We’ve  had a lot of work done on the front of the Tuckshop this year, and the final phase has just been completed: our iron railings, erected by the previous owners to deter the crowds of school children who still thought of the strip of front garden as a communal gathering space, have just been dipped, stripped and powder coated and put back in place, to complement the new grey casement windows.

To complete this last stage of the facelift, unfortunately I’ve had to dig out my established lavender hedge so that the railings could be removed from the thicket of their branches – leaving me with several fragrant trips to the recycling centre to dispose of the silvery remains.  The men who took out the fencing said they’d never had such a beautifully scented task as they stomped over its debris in the process.

During the process of chopping it back, and later digging out the roots, I discovered that the lavender hedge, like the house, was something of a treasured local landmark.  Whilst completing my dastardly task,  people repeatedly stopped to say how sad they were to see it go as they loved its scent and buzzing overcoat of bees it wears throughout the summer.  I completely share their regret in having to take such treacherous action: it felt like infanticide as I’d grown and nurtured the lavender from cuttings taken from my previous garden when we moved in here. But hopefully it is not the end of it completely. From the slain heaps of foliage, I gathered up non-flowering shoots by the dozen and carefully took new cuttings which are now sitting on my back step, and which are, I hope, starting to think about rooting to provide the beginnings of a replacement in the next year or so.

Needless to say, now that the area is empty, I’m also thinking about eeking out more planting space in the coveted south facing position at the front of the house and am casting an exploratory eye over the paving slabs which make this narrow strip such a low maintenance area.  The soil is hideous (though not as bad as it used to be, thanks to the lavender trapping so much leaf mould in its tangle over the last few years) and it’s a litter magnet, being so close the the pavement. I reckon I could give an archaeological report on the changing trends in school snackage and drinks over the past 5 years after unearthing layers of wrappers, broken protractors, pen ends and drinks bottles along with the lavender roots.lavender hedge

Going on the ever growing list of jobs (where did the old notion of an ‘off season’ go?), is the task of getting it all cleared and tidied, and waging a (hopefully) final battle with the remaining stubborn roots of the previous wisteria, and getting some serious quantities of grit and organic material into the solid clay.  Hopefully, my recent cuttings will do their thing and Son of Lavender (or daughter) will return the area to its former glory.  Fingers crossed, or the neighbourhood will never forgive me.

Fragrant kerb appeal
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