Before And After: The Back Drive

A good part of the day, until I set the incinerator going at 4 p.m., was spent in selecting and printing the next section of the garden development album.

If there was any task more daunting than anything else in the Old Post House garden, it was the back drive.

Jackie in back drive

This is what it looked like on 14th June 2014. An extremely careful examination of the picture will reveal Jackie at the far end embarking on spraying herbicide. After about a metre this was abandoned. The gate in the foreground didn’t fit and was roughly attached to a rickety makeshift fence.

Wheelbarrow prepared for bonfire

Nine days later the main burning pile, which will be featured later, had encroached onto this area and the old wheelbarrow that was to hold the pyre, had been put in place. The barrow itself stands on a few inches of soil forming a shallow raised bed on which vegetables had been grown. A ring of granite sets held this in place. There were several such booby traps lying about. The panels leaning on the new fence are, we think, part of what was described in the inventory as ‘greenhouse, unassembled’. further down, the older fence has been pushed over by the neighbours’ firs.

Back drive

By 21st July, further encroachment made combustion seem an impossible task.

Bramble across back driveThick brambles attacked from both sides, rooting freely in the earth strewn gravel. This one was lopped on 28th July, because It kept clawing my head.

Jackie with bonfires 1

By 19th September we had made some little headway on weeding, but were still burning branches, many of which, of course had come from other parts of the garden.

Back drive 10 a.m.

Two days later, felt we were getting somewhere. This was the scene at 10 a.m. when we began taking out the shrubbery and trees growing up the side of our neighbours’ house;

Back drive 1.30 p.m.

and this at 1.30 p.m.

Pruned conifers

Another four days and Jackie had made considerable progress in keeping the invasive firs in their rightful place;

Back drive entrance

and by 1st October we had begun defining the entrance, making yet more use of the excavated concrete slabs.

Aaron working 2

In the new year it became apparent to us that we were definitely in need of help. I reluctantly had to admit that there was a limit to what we could manage alone. By 21st February 2015 we had had the good fortune to engage Aaron of A.P. Maintenance. As I told him today he has had a far bigger impact on what we have achieved than by his work alone. Here he is digging out a clump of ornamental grass which I couldn’t lift. We now call this plant ‘the Phoenix’, because it resisted all attempts at destruction, including burning. It flourishes in Elizabeth’s Bed.

Back drive

Aaron only visits on Sundays, but this is the progress he had made by 8th March, in levelling of the soil, much of which was transferred to the rose garden, and edging the right hand border with found bricks. Jackie and I had pruned the griselinia hedging which has been allowed to become an avenue of tall trees.

Jackie executing four point turn 4

On 5th April, Jackie was able to use the strip for its intended purpose. On the left hand side, Aaron has used the granite sets for edging.

back-drive 26.4.15

Three weeks later, he and Robin had covered the drive with most of the gravel.

aaron-concreting

This was completed on 10th May, after Aaron had cemented a retaining bar outside the entrance.

Back drive

By 11th October the drive was in full use. Jackie has lined both sides with flower beds. No doubt I’ll have to tackle the fallen leaves soon.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic chicken jalfrezi, special fried rice, vegetable samosas, and onion bhajis.  She drank Hoegaarden and I drank another glass of malbec.

Published by derrickjknight

I am a septuagenarian enjoying rambling physically and photographing what I see, and rambling in my head as memories are triggered. I also ramble through a lifetime's photographs

47 thoughts on “Before And After: The Back Drive

  1. What a great result – it reminds me of what I had to do for one of the driveways at my house….I’m always so envious of your ability to burn off garden waste 🙂

  2. Holy guacamole! No wonder you needed help. Very, very impressive. I’ll stop whining about my shady yard at the little house in the big woods 🙂

    1. Thankyou we both fell in love with this house and garden, we both knew it’s potential when we first viewed it, it had been on the market for at least 4 years just waiting for us!

  3. WOW! Simply wow. Unbelievable transformation! And for all your hard labors, especially having toiled through my birthday on the 21st of July, I hereby declare that date a personal holiday for you both! Just so you can enjoy a glass of wine, or two, or three…

  4. This is what I meant the other day with the before and after shots…just look at the dramatic difference! Watching over a period of time, your work doesn’t seem that difficult – but look at this!! You are still amazing me, Derrick! And Jackie is right there with you!!

  5. Wow! What a transformation. You guys could take on a tropical jungle and subdue it’s mighty force! I do love the phoenix though. There’s always something determined to resist the well-laid plans of mice & men xx Rowena

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