The back of the garden has receded several times. When we first moved in, we were presented with a wall of rhododendrons, from which a couple of sheds emerged, when these overgrown shrubs were taken down, we were blocked by rubbish piles, discarded fencing and dumped soil. When these were finally tidied up and put in their proper place in the compost heap (or the tip), we could finally reach the actual boundary line of the garden right at the back where the original low wire fencing still runs separating the back of the garden from that of our two rear neighbours.
The grim past
Years of fallen pine needles and beech leaves have created a thick, rich leaf mould that was gratefully accepted by the burgeoning compost heap. Many self-seeded hollies, still in the seedling stage, were taken out and the ivy, which was making a bid for domination, was also removed from the ground and trees. Finally, larger fallen branches were moved to a separate “to burn” pile. This effectively cleared the very back of the garden and set it back to a “blank canvas”. This is a part of the garden even beyond the compost heap and with all the rubbish removed, is actually a significant amount of space. It is an incredibly tough environment where even small clumps of bamboo struggle to thrive. Set at the base of the beech and pine trees, in deep shade where only the heaviest showers can penetrate the thick canopy, it will be a challenge to see what can grow that will form a sort of mixed hedge along the back to keep out any deer who feel the garden makes for an irresistible “all you can eat” buffet. In the mean time, we will put up some mesh fencing to keep them out, all possible now that we can reach the back of the garden and walk along the boundary line.
A brighter future
As an aside, I took the time to set out an area next to the compost heap where I could put various bits and pieces such as rocks, stumps, buckets, bags of soil etc. as I used to have this paraphernalia dotted about the garden too. Now it’s all in one place. With the back clear I also now have the final “resting place” for the trunk of the long birch tree that we had to cut down two years ago too. Clearing the back of the garden has had the effect of clearing the rest of the garden too, setting it back to a blank canvas from which new borders can emerge.
A much fuller compost heap
While I’m aware that for the first time, we haven’t made any new borders this year, clearing out the back has seen the large “no-go” zone that as once rubbish and scrub restored back to an accessible and important piece of the garden, without which we would suffer with lack of storage and struggle to get the garden rubbish removed or otherwise dealt with. It’s also incredibly satisfying to be able to reach and stand in places in the garden which have not seen footfall for probably decades.