you're looking after things for me Barbara:-)

3 Nov, 2012

 

Oh, I am indeed! ;-D)

4 Nov, 2012

 

A work of art, and so much nicer than the trees, worth every penny and more I would say...you must be delighted, I know I would be, the planting is taking shape, love the idea with the bench too, ..........we have done a similar thing in our garden, our bench is really sheltered from the wind, we even sat out there this week when it stopped raining!! Just love it Barbara.

5 Nov, 2012

 

Yes, we both like it, and we've got used to seeing it there. Another advantage for OH is that he won't have to cut the hedge any more - he got a tower thingy to stand on to reach the top, so he'll probably sell that.

I was worried that losing the green background to my top border might be a shock - but the wall looks great behind them. :-)) I hope all the climbers on it will help, too.

5 Nov, 2012

 

the wall is such a soft colour though. had it been red brick then yes it would be a shock. the climbers will do a brill job cant wait to see the photos as next year's growing season progresses.

5 Nov, 2012

 

Just has another look at your beautiful wall, I think it is one of the best walls I have ever seen, must come and see it for real next year!!

5 Nov, 2012

 

Oh, please do! :-D)

6 Nov, 2012

 

Oh how lovely to see this completed Spritz, and wow, doesn't it look great??? Well done to Mark, he has done a super job here..Can't wait to visit next year and see it in all its splendour my friend..Wonderful blog as always Spritz..\0/x

7 Nov, 2012

 

Oh Wow Spritz! You do make a statement when you do something. You will love this wall more and more as the years go on. It is beautiful. Well done Mark. I'm very pleased to hear you are feeling up to tackling such a big project after the scare you gave all of us.
People don't realise you have actually had two walls built not just one because both sides are built to look good. I love it.

7 Nov, 2012

 

Thank you both. I do hope you'll get to see 'The Wall' in all its glory next year! By then, I hope the border will be looking good, too. :-D)

8 Nov, 2012

 

That wall is a real work of art, Spritz. I suspect, in a subconscious kind of way you might have quite welcomed those first few signals of a dying hedge if this was what was to replace it. You don't hang about where replanting's concerned, either, do you? It is going to look stunning when everything grows in. I'm looking forward to all the pictures.

13 Nov, 2012

 

I honestly was upset when the hedge started to die, Gattina. It was a great 'back-cloth' for the top border. We thought long and hard about what to put there instead, but I couldn't bear the thought of an ugly fence which OH suggested.

That's why we bit the bullet and dug into our savings for 'The Wall'. Now it's up, I love it! :-D)

No - I simply can't abide empty borders, so I got on with replanting FAST!

13 Nov, 2012

 

I know how much stone walls cost - my parents were obliged to build an enormous one all round their garden, by order of the local council planning office, and moaned long and loud about how it was almost as expensive as building their entire house! They were so pleased with it so, and it was a spectacular and beautiful piece of work, much like yours! Tremendous backdrop for all those plants.

13 Nov, 2012

 

It also faces south, so my options were increased. :-))

There's a shaded corner, too. I might write about that separately.

13 Nov, 2012

 

Having newly returned to goy, after a busy laps. I have just read your 3 blogs, wonderful. The great wall, the Amazing November flowering such beautiful colours as they so often are against the grey skies, and then the Catastrophe. It just is not fair, after all the hard work, the loving care and the thrill of achievement, to be faced with such disaster, disaster that one does not deserve.
If you once again achieve and get your gardens open again next Summer, I hope folk will realise the work, dedication and strength that has gone into it all. Good Luck!

27 Nov, 2012

 

Thank you for persevering with your reading! I think (hope) the garden will recover. It's always been good at draining. There's a lot of clearing up to do, but the house has to come first.

The wall was safe - it's higher up, so the water didn't get that far. :-)

28 Nov, 2012

 

Love it Spritz, so glad you pointed this out to me, I really enjoyed reading this. Your wall looks great, so glad it has not been damaged in anyway by the floods. Looks like a wonderful area to sit and relax and take in your lovely garden. and what a fantastic excuse for rescuing some poor deprived plants from the nursery ;-)

22 Jan, 2013

 

Hiya! I'm glad you found it. I'll be rescuing more plants when (if) the spring comes. ;-)) At the moment, we're cut off by heavy snow. YUK!

23 Jan, 2013

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