Sunday, 20 September 2009


Oh it seemed like a good idea alright, as these things always do. But now, three weeks and two wheelie bins (damn these fortnightly refuse collections) in, with another four or more wheelie bins to go, I'm not so sure...

We had, all but, finished the back garden you know. In as much as a garden can ever truly be finished. We had re-shaped, re-levelled, sieved, improved, hard landscaped and planted (over planted, in hindsight,) and even sat back and enjoyed (weather permitting) the fruits of our labours. So what the dickens are we doing now - un-doing our good works?

When we first moved in we (I say we, it was actually Mum - thanks!) peeled back the turf from around the fence line, put up vine eyes and wires (thanks Dad!) and planted climbers; rambling roses, clematis, honeysuckle, hydrangea, jasmine, solanum and ivy to cover the very naked fences. And it worked, like a dream. We are now almost completely surrounded with a beautiful green screen.

So what better thing to do than remove one whole side of it and start again!!!?

As I said it seemed like a good idea at the time, when we hatched our plot to remove a very large rambling rose (Goldfinch) from the fence along the bottom of the garden. The poor rose suffers terribly from blackspot (as do all our roses, sadly) but this one, by the end of August has dropped most of its lower leaves and exposes much of the fence behind our favourite seating area, taking away some of the pleasure in sitting there.

Rosa Goldfinch
Rosa Goldfinch in all her glory

Operation Goldfinch - Before

Rosa Goldfinch looking the worse for wear

So we decided, in our new policy of "If we don't like it - change it" to take the rose out and replace it with something better.

As I said it seemed like a good idea, but oh boy - what a nightmare job, it's not the cutting out, it's the cutting everything up to fit in the wheelie bin afterwards. I did the first binful entirely on my own and still have the remains of the blisters to show for it, so this weekend, knowing what I was in for, I was dreading carrying on with the job. It was a real effort to go out and get on with it. Mr M had been dropping big hints about it being good weather for gardening and that it might be raining next weekend etc, etc. So I gritted my teeth and set to.

I had finished chopping out the next metre long section and was perhaps halfway through the clear-up process when Mr. M came out to see how I was getting on. I had just broken a pair of secateurs and was grumbling about blisters and Mr. M foolishly asked if I wanted some help. 99 times out of 100 I would have said no, but I'd had enough of the bloomin' rose so handed him the secateurs, thanks very much!

From his disgruntled "humph" I think he wasn't really expecting me to take him up on the offer! Anyway it meant that I could rip through the bigger woody stems with the loppers and between us we got through the job in a fraction of the time. Thanks Mr. M!

Progress is, however, slow, hampered by the capacity for getting rid of the rubbish at our current rate we might have finished the job by the beginning of December. We may have to take steps.

This is the progress from the first week of Operation Goldfinch.

After (Week 1)

Operation Goldfinch Week 1

I'll let you know how we get on...

Happy is the man who loves the woods and waters,
Brother to the grass and well beloved of Pan;
The earth shall be his, and all her laughing daughters.
Happy the man.

Richard le Galliene