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Third year meadow.

Discussion in 'Garden Projects and DIY' started by Retired, Jul 20, 2021.

  1. Retired

    Retired Some people are so poor all they have is money

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    Hi,

    About four years ago I finally got on top of the jobs around the bungalow this only taking 30 years to complete and it was hard graft from drains to the new chimney pot; I could now concentrate on the overgrown gardens especially the rear very steep garden resembling a mini park.

    At the very top of the rear garden were two parallel hedges the front one I'd cut down to 8' tall them down to 4' tall and finally completely removing it including stumps and roots; the area of grass I then turned over using a spade allowing it to winter; then the new Hyudai petrol rotavator wouldn't touch it at first just bouncing around and when I tried it whilst the soil was wet it just clogged up so I ended up digging once again to break up the grass sods into smaller pieces; now I struggled with the rotavator but having gone over in five sessions removing roots and lots of other debris the soil was looking good in fact it looked brilliant.

    Having now reached this stage; three years ago I broadcast wildflower seeds in the hope of creating our own meadow the seeds bought here;

    Instant Sunshine Mini Wildflower Meadow

    WOW even the first year the wild flowers in full bloom were stunning. Last year the second flower year I flattened myself removing the remaining hedge this being huge and 60' long including stumps and roots being mostly massive cherry laurels including a mature big hawthorne tree with a huge English ivy crown the trunk of this ivy was like a tree in itself as it wound up the hawthorne.

    Rear garden_004 (2).JPG
    Here's the garden as it was. The front hedge has already been lowered a great deal; the laurels are huge and amongst these were brambles; a cherry tree; lots of mile a minute vine with limbs like thick rope; nettles and lots of other growth all mixed in. I removed the front hedge first including stumps and roots it being a back breaking job then I turned over the grass using a spade removing a big pile of stones and other buried debris. From the lane the hedge was lower but from the garden it was very high involving ladder work in order to trim it.Meadow project (3).JPG
    Here's one of the big laurel stumps/root ball; this must have weighed over a ton taking five very hard days to get out involving assorted hydraulic jacks with a combined 24 tons jacking pressure; these stumps included soil; bricks; stones; glass; part of a concrete path; and even corrugated tin sheet; in all the job was a nightmare but I'm not one to give up easily. Whilst I worked I gathered a fan club of walkers along the lane who stopped to have a chat and daily watching steady progress. Having broken this free I then had to use a 2,500Lb winch to drag it across the slope worried in case it decided to head to the valley bottom; it left a trail of stones whilst being dragged by the winch.

    I'm out of time but I'll continue this epic story later this just being the start and it didn't get any easier.

    Kind regards, Colin.
     
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    • Giri

      Giri Gardener

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      I need someone to hack away enough of the mountainside to make a bowling green -- are you busy Colin ?
       
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      • Retired

        Retired Some people are so poor all they have is money

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        Hi,

        Very funny Giri; I could easily do the job for you but traveling time would take too long. :yahoo:

        Meadow_0003_02.JPG
        Reducing height of hedge further.Meadow_0011.JPG
        Laurel stump being jacked out; two more jacks were used in order to break this stump free. These jacks are ten tons each. Five days of very hard work just to get this one stump out and clear.Meadow_0016.JPG
        Winching the stump across slope using trolley jack and rollers; it was a long heavy job then I could fill the big hole in and worry about getting rid of the stumps later; prority was to drop the hedge.Meadow_0019.JPG
        Here's the hawthorne tree stump and this remains it being at the very corner of the garden where to remove it would cause lots of collateral damage. Just above can be seen where I severed the English Ivy; nothing at all about this job was easy.

        I'll keep popping on adding bits as time permits. Got to go; I'm retired but still working up to 12 hour days; retired in name only the work around home doesn't let up.

        Kind regards, Colin.
         
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        • john558

          john558 Total Gardener

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          It good to see you back on this site Colin.
           
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          • Retired

            Retired Some people are so poor all they have is money

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            Hi,

            Many thanks John558; kind of you. :)

            I'm working flat out at the moment only to stand still; over the last few weeks I've repainted walls in three room and am just completing six lots of reglazing with two frames yet to paint; on top of this every time I look at the garden the hedges and grass etc demand attention. My lovely wife and I are not the type to retire and sit in front of the TV all day and night; we strive to better our lives.

            I hope to continue this thread as time allows; it was a huge makeover so takes a bit of writing up.

            Kind regards, Colin.
             
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            • Retired

              Retired Some people are so poor all they have is money

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              Hi,

              Another early start up at 6:30 this morning to do more painting of the window frames; I've just knocked off for a mug of tea so popped onto the forum for a few minutes.

              Meadow_0008.JPG
              Having removed the front hedge here I'm rotavating again still removing all kinds of debris.Meadow_0009.JPG
              Having dug over by spade which was backbreaking the rotavator simply refused to break up the grass sods just scattering them around making a mess so I had to dig over again in order to break the grass sods smaller. This is incredibly hard work where just trying to stand upright on the steep slope is challenging. I thought it might be better if the ground was wet rather than bone dry and this was the result; the rotavator bounced around completely out of control dragging me in its wake with high risk of injury so try again when the ground dries a bit.Meadow_0010.JPG
              First phase now completed with the soil rotavated and raked ready to receive the wild flower seed; the huge second hedge still needs removing but at least the meadow is on its way.Meadow_0021.JPG
              Horse shoes are regarded as lucky but not by me; this one jammed the rotavator tines solid it taking a lot of removing on top of all the other debris I was finding; what a terrible job. The rotavator is fitted with a safety clutch allowing the clutch to slip if the tines jam but because the tines kept jamming I found one of the blades and been forced out of position; I forced it back into position but then it kept being forced out of position; the blades are secured with rivets; enough of this torment the blades are now welded into position.

              Got to go no rest in retirement.

              Kind regards, Colin.
               
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              • hailbopp

                hailbopp Gardener

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                Really well done Colin. Having a huge garden I know how hard a project like yours is. I managed to pull the bumper off a Discovery trying to get a tree stump out some years back, whoops! Also “ flattened” 2 tyres and left enough rubber on the driveway to make another tyre. Husband not impressed but the stump did come out. I didn’t know a Discovery could rear like a horse.:whistle:. The horse shoe looks like a hind shoe for a pony?
                We are also in the middle of dealing with Laurel and a very very large cherry. We luckily do not need to remove the huge cherry stump as it will be covered by the Laurel which is being taken down to a manageable height. Eventually it will match another Laurel like the last photo.Not keen on Laurel but was here when we moved here and it would be a monumental job the get rid of the tree stumps the Laurel bushes are hiding.
                Laurel and cherry burn well once seasoned, hence the pile of wood. If you don’t have a wood burning stove advertise it and someone will be along to take buy/ take it in no time at all.
                Bonkers doing such hard work in this heat but “ make hay” as they say. I will look forward to seeing your final results.8608DDFA-4EC4-4ED1-83A6-8B8097A1E467.jpeg45F884D7-B092-4472-94A4-BC9A2C74FAD6.jpeg61731A68-6727-4625-8531-7FEBCCD76ED4.jpeg
                 
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                • Retired

                  Retired Some people are so poor all they have is money

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                  Hi,

                  Thanks hailbopp. Tut; tut abusing your Discovery like that; there's lots of videos on YouTube showing vehicles attempting to pull trees down with varying degrees of success; during dinner we've just watched two pick up trucks in America lose their truck rear body; amusing to watch as are the tree felling videos where things go wrong; at least you succeeded but I wonder if you'd ever repeat it. :whistle:

                  Looking at the pictures you've kindly posted reminds me of my nighmare last year; laurels are excellent if looked after but ours went ballistic during the years I worked on the bungalow; we've still got plenty of laurels; one lot were fighting an oak tree being as tall but I've brought these down to about 4' tall were I can now talk to them; we've got a Bosch shredder so brash is always shredded then used as mulch but thicker branches and trunks I chain saw into short lengths for a neighbour who is delighted to accept them for her woodburner; she's had tons of firewood from us over the years; I'm glad to get rid of it she's glad to have it and being so pleased we exchange gifts too. You'll be aware every part of these laurels are poisonous I used to run full car loads to the tip but one day I felt really ill due to the fumes being given off. You'll be pleased to complete the job then your laurels will be a lot easier to manage; good luck.

                  104_2916.JPG
                  These laurels were as tall as the oak tree years ago; one Saturday I borrowed a works flat bed wagon and run lots to the tip but they soon grew back again now I'm keen to keep on top of them.104_2917.JPG
                  More laurels seen to the left; I don't mind the laurels now they provide excellent privacy.

                  Our site_0012.JPG
                  Near the top of our mountain; it sure is steep. I've also cleared the area now occupied by the flowers it having been badly overgrown including oak and holly trees; if we moved I'd miss this constant hard labour; now almost 74 it keeps me young and active.

                  Bottom half of trunk..jpg
                  One of the 80' tall trees I felled and disposed of; lots of happy faces collecting free logs.
                  Tree felling Oct 2012. (10).jpg
                  The same tree just felled; I've removed lots of big trees and we've still got some left.

                  I digress but I've just enjoyed a mug of tea so I'd better get off my backside before another day slips quietly by.

                  Kind regards, Colin.
                   
                • Retired

                  Retired Some people are so poor all they have is money

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                  Hi,

                  Back to the plot.

                  Our site_0011.JPG
                  Here's the meadow now once again in full bloom looking stunning at the moment mostly in yellow.Our site_0013.JPG
                  A close up.Our site_0014.JPG
                  How strange. To broadcast the seed I let the prevailing breeze do it for me; the first year I struggled with the seed going everywhere but where intends due to the light breeze but then I thought why not use the breeze to help rather than hinder. I took a few paces down the garden and whilst the breeze was blowing uphill I tossed the seeds into the air and was amazed by how well they were being scattered so I do this each year. What is strange is that the tall flowers like poppies ended up in a row at the highest point of the meadow but they looked nice.
                  6 July 2021_0005.JPG
                  Here's what bloomed first this year; mostly white daisies which have now given over to yellow; I wonder what next because the meadow flowers up to first frost?
                  Meadow_0004_01.JPG
                  Another close up.

                  I've mentioned just how difficult and hard it was to create this meadow but I was in for lots of punishment. Having removed the top hedge I then needed to erect a new fence; this was incredibly hard work; just beneath the dry stone wall I found a ledge of stone just where the new fence posts would be located.

                  Punishment._0001.JPG
                  What a huge difference now the hedge has been removed; walkers along the lane can now see the meadow and stop to admire it or ask querstions as to how I created it; many of the walkers witnessed the struggles I endured day in day out.Punishment._0003.JPG
                  The new fence posts are treated 4" x 4" x 12' long; I wanted to bed these at 3' deep so gave the bottoms extra protection; I used my hot Mapp gas cartridge torch to burn then dosed over with diesel/old engine oil mix then I wrapped in shed roofing felt; I didn't want to repeat this job in a few years. I could just lift these posts being a ten stone weakling but after carrying the first one up the mountain I thought I'm heading for an heart attack so started to drag other posts up as seen on a sack cart. Our immediate next door neighbour had two roofers working on her bungalow and these took pity on me carrying up the remaining five posts; I gave them £20 which they declined but I insisted it well worth it me. All the posts were bought at 12' long and once installed I ran a line to mark the height I wanted then lopped the top off each using a petrol chainsaw.Punishment._0004.JPG
                  I thought having worked so hard to clear the top of the mountain the hardest work was over but given my bad luck it wasn't finished with me yet. Here's a picture of 3' deep stone it being a natural stone ledge running along the base of the wall. Now again I was in for it; I ended up buying a huge electric concrete breaker and a 40m extension cable; the chisel wasn't long enough to break through so I cut the chisel in half and welded in an extension piece but now all I could do was to chisel straight down with little sideways clearance so off again this time to buy a 1M long x 16mm TC tipped drill bit and I used this in my big SDS drill;now at exactly 3' deep as I drilled the drill broke through into soft ground; I'm sure if I tried to shoot myself I'd miss given my bad luck. If this sounds hard work then getting the big concrete breaker up the mountain meant dragging it up on the sack cart; having got it up there and connected to power I couldn't stand upright due to the steep slope; I made a small platform to work from and then spent a great deal of time and energy pounding away daily at the stone. By now I no longer cared whatever was thrown at me this fence was going to be erected; even running the heavy netting was challenging working entirely on my own but I'm too stupid to know when to quit; as they say a Yorkshireman is strong in arm and weak in head. I've always worked hard ever since my first day down a deep coal mine aged 15. Now aged 73 I can run rings around lots of youngsters.Punishment._0005.JPG
                  When I say our garden is steep please see roof tops to the right of the picture; our bungalow is way down the garden. The big trees are ours although we used to have lots more until I felled them.

                  I was always taught to start one job and finish it before moving to another job; being a guy I can't multitask and don't even want to; I just get stuck in and resolve problems as they arise; it works for me; I got a fan club whilst doing all this work as walkers were amazed to watch progress on a daily basis whatever the weather.

                  Over the last few weeks I've done a tremendous amount of work on our bungalow reglazing six windows and painting three rooms; I'll be pleased when its all finished then I can start over again. I've been on the go since 6 o'clock this morning but as I've said it keeps me fit.

                  I hope this story is interesting; it's been easier to write about than to do.

                  Kind regards, Colin.
                   
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                    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
                  • Sheal

                    Sheal Total Gardener

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                    Welcome back Retired. :) It's good you're posting again and your garden is still a challenge I see. That's a grand job you've made of the fence and the meadow flowers look lovely too. Will you leave the fence as it is, or are there thoughts of climbing plants perhaps?
                     
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                    • Retired

                      Retired Some people are so poor all they have is money

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                      Hi,

                      Many thanks Sheal for your kind words. :) It's nice to be back and perhaps once this rare beautiful weather reverts back to our usual dire weather I'll have more spare time at the keyboard.

                      Good question regarding the fence; I'd love to see a big rambling rose growing up it but I designed this fence taking into account our extremes of weather here on the very exposed valley side; as the fence is left bare it poses little resistance to high wind; we have enough problems with trees coming down and these don't come down whilst it's a nice day; I don't enjoy chainsaw sessions in freezing weather.

                      Once frost is due again then I'll clear the wild flowers; last year I bought two Hyundai petrol strimmers; one just a strimmer the other much heavier strimmer/brush cutter with cow horns and big harness. I used the big one to drop all the spent flowers then went over with the petrol mower to mulch them finally going over with the petrol rotavator; I'll do the same this year.

                      The meadow could be left alone to look after itself and in doing this then the bi-annual plants would appear but whilst I'm still fit and active I'll keep rotavating; next year though I'll broadcast fewer seeds; I overdid the seeding this year which was unaided by the seeds already in the ground; the seeds at around £30 are well worth the money for such a wonderful display each year. Last year I also spread 5 tons of woodchip; it really needs three times this amount but I'm already impersonating Superman.

                      Walkers along the lane see more of the meadow than we do because we're always so busy.

                      Kind regards, Colin.
                       
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                      • Sheal

                        Sheal Total Gardener

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                        It's certainly a challenging garden but you're making a grand job of it. :thumbsup:
                         
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                        • Retired

                          Retired Some people are so poor all they have is money

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                          Hi,

                          Thanks Sheal; I'm pleased the heavy work is finally behind me; still plenty of work but now routine maintenance like trimming and cutting grass so I can back off from the twelve hour days and start to do things I want to do in retirement; I've no intention of using age as an excuse to be lazy; so many just give up when they retire; whilst I'm still fit and active I'll keep busy and have jobs lined up for today. Life is good and needn't be expensive to enjoy.

                          Kind regards, Colin.
                           
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