The Cottage Smallholder

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Cutting the hedges


Photo: Hefty hedge trimmer

Photo: Hefty hedge trimmer

The garden at the cottage is divided into three compartments with a selection of yew, box and beech hedges. In fact I was so enthusiastic about my hedges that I bought a hedge trimmer when I planted them.

“That trimmer will be a vintage model by the time the hedges are big enough to need it.”
John had laid down his well oiled shears to examine the box.

Then one glorious August day the hedges were finally tall enough to be sheared. John walked down the garden with a long extension lead and the trimmer. As he swished and moved smoothly along the first yew hedge we discovered the joys of a hedge trimmer. They are fast and efficient. 500 feet of hedging could be trimmed in four hours. I had deliberately chosen slow growing hedges that only needed to be cut once a year.

A couple of years ago the hedge trimmer died and I found a small, light replacement that would be perfect for me to use.

John wasn’t so confident. Testing the fairy weight in his hands.
“This is more of a toy than a machine, Fiona. Do you really want me to cut the hedges with this?”
“It’s perfect for me.”
“But I cut the hedges.”

I swapped the fairy trimmer for the most substantial one that I could find. This was a big, butch beast that extended for reaching the higher places. John beamed as the motor roared away.
“This is perfect.”

Well it was perfect until John retired.

We put off the hedge trimming. Even rang John to see whether he would be tempted back to give the hedges a final short back and sides.
“No, Fiona. My knees are bad – I wouldn’t feel happy up a ladder. I’m sorry.”

So Danny and I struck a deal. If I did all the low box hedges and the lowest half of the yews and beech, D would cut the tops and the area around the apiary. I set up the extension lead and heaved the hedge trimmer out of the shed. It is heavy but the long blade makes trimming easy. It took a couple of hours, with quite a few tea breaks and stepping back to check my work. It’s not quite the professional trim that John would have done but I’m pleased and I know that D will enjoy his hedge cutting foray when he gets out the step ladder today as the trimmer is definitely a big boy’s toy.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pamela

    Danny was out trimming as I strimmed the rough grass! Real Sunday afternoon stuff 🙂

  2. The first house we lived in had a long drive with a privet hedge almost the entire length which divided our drive from “Auntie Doris Next Door”. The missing bit was a small section of fence which we could climb over to go and visit – she always had a small bag of those round mints in the clear cellophane wrapper with red writing on and if you were lucky you might get offered one. My mother used to trim both sides of this hedge with shears. With adult eyes, the drive looks so much shorter and the hedge is long gone, but at 5 years old I was perfectly happy to roller skate up and down the length. I guess it would have taken about 3 cars as the drive ran up the side of the house to the garage, so no country estate type drive then. Nowadays my mother has hedges again and used to pay someone handsomely to clip them until I suggested that I could do it for her. She invested in a rechargeable fairy weight trimmer for half of what she paid each time for the gardener and the hedges are done in no time. There is something very satisfying about so quickly being able to tidy up large lengths of hedge.

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