Thanks to Cruella’s (my wife) run in with the law this gardening blog is in danger of becoming a true crime drama. Like all descents into criminality this all happened so swiftly. You will remember from a couple of posts ago that the idiot son and I cut down a large Yucca and duly laid the cuttings on the pavement beside our garden wall. The procedure in our village is that you put out prunings and cuttings and then telephone the town hall’s contractor. They in turn will then come along and take it all away.
Having made the requisite call to the contractor twice, I assumed all was in hand. Unfortunately my confidence was misplaced as the Police duly turned up at my door and enquired why I was littering the street. I explained all, and they left quite happy. The next day two more different Police turned up and asked the same questions. Again I professed my innocence and they left only to turn up later when I was out to leave a fine of €50 in my post box.
Now the fine was bad enough, but the worst thing was that they had named Cruella on the fine documents and not me! The eruption of fury from Cruella was galactic. She called down all sorts of damnation on the town hall and insisted on going straight out to where the cuttings where lying and proceeded to do one of her ritualistic dances weaving in and out of the cuttings whilst casting spells on the town hall and the police.
The photo below shows Cruella as she finishes her dance with a final ritualistic flourish which involved spinning around on one leg before pointing at the object of her spell.
26th January. Things I have been doing lately:
🪚 Cutting back hedges. As I move towards the end of the big Winter cutback there are only a few major jobs to do, one of which is to cut back all of my hedges. I love hedges and I have planted them so that they all fight for the space to flower and survive. Over the Summer they knit together into a tight interwoven group of floriferous mayhem along the borders of my house. Currently I have the following fighting it out in my hedges:
- Pink Trumpet
The photos below show various aspects of my hedges after all the flowering has finished and just before I began the cutback. Click on each photo for a larger view.
The hedge cutting process is very simple. None of the plants are treated as individuals, instead they are all cut back to the same height and width so that they align with the railings on top of my garden wall and also with the edge of the lawn. Using a hedge trimmer I first square off the sides. Then using a chainsaw or long handled loper I cut the thick stemmed plants down to size. Finally using the hedge trimmer I square off the top and the outside edge facing the road. The photos below show the outcome. The hedge will quickly grow again to be up to 10 feet high and be flowering again in a month or so. Click on each photo for a larger view.
🌴 Cutting back Palms. I leave all the really big Palms to be cutback by a professional Palmista; It is important to know when to use professionals in your garden. However, there are a number of smaller palms that I will happily keep in shape. Amongst these is a stand of European Fan Palms that we have planted in a round bed in the middle of the path that leads from our front door to the front gate.
These Palms are ferocious self sowers so I start the cutback by taking away all the low eye poking projecting fronds using long handled lopers. Once this has been achieved I use an extendable long reach loper to cutback the fronds at the crown of the palm. Given Cruella’s recent run in with the law I decided that I would get her to separate the fronds from the stems and then neatly stack them in a large sack for disposal. At first she refused to take part as she does not like coming out during the day, but I explained to her that as well as being fined she has to do 36 hours of Community Sentence. I have not yet told her that her appeal against the fine has been upheld and she has been cleared.
The photos below show the Palms prior to their trim and after the cutback. The final photo shows Cruella serving her Community Sentence. Click on each photo for a larger view.
🌳 Pruning Sago Palms. Lots of gardens in Spain have these slow growing and expensive Palms. I have two, a large multi trunk specimen, and a smaller version in a pot. For these Palms to look there best you need to prune them once a year to expose their interesting trunk. However, because these are so expensive you need to be careful that you don’t over prune. You should prune back the lowest fronds until you leave at least two rows of fronds at the crown. In this way you should guarantee that if anything like frost or wind damage happens then at least one row of fronds should survive.
The first photo below show the sago palm before its trim. The second shows me reaching in carefully with long handled lopers to trim off the unwanted fronds. The final photo shows the newly trimmed and neat plant. Click on each photo for a larger view.
🪓 Preparing for the battle with the big Bay Tree. The last job of the Winter cutback each year is my annual battle with the big Bay tree. I am already in training for this grudge match and I am also practicing meditation so that I can psyche it out. A full battle front report will be contained in my next post. In the meantime here is a photo of my adversary.