Hacking my way through the undergrowth



We have a whiteboard in the kitchen which is the place to record that we are running out of tea or cheese. It also records jobs that need doing, and, in my theory at least, these are vaguely "current" jobs as opposed to one of Ian's masterlists of the hundreds that things that need to be done in house, cottage and on the land. We have had one of these for years and every now and then the children, now way old enough to know better so obviously never going to grow out of it, adorn it with gently mickey-taking cartoons.
Completely belying my "current jobs" theory, we have had "ivy at back of house" on there for what feels like months and may be years. Here is an idea as to why.


We had established that somewhere under there were some stone steps which would allow you to climb up on to the rocky higher ground behind the house so we went looking, Ian armed with a billhook while I had my trusty Felco secateurs. The area under the yew trees was dense with ivy, all the way to the rickety treehouse.


Slowly the steps emerged from what had been an ivy covered steepness. It was a good job to do although these steps will hardly be in constant use. All that is up there is the high curve of land which protects the house from the prevailing winds and the huge beech trees which line the boundary with our neighbours' farm. This was part of the reason for finding the steps as Ian is keen that our neighbour's son, who has a business working on trees, should reduce the height and width of the beech trees. As always I want the least done that preserves the safety of the house and am swimming against the tide of male, chainsaw wielding opinion. So the question of improving access to the trees was the practical reason for extricating the steps.
But for me there was something magical about seeing them appear, like the magic of ruins or the half tug at the heart of the forgotten, overgrown garden.


I think they are rather beautiful, our steps to nowhere.

Perhaps it is time to get the fixing of the rickety tree house on the whiteboard.

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Those steps are beautiful. How lucky you are to have unearthed such charm.

    I deleted my last comment due to the many grammer errors.LOL

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  3. How amazing that you found such nice steps under all that. It looks great and looks like alot of work. That tree house would be nice with a glass of iced tea on a summer evening laying under the stars.

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  4. I love those steps! There are steps around in the riverbanks behind Durham Castle and Cathedral that seem to go nowhere, and I always think they look so mysterious and somehow enchanted!

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  5. Stone steps really do have a magical quality - perhaps because of Rapunzal?

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  6. Gorgeous. Everything we have is new. Sometimes I wish for age and something to uncover.

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  7. I love that sort of job...and to unearth those steps...heaven!

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  8. What an absolutely gorgeous tree house. My lot would love it. The steps are very beautiful Elizabeth and I would be the same as you - least done, soonest mended! x

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  9. Lovely to find the steps under all that ivy. They a lovely!
    The tree house is lovely too.

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  10. We have a kitchen whiteboard too. On there I have Vine weevil treatment! and Clean Breadmaker. Both have been on there for at least 6 months in spite of the exclamation mark which means urgent, do it now!

    Underneath Clean Breadmaker, my husband has added the word tomorrow. So I do leave it until tomorrow. Every day.

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  11. Perhaps you and our blogsphere friend French Fancy (see: http://frenchfancy.blogspot.com/2009/03/went-too-mad with-loppers. html) can confer on this matter.

    The steps do look lovely; obviously placed (originally) with some considerable care.

    Hope you can work all of that out.

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  12. Looking at your photos of the ste;ps made me think of the lost gardens of Heligan (have I got that name right??) You might find all sorts of things under that Ivy!

    Still, a bit of mystery in a garden is not to be sneezed at!

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  13. I think the steps are beautiful, too. Nice photos and happy blogging!

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  14. You look to have plenty to do over the summer in that garden! You are obviously filling your retirement time easily. Funnily enough my son leaves slightly risque comments on my kitchen blackboard if he gets the chance - they never grow up, do they? (thank goodness!)

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  15. You always sound so contented when writing about your home and land, Elizabeth. We're feeling restless at the moment and it would be nice to find somewhere magical to settle.

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  16. What a lovely tale and excellent job you did on uncovering the lovely steps. Perhaps you can find something to reward the visitor with when they have climbed the steps. Not a trig point clearly but something like that.Or perhaps a small stone to sit on a enjoy the view back towards the house.

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  17. I love stone steps and ivy in a garden... so appealing!

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  18. Steps are always magical I think, especially when they are revealed from their hiding place deep in the ivy. Even steps to "nowhere"...

    I think I would level out a small area up there and put a lovely bench to sit and think or read....

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  19. I've always loved tree houses - something that allows you to be a part of many different worlds. It's a childhood thing - wherever we were I'd make one.
    The steps are rather lovely - and steps do always lead somewhere even if it's not obvious at first. What a satisfactory discovery.

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  20. Steps to nowhere - they must have a reason however lost it is in the mists of time.

    How satisfying that newly revealed flight is. I hope you have run up and down several times.

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  21. For a moment, I was reminded of the stone steps that ran up under a vast yew in my grandmother's garden, the same cool dark light, you can smell the damp and earthiness of the soil. Bliss.

    Wonderful planting opportunity and the perfect home for Hellebores; you can look into their beautiful faces from below.

    I am definitely going to have to get well and come visit as promised!

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  22. Isn't it strange? I don't know why steps are so compelling. I love your ideas as to what to do with them. I think a seat might just be possible, would have to be small as it would be carved out of the hill, but the site would be shaded. This is great if you live in sunshine but if you are always following the sun it might feel a bit chill!
    And yes Zoe, do, do come!

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  23. Stone steps up a hill in the middle of Wales are always something grand. They look so nice! What did you do with all the ivy?

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  24. A bit late in commenting as I read this on my phone... but I loved this story of the emerging steps, I do adore a bit of managed dereliction in a garden. It is amazing how quickly nature takes over again.

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  25. Your white board is a lot more interesting than mine!

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  26. We have charts and boards and ongoing massive projects, too. Often those of least letters are the most awesome. Like BARN that appeared in 1990 which we did not start to tackle three years ago, and it was a long hard slog and nearly finished me off. Your steps invite exploration; I love secret places like that.

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  27. Fab steps, and I'm with you on the trusty Felcos, best pruners around.

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  28. How funny Elizabeth, I have the same problem with the chain-saw wielding male thing! If it were left to N there wouldn't be a tree left in our garden here, nor in France, because he's obsessed with light and sun.

    Important though to let some light through again when things are truly overgrown. Our own 'dingly dell' needed a serious haircut and we set about doing this in the Autumn. I had discovered some steps which were leading up the bank from the dell to the middle lawn. We cut back all the laurel which had so encroached and took lower branches off obstructing trees - it is so lovely to reveal them again, so I know exactly how you feel about yours.

    I have to say, the dell looks much better now, with new vistas opened up to the hills beyond though I had to swallow hard one afternoon when I came to have a look how the chainsaw wielders were doing only to find they'd removed all my mature rhododendrons which looked so lovely in Spring. Sigh.

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