One day I will replace that bush with something more deserving of such a prime sunny sheltered spot. I wish I knew what it was: it's evergreen, with variegated largish leaves, but it's most distinctive feature is the young stems, which look as though they have been thickly coated in gold dust. It never flowers, and is only with difficulty maintained as a very dense 6-foot hedge.
So, now it is all clear and open, framed by the azaleas which are flowering like mad.
Not the colours I would have picked myself, but they do look quite impressive. I don't seem to have taken a photo looking down the steps between Bert and Dave the gargoyles, that is where most of my trimming went on.
My mother came to visit, armed with wellies and gardening gloves, and helped me fight my way to the compost heap, where I loaded the last of the mature compost into a wheelbarrow. Then we move the top layer of the large heap into a new heap, and topped it with all the stuff we hacked back while getting there. Pleased with our victory, we celebrated by planting another azalea - this one - not my photo but gives you an idea of the richness of the colour. I've put it under the decorative maple, it'll look amazing if it reaches the promised 1.5 meters tall.
The news of hacking and composting makes it sound like the garden is terribly overgrown - well, it is in many places, but there are open paths all the way round and a lot of it is looking really pretty - even the overgrown bits are all buttercups and red campion and bluebells at the moment, so they look rather lovely, I think.
The cherry tree has a lot of young cherries this year, result! And I think, from the number of young apples forming, that the apple tree that used to have a shrubbery around it is very pleased to have been freed. Also I must make a rhubarb crumble before the rhubarb gets so big and fierce that it eats one of the cats or something.
Another thing that has been pleased by the hacking is my Crinodendron hookerianum - this has always been a nice little tree that flowers reliably every year, but this year, with more sun and more rain, it has pulled out all the stops and looks magnificent. I should take a photo actually, that pic I've linked to is of a smaller plant than mine.
I really need to tackle the raspberry canes, which although only a few years old are making determined bids for world domination. But I am somewhat inclined to wait and eat the raspberries first, as from the number of buds it looks like it may be a bit of a bumper year.
I am still considering the matter of raised beds. I definitely want them, but I've left it too late to get them organised this year, so might as well concentrate on other areas and appreciate what's there now.
I am wondering whether to plant the Clematis montana grandiflora that I had planned to plant to grow along the back hedge, to grow up over the mysterious heap of roofing tiles and Other Stuff that was revealed when the shrubbery was removed instead. Or whether to get something else for that task. It will need to be something fairly tough, shade tolerant and fast-covering, whatever I put there.
In my Cheshire garden I had a Rose Alberic Barbier, which did very well on a north facing fence. I am tempted to go for that again, it's a fabulous plant, but it might get too big and make it hard to cut the hedge. Hum. Or I could put the Montana there and get an Alberic for the back hedge...?
Lurcher icon for this post, to commemorate the fact that as I didn't take the hounds a long walk this morning, on the DOT of 5pm, a cold wet nose was inserted into my ear. When this failed to get me going, he tapped with his paw repeatedly on my keyboard until I gave in and took them out a-zooming.