Borders, Boundaries and Shady Dealings

NOT the local Mafia (or, as we’re in Wales, the Taffia), but a look at the problems caused by my neighbour’s overgrown trees.

First, the vew from my study window – for the wider angle looking across the conservatory roof. The brick shed is ours, the greenhouse and field is the neighbour’s. as are the trees.


The view from my husband’s study – the trellis is ours (the Shady Rear Border), but it is not the boundary. That is a stone wall behind the trellis and along the side of our shed.



Five years ago, we helped our neighbour cut back overhanging branches, he being younger than us (but not that much) shinned up the tree. We cut back what we could – upwards and outward – by standing on the shed roof. It helped, but of course, trees grow and our shady garden is now the dark garden.


The original thinning – October 2015.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We need to catch our neighbour first as we want to trim the branches behind our shed – blocking our light but not, unfortunately, crossing our boundary. But catching him out and about in his garden often proves tricky, so on Saturday evening, Mr O abandoned his dish-washing duties to come and tell me our neighbour was cutting his grass.

I immediately went outside and hovered by the trellis waiting for him to switch the mower off. I’ve learned that I have to approach things delicately, so once we’d had a chat about lockdown, the state of our broadband, his father’s caravan, and holiday plans, I broached the subject of wanting to cut back overhanging branches, including those at the rear of the shed.

To be fair, he said he’d give us a hand (heard that one before) but wasn’t sure when (heard that one too). But a few minutes later as I was warming my mug of tea made an hour earlier, I noticed some branches moving. He’d got his extendable loppers out and cut back several branches, raising the canopy. Mainly, I suspect, to stop us dropping brash on his logpile (leaning agains our shed) and his greenhouse.

20200801 (111)
20200801 (112)
20200802 (1)

On Sunday morning, once we established it wasn’t likely to rain (it did later), Mr O climbed onto our shed roof with my extendable loppers, and set to work.

20200802 (3)

Then we had to clear all the branched he’d chopped off.

11 am

20200802 (4)

2:30 pm – and we’ve filled five bin liners with leaves and small stems to take to the Recycling Centre, a plastic crate full of larger stems to dry out for kindling, and a log basket full of cut thick branches, again to dry out. I also have approximately 15 long straight thinner stems to take to the allotment to use as bean poles next year.

20200802 (5)

It doesn’t look as though much has been removed…

20200802 (6)

…but we can see the difference, especially in the kitchen!

20200802 (7)

20200802 (8)

A job well done, even if my back is protesting from all the bending – and we missed lunch.


Weekend Workout

20190425 (9)

In June 2019, I made a start on a project that is finally almost complete. This began with the removal of a raised bed in the shadiest part of the back garden, via the building of the Tiny Greenhouse and now the final corner. Click here to see what it looked like in 2018.

We were left with this ‘spare’ piece of ground, where the round compost bin had stood for 20 years. But then our beer spare fridge finally gave up the ghost in February (almost gassing us in the process), and we were forced to buy a new washing machine after the bearings went on the old one: so with all Recycling Centres closed until a few weeks ago, this (↓) was the view from our kitchen window – until now. Continue reading “Weekend Workout”

Weekend Workout

20200712 (1)

With blue skies, no wind and warm weather on Sunday morning, it was time to tackle the small section of Raised Bed A to remove the flowering garlic stalks and create a space for my brassica seedling which have been hammering on the greenhouse walls begging to be let out.

But the cabbage whites are flying reconnaissance sorties around the patio and I daren’t risk it until some protection is in place. I ordered insect mesh at the end of May but it’s not due for delivery until end of July-August.

20200712 (3)

I emptied the patch, collecting several more garlic bulbs and taking out the red onions I planted in March. They can’t be described as ‘large’ or even ‘medium’ but as long as they taste nice, that will be fine. Remember, these should have been planted in my allotment bed with plenty of room to grow and lots of water from all the rain. Too much competition in my raised bed at home.

I’d also emptied a couple of pots of their remaining potatoes so threw the compost onto here, added in some chicken poo pellets, removed a clump of slug or snail eggs, and dug it all in.

20200712 (5) 20200712 (2)
With no mesh, I had to use what was to hand to form a protective cage 

  • 6 x 4 foot canes
  • 6 x screwball icecream plastic containers (for the top of each cane)
  • 4 x net curtains, of varying size, thickness, and colour
  • 1 x stapler (and a supply of staples)
  • A selection of plastic clothes pegs

I stapled the curtains together; spread the results over the canes; adjusted the sides, and pegged the curtains onto the canes, leaving one side and the front so I could get in to plant the brassicas. Then I buried some of the curtain edges, put more staples into any large gaps and pegged the rest into place.

20200712 (4)

Yes, it does look like a (small) crime scene tent, only in this case it is stopping the murder and mutilation of my cabbages, kale and sprouts. Hopefully. Maybe just some light maiming.

20200712 macrame (4)

Anyway, I fitted everything in, just. The space is only 2 feet x 4 feet. But I’ve got more brassicas in a large pot inside the greenhouse, which I’ll bring outside once all danger has passed. They can’t get inside unless I leave the door open.

Should I put eggshells down?

20200712 (8)

The garlic and onions are drying out in the greenhouse.

Weekend Workout

I’ve pulled up all my radishes – but not to eat.  A separate post which follows will explain why.  I have replaced them with a different variety which, hopefully, will produce the small and tender roots that I love.  To protect them, I’ve used this old supermarket basket.

20190615 (1).JPG

I’ve already harvested some chard leaves and spinach.  Online guidance says to pick chard when stems are around two inches long.  Mine only just met that criteria.  I’m currently growing it in troughs, though I could transplant some into a raised bed.  I’ve moved it onto the patio step where, should the sun ever shine for more than a couple of minutes, it will reap the benefit.

20190615 (2)

While away on holiday, anything I hadn’t time or room to plant out was placed on a gravel tray.  Thankfully they survived so I’ve potted on some Brussels Sprouts and tomatoes – mystery varieties labelled A and B as I still don’t know which is which until they fruit.

20190615 (4)

I’ve also sown Little Gem lettuce into a seed tray, sown cress seeds, and put some more spinach seeds into some three inch pots – 5 seeds per pot.  All from packets of seeds I got free with a gardening magazine.

Then I had a look at the garlic I planted last September.

Some of the stems had already fallen and the top of a bulb was visible in one case.  Hoping it was the top of a very large ‘iceberg’, I decided to dig one up.  I got two.

If smell was a guarantee of size, these should be huge, but they’re not.  These were the ones I planted directly into the front of Raised Bed A.  I’ve replanted them into a pot in the hope they might fatten up a bit more.

The garlic in Raised Bed B was started off in pots outside and planted into the bed in Spring.  I’ll give them a few more weeks before I check again.