Sunday 07 February – Hedging our Bets

This week’s blog isn’t going to be terribly long. Not because we haven’t been doing anything – we have – but because we have been doing the same thing all week and without much variety there isn’t so much to write about or pictures to show.

The activity which we have been working on all week is hedging (and jumping in and out to avoid the very frequent showers / torrential downpours!) I have mentioned in previous blogs that we really want to improve the gardens at Kergudon including making the boundary both secure and attractive.

Over the course of the autumn I cut down the masses of brambles, ivy, Japanese knot weed and various other weeds that had been growing on boundary of the garden. This week has been spent acquiring and planting holly and yew around the north garden which we hope, in many years to come, will make a fabulous hedge.

I say ‘acquiring’ rather than buying as we needed in the region of 60 plants to cover the 100 metres of boundary on the north and east side of the main lawn and to get nursery grown established plants would have been very expensive. We are lucky to have a friend and neighbour who has a sizeable estate which includes a forested area that has been planted with pine to harvest but hasn’t been touched for many years.  As a result there are many self-set holly and yew plants that can be dug up and transplanted so I made 2 trips to fill the trailer with a range of sizes to plant around the edge of the garden.

Trailer of Hollies - Holiday Cottage To Rent in France


The disadvantage of this approach is that the plants are probably a few years behind where there would be if we were to buy them commercially and, I am told, both yew and holly are both very temperamental to being moved and so there is a high failure rate and, even if they do survive, they take a few years to establish themselves and get roots down before growing properly. All this suggests that my hedge project is likely to be a long term plan before we see any benefit!

The boundary to the main lawn is raised above the track which surrounds the plot on an ancient slate wall that is in generally good condition. The east side proved to be much easier to dig as it was just soil however, the northern edge had evidently has lots of surplus slate, rock and various rubbish built up against it which was then covered with soil making it much harder to dig holes needed to plant my hedging.  I managed the eastern 50 metres in a day and a half but took over twice as long to do the north which is a similar length.

Hopefully I have dug them up with sufficient roots attached, done it at the right time of year and they are being naturally watered in pretty heavily maximising the chance of them taking root.

Another hedge I have planted (also with cuttings from the same friend) is a griselinia hedge to separate the car park area and the lawn. We understand that griselinia has a much higher success rate of rooting from cuttings and grows much faster so hopefully this is only a 5 – 10 year project!

Griselinia Hedge - Holiday Cottage To Rent in FranceGriselinia Hedge 2 - Holiday Cottage To Rent in France







All of my new plants have been challenged with the distinctly stormy weather we have been enduring and, while the rain is welcome to water them in, the wind has been very blustery yesterday and is forecast to be so again tonight – more so as the Met Office feels that tonight’s storm is worthy of being named (Imogen tonight) whereas yesterday’s wasn’t. I’m really not sure why the Met Office has adopted a storm naming convention.  I can understand more for something like a tropical storm or hurricane that the US name which has the potential of literally blowing your house away but a slightly stronger wind than the norm which, while irritating when it dislodges tiles (as we have experienced) and fells a few more trees than usual, seems a bit unnecessary to have a name!

Also this week David has started training his first French client in the fitness suite. I think David is benefiting as much as his client as he thinks it has improved his ‘fitness French’ far more quickly and usefully than any of the books he has read.  The client seems very happy too so hopefully will recommend …

Finally, for those who want to have a feel for the cosiness of Priory the attached video may be of interest.