Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The deforestation of Waikanae continues


The place is looking a bit scrappy now as the ground is being cleared and the garden opened up. But it's important that we keep the long term picture in mind at this point.

A couple of Sundays ago, Luke and Di came with Lyall to collect cartons and packing material as they are planning to move house. They stayed for lunch and Luke used the pruning saw to reduce the height of the camellias outside the kitchen - well, I started and he couldn't bear to sit while I was doing it so he took over. I'm not silly ... 
The Clash of the Titans in the battle of the bubble wrap


Luke may be taller, but David takes advantage of being short to go in low ...

Rob was here for a day last week. We started off designing the whole garden as it will be in about a year or so,  and then he worked solidly for about 5 hours clearing the wandering jew from the former forest beside our bedroom. We took 6 woolsacks of it to the transfer station (wonderful inventions woolsacks – do you have them in the UK? Old woolsacks that are no longer suitable for farm use but fabulous for collecting garden waste in. They still smell of lanolin, are very strong and able to be hauled around the garden and across concrete paths, compacted to fit in the boot and then emptied for the next time).
Woolsack #4 - some lilies made the cut as well - collateral damage ..

Woolsack #4 is in the background and Rob is readying the contents of #5. The 3 straight trees in the background came out this weekend to make room for the clothesline.

You can see my current clothesline - not long enough and rather unsightly. We bowled the rotting trellis and removed a lot of lilies - their tubers are still in place in the main so they will regrow if Rob lets them ...

The ground was fully cleared by Rob. Luke has felled the 3 straight trees and the woodpile in the foreground is to fill my yet to be constructed raised vege garden. The two posts will also support a bean frame.

On Sunday Luke came up again alone but with chainsaw and equipment, plus van and trailer, and he did a magnificent day's work. I feel a bit guilty about the number of camellias we have reduced to a third of their height or chain-sawed to ground level (Luke’s favourite – you should see his face light up when I say ‘ that one can go’).

However I am learning to live with that guilt as I see the garden opening up and the trees that remain being able to breathe and grow on the side that was previously blocked by a 20 – 25 foot camellia. One of the three trees he took out from beside the bedroom on Sunday (see photos above) was a bay lookalike – at least 30 feet high, for heaven’s sake! Our friend Jane (who came to take away the detritus of Sunday’s deforestation for their place in the sand dunes of Te Horo where she needs to build up wind breaks so her plantings can survive the northerlies and the scorching sun) told me that it will likely grow back even if the stump is ground down to root level – such is the power of the survival instinct as described in evolutionary theory! "I might be 30 foot tall reduced to nothing but a root system, you b*stard chainsaw operator, but guess what – you haven’t beaten me: as one of your human (well, perhaps) actors says: ‘I’ll be back’."

So two trailer loads went to Jane’s and two more to the transfer station down the road. Luke’s trailer is a high-sided one so fits lots more. Derek’s trailer which I went up and borrowed (it is useful that he is still away in the US as I am allowed to borrow his car and trailer at any time) is a low sided one. Luke said it’s a tr, I told him that was mean and it’s more a trai. Whatever, it still fits lots of camellia trimmings, esp when Luke tramples them down halfway through loading.

At the end of the day, David decided that the remainder would go into the wheelibin and be put out for collection on Monday. Luke and I were all for putting these bits in a woolsack. However David insisted they would fit in the wheelibin. When he’s in that frame of mind there is no point in reasoning or discussing. It’s best just to say ‘go for it’ which both Luke and I did. Getting them in the wheelibin does involve some trampling which David enjoys doing. On to the ladder or set of steps he gets, climbs into the bin and stomps around (he would have been so good at trampling the grapes – a career opportunity missed: sigh ...) So in he goes, tramp, tromp, trump. Next moment the wheelibin tips over as he’s somehow affected its centre of gravity. Fortunately he is holding on to the guttering with one hand and manages to swing his other arm up and grasp it. I am watching in disbelief and with concern – will he be OK and, somewhat more importantly, will the guttering cope with his weight hanging off it? Dear reader, you will be pleased to know that the answer to both is in the affirmative. There are times, ladies and germs, there are times … I did ask if he would re-enact the event so I could photograph and video it for your edification but for some inexplicable reason, he wasn’t obliging.

Having watered the garden ( a good drink for the truncated camellias in particular and for my lettuces) and all of Derek’s pots which I am caring for while he’s away, I then sat at the dining table – I don’t have an office - and looked out at the new view.  In the mornings since it is clear that we have opened up to the view and the sunlight. It's so lovely. I can hear the birds still and I can see more of them. They have been enjoying more access to the insects made available by the trimming and felling.


The two trimmed camellias beside the dining room and verandah. We can now see the hills far more clearly. The two boughs of the huge kanuka tree in the neighbours' garden will be felled soon as it is rotten - fabulous firewood if any boater wants to come and get it ...

This Sunday’s work has opened up the garden and back lawn even more – we have eaten lots of meals outside at our new table over the last week and that number will increase with the continuing good weather and the more open tree canopy. We wouldn't be able to do this if we were still in Johnsonville as even if it's sunny there, there is most often too much of a breeze for it to be comfortable. Here the issue is the fairly intense heat, but with far less breeze the cantilevered umbrella is a boon - it is David's new experimental toy as it twirls and tilts. He needs the occasional reminder to play nicely and not take his friends' heads off ...
Jodrell Bank is constructed in the backyard
Looking for a signal ...


David acting as the ballast before we'd got the paving slabs to hold it down. The hole in front of him is where we removed an old rotting stump. The fence behind him will be replaced.

And the other task that was commenced was providing internal access from the garage. More has to be done for the taller freaks among us, but it's fine for me ...
David has removed the gib board


Luke has removed the joists. I can step through and hardly duck at all. Luke is going to complete the job making it higher and then framing the opening. There's space on each side for coats to be hung up so some hooks will be fitted inside.
So things are progressing. I have my work cut out inside as well, but more of that later.

It has just occurred to me that we decided to leave Cherswud so we didn't have maintenance or gardens to do - what happened???

1 comment:

Lesley Bateman said...

Coming along nicely. Have finally decided what going to do with under stair cupboard, but you will have to wait until you come back and visit to find out. Stairs replastered, man back Sunday to do bit at bottom of the stairs and my bedroom wall and around the windows which were mulleted when they put in the double glazing. Onward and upward.x