Sunday, March 08, 2009

Went too mad with the loppers


This was how the front garden looked in August of last year. I won't show you how it looks now. I went a bit too mad with the loppers last week and pruned everything down to almost ground level. Mr FF attacked the passion flower that covered some of the front wall and now it is barely visible. In short the front garden is almost naked except for all the little hyacinths just coming into flower and a few purple hellebores.

Lopping and chopping is very satisfying whilst you are doing it - but then you have to live with a bare garden. If only you could press a back arrow and reverse time. I then would have read one of my gardening books before such a hard-pruning session and discovered that I shouldn't have cut the shrubs so low.

34 comments:

Larry M. Brow said...

Too much to do, and now Spring. How will I find the energy for the mowing, and the trees, and the garden? And I'm still not very good at it. So disappointing.

Luckily, we have some plants, like the blackberry bramble, that thrive on their own.

Nice planter.

(I also notice pots in movies.)

lady jicky said...

Ms Fancy - I just love your house! I do understand the hypnotic power of a pruning shear. You start and think - "Oooh, that looks good , I will just level it off here. " Before you know it , you have a stub! LOL
Thank god I never became a Hairdresser!

Completely Alienne said...

Luckily my pruning habits are contained by (a) the fact that I get bored very quickly and (b) the sizie of my composting wheelie bin which is only emptied once a fortnight (and the need to leave enough room to put all my peelings and the contents of the hamster cage). So I tend not to go too mad, though my husband always used to - so we'd end up with a bare garden and a pile of stuff taht had to be fed into the wheelie bin over several weeks (by me of course, he would have lost interest once it was all cut down) so that the last couple of batches were already composting themselves. [Go to the dump? You think I'd put that in the back of my car?]

Rob-bear said...

OK: so now you've convinced us that you're a complete cut-up. (Not entirely surprised.)

There's still too much show on the ground for pruning in these parts. Maybe in another month the five feet of snow will be gone.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Such a beautiful house! I love the stone around the doorway and the blue shutters.

We've had tons of rain in the last few days. No greenery yet at Little U. on the Prairie, but I have a feeling it'll be coming up when I return from spring break.

Reluctant Blogger said...

Pruning is a bit like cheese I reckon. If there's a lump of cheese in the fridge I go and have a bit and then I go back and think "well, a bit more would be nice" and then back again "to even up the sides" and before I know it there's nothing left.

Except cheese is a whole lot more fun. I am not much into gardening myself - but eating is something I like a great deal!

Blu said...

Lovely loppers, they are so addictive, and I may just go and get mine out of their hybernation today. Your house looks just like A French Fancy home, devine in blue which matches those gloves!

LadyFi said...

What a gorgeous front garden.

And don't worry - everything will grow back - just like cutting off too much hair. Naked at first, then you get used to it and before long, it's a bush again! ;-)

Lane said...

That is one beautiful garden!
I'm sure it will be just as lush again by August.
Which reminds me, just where are my loppers?:-)

Dumdad said...

It'll all grow back even more profusely and you can axe and slash to your heart's content next year....

A Woman Of No Importance said...

That's a very beautiful home you have there, FF1 The blues you have picked out against the white stucco are just so rich, and I am certain your avid lopping will bring fruit, and you will have a garden to be proud of once again! Bonne courage, mon ami! x

French Fancy said...

Larry - it is time-consuming and I'm not the most diligent of weeders. I do like lopping and chopping though. You notice pots everywhere and I notice what shoes people are wearing - after I've looked at their face I then look at their footwear. It's a habit I really should try and lose.

ladyj - It was the first time I'd used the pair I bought last year. They are blue easy-grip handles and so attractive - and they cut well too - too well. I felt ...wait for it...cheesy word...empowered.

CA - yes, the dump, that is the down side of it really. After my mass-chopathon I did four trips to the dump of three huge sacks each time. Mr FF said to leave it for him, but in my newly empowered state of Being A Proper Gardener I wanted to do the whole thing myself.

Rob - all that snow might be great at first but it must get people down after a while. Mind you we have a fair bit of rain here, that's why everything is so lush and green, but the rain can also get one down a bit,(but not me because I just love my range of wellies - galoshes to you lot over the pond),

CntemTroub - thank you sweetie. The Neo-Breton look is a very sweet cute look - lots of white houses with colourful shutters everywhere - and as you mentioned, the lintel around the doorway. When I go back to the UK I always notice the redbrick houses everywhere - not my favourite look at all.

RB - do you know that we seldom have proper cheese in the house, despite the fact that French cheese is so delicious. We both love it too much and do exactly as you've just described. We settle for the plastic low-fat versions at home, but when we go out for a good meal we then indulge our cheese buds.

Blu - even my gardening gloves are blue. I just love the colour of your name.

Ladyfi - I hope the hydrangeas (they call them by their Latin name here - hortensias) grow back. I think I should just have pruned to the last shoot. Oh well - they are barely visible now.

Lane - I had no idea lopping was such a great thing to do, although I'll have to practice because it got some of the cuttings all over my head.

Dumdad - 'axe and slash' - I love that image.

AWONI - it's lucky you can't see too much of the wrought iron gates that need stripping and repainting, but thank you loads

A Super Dilettante said...

Delightful. It's just like a picture postcard house. Somehow, it looks very English - like houses you would see in the Cotswold vilages.

Frankofile said...

You just can't go wrong with blue, can you? I remember a hotel bedroom in France in all different shades of blue - and it worked.

And gardening is not a gentle pursuit at all, is it? All hacking and slaying.

Jennysmith said...

Gosh, FF, sounds like a really severe haircut. Have to say I would enjoy doing that myself!

Think of it as a fresh slate and this longed-for summer will shine on it and make all that beauty grow again. xxxxx

Moannie said...

The more you lop the better, don't worry it will grow back better than ever, unless you really did cut to ground level in which case it'll be next year.HHEEEE! JP is a madman with the secaturs, and he knows NOTHING about gardening, he sees a branch and cuts it.

Love your house.

Nancy said...

It'll grow again! Your garden is lovely.

I'm so glad I found your blog. My husband spent most of his French navy career in Brittany. We will be there in Sept. I love Brittany over any other part of France.

French Fancy said...

ASD - would you believe there are even thatched cottages hither and thither out here? The big thing out in our bit of Brittany are hydrangeas and geraniums- I've bucked the local trend by not having red geraniums in the window boxes any more.

Frankie - I'd rather lop and chop and get covered in debris than kneel and bend and weed. I've got a weak(ish) back and have often come a cropper with all
the bending

Jen - I do hope it grows because I need some foliage to cover the algae marks left by the old leaves of the passiflora on the paintwork - it's not looking very lovely atm

Moannie - I've left perhaps a 6" stump of everything, so maybe there will be no flowering shrubs this year, I might have to go and get some pots for short-term colour. Oh dear, oh well - I do like planting up a big pot.

Hello Nancy and welcome to my drivel. We share Love Of Brittany.

cheshire wife said...

Your garden will recover. Most plants regrow not matter how hard we prune them and if we do not prune them now by summer they will look like an overgrown mess.

claire p said...

Ohh pruning. It should be on the NHS for stress. As an ex horticulturalist my professional opinion is not to worry, most things will grow back. But don't sue me if they don't! Now if you've finished could you come and do mine?

david mcmahon said...

Reminds me of the tyre giant - done lop!

But it'll all grow back.

lakeviewer said...

I don't see anything that will pout and hide for you. All the hydrangea and grasses and roses and whatever has too much at the top can use a good trim. You'll give those plants a reason to wake up and surprise you again. The garden does look lovely. by the way.

Henry the Dog's Mum said...

Oh wow! What a fabulous place you have. That photo could be a picture postcard. I LOVE the blues. Gorgeous. Oh I'm envious. I've never done gardening. It scares me. I kill everything. I once had an 'air plant' when they were fashionable - the ones that are supposed to be 'no maintenance' and that died on me too. We have a gardener in France because UHugh doesn't garden either. However, due to the CMunch we are rethinking that and might reduce his hours to simply cover mowing the lawns. I really wouldn't know where to start, what to do or when to do it. It's getting me all stressy thinking about it xxx

Henry the Dog's Mum said...

I tried posting a comment on Jennysmith's blog but I can't because I can't sign into my blogger account from this stupid hotel and Jenny doesn't allow names or anonymous. Can you post one for me? Just congratulate her for me on selling her house and tell her I'm going to leave her a comment about botox this afternoon when I have better access. I know it's a bit rude asking you but I didn't want her to think I'm ignoring her blog. Thanks so much xxx

Brother Tobias said...

What a stunningly pretty garden - all coolblues and greens, reflected in the house. Makes one want to sit in a straw hat with jug of something translucent and fruity, amongst a bee's hum, murmered voices and a crossword stirring in the light air...

French Fancy said...

cheshire wife - well, the passiflora had not been pruned for 2 years and it had become a dead tangle in the middle - it was overdue for the chop. The hydrangeas, however,have been cut too low, from what I've read. Oh well, Moannie said they might not bloom till next year - they can have a Gap year as well then.

clairep - I do value opinions of others, especially experts like yourself. I'll stop fretting now. Go and do your garden!

david - oh, what a shocking pun,

lakeviewer - I'll add your positive view to the others, I feel so much better with everyone's comments

Henry's mum - yeah, ditch the gardener and get out there - you'd be surprised how confidence-building it is. I never thought I could do it but I do - and I enjoy it so much. Except for the weeding.

Your comment on Jen's blog - sorted, Mrs, no prob.

BroTob - well, thanks for that, but it is the front garden and not very private. However, in the back, under the gazebo, it is truly lovely. Photos on the right - under...garden

Rob-bear said...

The lopping and chopping aside, you have a charming cottage. I love blue, and stone, and delights of a garden (though I must confess I'm terrible at gardening).

As for all the snow getting us down, sometimes it gets us up. Explanation: sometimes we get so much snow that the only way out of the house is to crawl up the chimney. After you've turned off the furnace. (There is a story of one chap who didn't turn off the furnace; he made a complete ash of himself.)

bindu said...

You have (had?) such a beautiful garden! But it all grows back, doesn't it? And this time you will appreciate it all the more!

French Fancy said...

Thanks Rob - the house is small from the front and quite big from the big, because we are on a slope so it looks a bit like the Tardis,tiny on the outside and lots of room on the inside,

Is that one of the jokes to pass the wintry snowy time? :)

bindu - next time I will know to prune to a shoot and not just to the ground. Maybe it will all surprise me and shoot up more glorious than ever.

nikkicrumpet said...

Well I don't know about now...but it sure was GORGEOUS before you started hacking on it. What a lovely way to welcome guests to your home...it's soooo pretty, or it was anyway lol

Henry the Dog's Mum said...

Thanks for posting on Jenny's site for me, but she's STILL not changed the option, so I can't post today either, because I'm back in that stupid hotel that won't let me sign into blogger, for some bizarre reason. Anyway, I think you're right. I might just start by chopping lots of stuff back, like you've just done. But knowing my luck it simply won't grow back, despite what Lady Fi says:)

French Fancy said...

nikki - aw, thanks, let's hope it springs back better than ever

Henry's mum = get some loppers - it's fantastic, a release of pent-up whatsit. The clearing up of the debris is dull though.

willow said...

Wow!! Your house is absolutely gorgeous, Ms. Fancy!

Don't worry, pruning is a good thing. Just wait, you'll see!

French Fancy said...

willow - thanks duckie (English affectionate term). When I was just out in the front with the girls I spotted some green shots on the tendrils justting out of the now-at-ground-level hydrangeas.