Our "twiglet" Sycamore trees

You may remember back in the summer we had a couple of branches down from our Sycamore trees, which was causing concern rather than damage - although the greenhouse did have a lucky escape, see Timberrr! Again. And pesky wildlife.  After a couple more smaller branches came down we decided it was time to call someone in to look at them and tell us what might be causing them to shed their branches. 

The tree surgeon made short work of diagnosing our issue. Squirrels. Yes, the pesky wildlife (although thankfully not the digging sort, see How my garden fared for itself) had taken things to a new level, quite literally and had been stripping the bark off our sycamores so they could get to the sweet, milky sap. And where they'd stripped the bark the whole way round, that branch died and eventually fell down.  Timberrr!

To resolve this, and to prevent any further branches falling we needed all three trees pollarded. And planning permission. Luckily the tree surgeon could sort this out and so last week the big cut took place.  Here's one of the trees before the work started:

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And with the first tree - the one nearest the house - complete, I was amazed at how much more light there was now in our conservatory. 

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Two done, one to go. The first tree had suffered quite a bit of squirrel-chewing - it's most noticeable on the central branch. And don't they look like twiglet's now?

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There was quite a lot to cut off, and there was only one way for it to go. And that was down!  

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I didn't fancy their job at all, but did manage to climb the stairs indoors to get this photo of the man in our tree, who looks as if he's completely engulfed by one of our cherry trees - he isn't, it's just perspective playing tricks on you. 

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They had a nifty way of avoiding muddy footprints through the house though, which I'm grateful for!

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And they did a fab job of tidying the garden afterwards too. 

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And they left us with a heap of leaves and a pile of logs from just one of the trees.  With our leaf bin already full we spent an afternoon putting leaves into black sacks for even more leaf mould and ferrying the thinner branches mixed in with the leaves to our green waste bin. Three full black sacks later and a full wheelie bin and we've hardly made a dent in this pile.  On the plus side most of the leaves are down so while there's still more to do, once it's done, it's done!

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Most of our garden had a covering of sawdust too, the hostas seem to be carrying it off well!

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But all is not sawdust. The Fatsia is in flower and it's looking beautiful. I'm hoping to spend some more time with it and my camera so if the photos turn out well there could be some Fatsia infatuation in a Thursday or two. All the photos in this post are iPhone photos as I was trying to avoid getting in the way - but not always managing it!

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In my raised beds the rainbow chard, parsley and beetroot are still going strong. But in the last week my rhubarb has slumped and I hope it enjoys its winter mulch. 

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The berberis is beginning to show signs of autumn with the leaves starting to turn red. But my garden's still confused as the dahlia is still in flower. 

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I couldn't resist snapping these parsley seed heads, I really should pull them up and compost them, but not just yet...

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And I think this little fella probably agrees with that!

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The a-maze-ing gardens at Glendurgan

I was hoping to share an update on the tree work taking place in my garden today, however as it's still underway I've decided to leave that until next week. So instead there's pictures from our visit to Glendurgan Gardens in Cornwall, another from our trip in September.  The gardens were started by the Fox family in the 1820s as they wanted a "small piece of heaven on earth".  Two of the Fox brothers lived close by - so as our guide explained, they really did like the area - and one founded Trebah Gardens just up the road. I'll share my pictures from there another time. 

Glendurgan is a wild and wonderful valley garden and the climate and geography are key to its success. Wooded slopes provide shelter and being in one of the mildest climates in the UK also helps. Like other Cornish valley gardens there's many sub-tropical plants and one or two other fascinating additions - remember this Boat Seat I shared a while back?

I wish the foxes in my garden were this static

I wish the foxes in my garden were this static

Agapanthus 

Agapanthus 

Banana, with some tiny fruit

Banana, with some tiny fruit

We were given a handy tip to walk down one side of the garden as if we were to come up the other side it would be less steep. So duly noted and a few metres along we couldn't remember if we were supposed to walk down the left or right-hand side of the garden. Oh well, we decided to head towards the School Room and headed off down this pretty cobbled path. 

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There were lots of cobbles in the garden and put to good use in paths and walls. I'm not sure I'd fancy either collecting them, hauling them up (or down) the valley or laying them!

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And so we reached the rebuilt School Room. It was rebuilt in 2002 and provides a focus at the head of the valley and is a modern interpretation of the original building. The original building was built in 1829 and was used by Mrs Fox to educate local children until 1842 when the school moved to the loft of a fish cellar in the village of Durgan at the bottom of the valley. 

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With views out to this tree and down the valley, it's a pretty idyllic place to learn. 

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Before heading down towards the village of Durgan and the coast, we headed over the Bamboo bridge. The handrails were made of bamboo and tied functionally and decoratively with rope. 

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The paths were surrounded by lush greenery which brought some respite from the warm September Cornish sun. There were hints of autumn though with fungi appearing. 

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And then we got our first glimpse of the view and the Helford river. Yes, wow!

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The village of Durgan was quaint and they must have known we were coming as they'd put the flags out...  We sat on the beach wall watching the water (and other visitors) for a while before heading back up the valley using the path on the other side of the garden. 

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This side was steeper so in our 50-50 choice earlier I think we switched the advice we were given, oh well. Onward and upwards. It wasn't long before we came across this old water pump in what was probably a practical place but it seemed a little odd to us. 

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And then there was the Old Cattle Rush, which we presumed was a way of herding cattle. We've since discovered more and it acted as a kind of level crossing over one of the garden's main routes, and down which cattle rushed to drink from the stream. 

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We climbed higher through the garden to get this fantastic view of the maze which was planted in 1883 and continues to baffle visitors - including us!  We did get to the middle but it was hard work, not helped by the fact that it's set on the side of the valley, so it was all up and down, and round and round and then back again!  It's beautiful to look at though. 

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After our trip in the maze we happily spent some time admiring the ferns and orange flowers. And getting our breath back!

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So with a final look back at the valley - just look at that blue sky - a scoot past the Boat seat, it was time to claim our hard earned cream tea in the cafe. 

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There is another entertaining feature called the Giant's stride, but I'll save that for next time. It's fun and definitely provided us with some laughs. 

Bosvigo: A plantsman's garden

We visited this small, but gorgeous two acre Cornish garden during our week in Cornwall in September. I'd seen it much earlier in the year on Gardeners World and had added it to one of my many lists for when we ended up in Cornwall, and luckily that turned out to be sooner than I thought. Bosvigo is well known for it's hellebores, but by the time we arrived so late in the year the small nursery had already sold out. 

Its website -  www.bosvigo.com - says it's Cornwall's best kept secret and it's true as we had the garden to ourselves on our visit, with a couple of other visitors just leaving as we arrived. Hopefully it was nothing we said...

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It was definitely a low key arrival (apart from the departure of the two other cars already parked in the gravelled drive) and was just like turning up at a friend's house, albeit a very grand friend's house!  We made our way over to the porch to discover a small table, some leaflets, an honesty box and a hand bell in case we needed assistance. At this point I think we both knew we were going to like this garden!

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So before we head towards the garden, Bosvigo means the House of Vigo and there's been a dwelling on this site since the 12th century although none of the original building remains today. Wendy, whose garden it is has lived there since 1969 and yearned for a summer garden, filled with rare and unusual plants, a balance between the formal and the informal, with a series of distinct gardens.  Judge for yourself, but I think she's achieved this and has created a remarkable garden at the same time.

We started with the Hot Garden - a firework display timed to explode into life in August with oranges, reds, yellows set against dark foliage. And as luck would have it, it still had some fizz. 

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And views that framed the house beautifully. 

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As we moved towards the woodland garden the plants changed - lush green leaves and colchiums (think of pale and delicate) crocuses for autumn. 

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Beautifully delicate, an Astrantia not a hardy geranium - thanks @pknewhaven!

Beautifully delicate, an Astrantia not a hardy geranium - thanks @pknewhaven!

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And the largest fungi!

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This led to the Vean Courtyard and Garden which belongs to a smaller property, Bosvigo Vean attached to the main house and is Cornish for "Little Bosvigo House" - the garden has a colour scheme of white, blue and gold. 

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There are stunning views over the rooftops towards Truro too.  And to the topiary and wood store close to the house. 

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Next we moved into the Walled Garden where the colour scheme changed again and there were the most gorgeous coloured dahlias.  What a view to have from your window. 

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I seem to have photographed many chairs and benches in this garden, and I suspect they've been placed there for visitors - as well as the owners - to spend some time enjoying the garden. Well maybe not that lichen covered chair...

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From here we were enticed into the conservatory, which we'd spotted as we approached the house. Again there were more chairs, unusually a water feature but also a poignant note saying that this garden was dedicated to the memory of Wendy's daughter Hannah who tragically lost her life in the Boxing Day Tsunami 2004, aged 36. 

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The conservatory was a beautiful and no doubt treasured part of the garden and we felt privileged to be able to see it and the rest of the garden. If you're ever in Cornwall and this garden is open, be sure to pay it a visit.