Top herbaceous development

This page and its linked pages are in development. More pictures of this area over the years to follow.

Spiral topiary
Spiral beech topiary with leylandii in the background

Leylandi behind the spiral beech

1. Leylandi behind the spiral

Behind the beech spiral was a leylandi, which although clipped to shape each year, was preventing the spiral develop its full radius at the rear. It also made the bed beneath it very shady and prevented much growing here.

It was decided that it had to go! We still have two clipped leylandii on the opposite side of the garden to retain this form of topiary, but the tree was cut down in August 2015. Smaller than the golden variety cut down in 2013, it was not a difficult job.

All the smaller branches were shredded to use as mulch around the garden. The larger branches were cut for kindling, and put in sacks to dry out over the coming months.

A sticky business, with a lot of resin oozing out of any cuts made!

Cutting trees down is like managing any other unruly plants. And it provides some fuel for the woodburner.

Clearing tree stump
Stump awaiting digging out with its roots

Stump left behind

2. Stump removal

The stump was left cut to about four feet in height, to provide some leverage when digging out the roots. A circle was then dug around the stump, about six feet in diameter, and ivy, bindweed and other roots were cleared. This ended up going about two feet down to expose all the roots. The opportunity was also taken to remove a ridiculously large amount of concrete which my neighbour's had poured to try and stabilise their fence posts some years ago. The original bucket sized concrete around a metal fence spike, but then some later extensions, all of which seemed to be on my side of the fence! And the local council now charges for rubble disposal at around £2.50 a bag.

Clearing tree stump
Neighbour's concrete fence footings, and a deep hole to remove the tree roots

Concrete foundations and stump

3. Digging down

As I will be planting up this bed with perennials, I wanted to get as much of the tree roots out as possible. This involved sawing, lopping, levering, excavating and rocking on the stump until all eventually gave way.

The hole was then refilled, but incorporating a few trug fulls of garden compost to break up the heavy clay and give it a bit of life. The intention is then to work upwards along the rest of this overgrown border, and leave it rough dug over winter for some frosts to help break the clay down a little more.