Garden Blog - Blog Post

Skirting and Fluting


That last rose has now been pruned, another one has been hooked back on to the tree it is supposed to be clambering up, another border got edged and weeded, along with the short strip of hedge that we planted last year. Some of the remaining bamboo clumps were thinned out. In all, I am steadily ticking off the maintenance tasks on the list as Spring advances. I’ve also had a go at a few additions, such as sorting out the back steps of the patio (making them a teeny bit safer a look a lot nicer). Three other jobs I also managed are:

  1. Fluting the Landing Pad with cut branches
  2. Clearing the ivy and other debris from the bottom of the hedge
  3. Cleaning the very last section of the top patio that – for some reason – I’ve always previously neglected

Fluting the Landing Pad killed two birds with one stone. I had a lot of large branches from when I took out the lower branches of the goat willow last year, lifting the canopy off the cherry tree and letting more light to the area behind it. I needed to get rid of these branches. They would take too long to rot down, would not go in the compost bin and would be nuisance to burn. Instead, I chopped them up into sections and laid them – overlapping – around the rim of the Landing Pad.


This should also stop the birds and whatever other animal from flipping the bark chippings into the border in search of food, which is mischief they were up to since that border was made. There’s just the smallest chance for a stubbed toe, but in all, I think it looks like a very pretty way to get rid of some unwanted garden prunings.

Next, I gave the hedge some more attention. I had already managed to cut it and I made it narrower than it has been (I think it imperceptibly grows out over the years until it needs a sudden hack-back). I’m going to narrow the hedge just a little further next year but the majority of it came off in this winter’s cut. It exposed a strip of ground that was previously under the hedge and is now in the open. I spent some time scrabbling around the base, taking out debris and dead branches, leaves, stones and a lot of ivy that had repeatedly layered. I left the area right under the hedge as-is. The clean-up was only for the newly area exposed. After clearing the worst and using the lawn mover to vac up the rest, I’m left with a strip of bare ground that I’ll need to re-seed with grass when the weather improves.


The plan is to eventually have this strip crammed with bottom-of-the-hedge plants such as ferns, pulmonarias, perhaps some bulbs and so on (you can tell I need to do more research on the topic). I’m also planning to plant several honeysuckles in the hedge but I need to figure out if cuttings are better than growing from seed. Until all that is ready, grass will hopefully be a reasonable intermediate cover though I’ll probably end up with all weeds.

Finally, I got round to cleaning a small “L”-shaped area of the patio that – for some reason – I never cleaned when I did the rest of the patio, years ago. Every year I’ve studiously cleaned and sealed the patio, apart from this small section, it’s only 24 small concrete squares. This year was the year it finally got some attention. I had to begin with a round of pressure washing, then two rounds of acid-cleaning, then two rounds of bleach. As this was a small section, it didn’t take long to do. The only thing I probably won’t get round to doing is sealing it, that can wait for another year.


At the moment, I’m doing the border edges for Fruit Avenue, I’ve also got some Iris Sibirica to remove as well as some layered gooseberries to separate and grow on. The Blackberry needs it’s annual pruning of dead stems and tie-ing in of new ones, same for the Japanese Wineberry. The currant bushes also need a prune, to maximise fruit for the birds, of course.

Then there’s the front border to give some attention. By now we probably also have the worst verge on our estate.

Oddly, I don’t feel such a massive weight of tasks on me right now, perhaps it’s because I know that warmer weather is on the way and with the rate that I’m clearing the current list of jobs, the ones left to go don’t seem so intimidating anymore.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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susan maclean 08/04/2020 - 8:22 am

Mighty impressed by the “fluting”! We have a woodburner, so any branches we had get chopped, dried for a full year and then give us a nice warm glow when the weather is wet and depressing. But you found an excellent use for them. You will get all sorts of creepy crawlies finding homes in there…. and maybe, just maybe, because of that you might get a hedgehog or two.

We have loosestrife in this garden too (your previous post). But it’s not much of a thug here…. anyway, you can always weed out the one’s you don’t want! And on that subject, a small border here, which was the only one existing when we moved in, is invaded by lily of the valley which I didn’t plant. In fact, I never saw it for about 10 years….. and then it obviously re-awoke, and started to go for it. It now covers an area about 8 feet x 3 feet, and this year it’s a major garden project, and my gardening assistand AKA the bloke who does the heavy stuff for me, is going the remove the entire border, hopefully find every little bulblet (I know, I know!) and I will pot them up and leave them outside as freebies – with a warning attached “these are thugs”! Then we can shush up the soil with some lovely stuff, mix and replace, and start replanting. The St John’s Wort which is a ground cover one and also not planted by me is going too. It’s lovely when it flowers, but for the rest of the year is a nothing. That one is covering an area 6 feet x 3 feet. I’m going to have place some big orders with various nurseries to fill all that space…. what a lovely excuse!!

Sunil 08/04/2020 - 1:16 pm

Hello Mrs Mac, homes for insects was also the name of the game. I like to think it’s the insect version of the Royal Crescent in Bath. I’ve wondered about getting Lily of the Valley in the past but was put off by how much it spreads. Depending on what you’re planning to put in to the border, you could just plant over the top of the Lily of the Valley and shade it out (with shrubs and large herbaceous perennials). I agree with you that St Johns Wort looks nice in flower but very scrappy for the rest of the time. You could try something that comes into leaf at the same time the St Johns Wort is dying back?

susan maclean 10/04/2020 - 9:04 am

Hahaha! The Royal Beetle Crescent! That’s lovely. I have piles of little logs around the garden, they can be at home here as much as they like.

The border with the L of the V is the one outside our dining room window. And that room is where we do most stuff. My office is there, the table is there, the phone is there (landline), it’s next to the kitchen for tea/coffee supplies, and so, consequently it’s the nearest to the house but not at al the prettiest. In it at one end is an upright cotaneaster, next is an eonymus for it’s lovely autumn pink. then a gap of about 6 feet ending with a holly tree about high covered in ivy, which is great for birds as the holly makes them feel safe. I think I am going for another shrub in that 6ft gap, and have a small one (will get big but bought it small somewhere) which has permanently red leaves summer and winter. But that St John’s Wort will have to go, and so will a considerable amount of the Lof theV!

Sunil Patel 10/04/2020 - 9:38 am

I don’t know if you have picked a plant for this place already, but something strongly scented that can waft into the house through an open dining room window on a summer breeze could be really nice.

gardeninacity 09/04/2020 - 10:18 pm

Brilliant job on the Landing Pad! A very creative and attractive solution.

Sunil Patel 10/04/2020 - 9:32 am

Thanks, Jason, the logs fitted together nicely, I think I used transferrable skills form when I was doing the walling on the Corner Border.


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