Our conifer has been replaced with colour

Helenium

Helenium

Achimenes - the hot water plant

BRIAN KIDD: Now the lawn’s sorted let’s concentrate on the greenhouse

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We had a major problem in the garden and it has taken a long time to resolve it.

During the dreadful snow last winter, one of the largest conifers in the garden fell apart due to the weight of the snow.

Several branches had snapped off and the others were at angles all over the herbaceous border and part of the pond.

The poor thing was over 40 feet tall and a focal point, but it was no good being sympathetic. It was impossible to bring it back to its former glory, so it had to come out.

What a job! The secret of success is to remove a lot of the bulk to make the job accessible, but to leave as much height as possible so that the trunk and roots can be removed easily.

Easier said than done. We (Pam and I) took a whole day cutting off the excess limbs, cutting them up and putting it all into huge bags to take to the recycling centre. Then I made a start on removing the roots.

There are five main anchoring roots about the thickness of large parsnips, each one being half- a-mile long. These were being removed by unearthing them and then cutting through them with a bow saw.

Another day later and only half were removed, but then our friend Robin turned up.

He is massively strong, so he asked for an axe and half- an-hour later the large roots were out, the trunk pulled over and cut into sections ready to take over to the Isle of Wight for my son’s woodburner.

By the way, I forgot to tell you there were two wheelbarrow loads of fibrous roots which I extricated the following day.

The area had to be dug over to a depth of a garden prong and this wasn’t an easy job because even our garden is so dry and work was impeded by the miles of matted fibrous roots.

I have never had to use a spade to break up the soil before using a fork to dig it over.

The conifer had used up all the minerals and food in the ground, which had to be refortified with well-rotted manure and fish, blood and bone fertiliser. The foxes had a field day the following night.

We now had to fill this important area with something glamorous which looks as if it has been there for years, but decided against another conifer because they do look a bit boring at times.

The answer is to plant a group of herbaceous plants from pots, so it was up to the garden centre to buy large pots of perennials, five for £20.

You can’t take it with you so pots of Helenium, Coreopsis, Delphiniums, Achillea The Pearl, Scabious and Penstemon have all been planted.

But the space between each plant is very obvious, so we went for some Cosmos. We should have a riot of colour in a few weeks’ time.

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