Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy Hogmanay!

Us Scots are generally well known the world over for our Hogmanay Celebration.  There are many  traditions followed by not only Scots living here but Scots residing in countries around the globe.  We Scots generally take our Hogmanay celebrations very seriously, so serious that even the 2nd of January is a public Holiday here!   
 
So whether you sit down and have a wee dram with loved ones, get out and about First Footing at the bells or indeed partake in a verse or two of Auld Lang Syne (in which case, Scotland won't be too far from you this New Year!).  I would like to wish you all a Happy Hogmanay!       
 
 
 


 
 


Haste ye back, we loue you dearly, call again you're welcome here.
May your days be free from sorrow, and your friends be ever near.
May the paths o'er which you wander, be to you a joy each day.
Haste ye back we loue you dearly, haste ye back on friendship's way
 
 
 
See ye aw next year!
 
 


Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 - My year in review

I started planning what to write for my End of Year review a couple of days ago.  I  found it incredibly difficult to select images from the hundreds I had to choose from.  The stark contrast to 2012 was evident by the sheer glut of images I had from around the garden taken this year.  Despite the slow start come April onwards it was all systems go. 

Iris reticulata March 2013 


Two major disappointments in 2013 - A few good sized Rhododendrons succumb to Cushion Scale.  The attack began back in 2012 and affording the time to individually treat each plant was not an option.  I took the decision to remove 4 shrubs.  I know not if there was a connection to the die back on the middle section of my Holly hedge.  There was a few signs on the undersigns of the leaves but nothing as major as had appeared on the Rhoddies.  I removed the complete middle section of hedge and replaced with new plants.  My budget unfortunately did not allow to buy mature specimens therefore I am now playing a waiting game!  Over the other side of the fence - Jim's weeds did not make this an easy task.  A suit of body armour was required for those nettles.

Nettles, Willowherb and Snowberry in Jim's garden!
The Acer bed was created early 2013 out of necessity really.  I had a couple of container growing Acers that would fair much better in the ground.  As my collection of Primula was increasing - I thought they'd make good companions.  This bed has done really well in 2013.  I've just purchased some P. denticulata Ruby to add to this bed for spring.

Acer and Enkianthus along with a selection of Primula
June 2013
The long curved bed - now affectionately known as the Bumble Bee bed looks good.  Now in it's 3rd year - a bit of thinning out will be required in 2014.  It will be nice to have some of those plants to grow elsewhere in the garden. 
The bumble bee bed
The top bed lost many of it's plants in the flooding of 2012 - I added a few Astilbes in the autumn of that year - I'm rather chuffed with how this turned out in 2013.  A couple of red stemmed Cornus replaced shrubs that perished.  They put on reasonable growth this year but not quite enough to provide the height I wanted.  I will cut them back once new buds appears but not quite so much as I did in March.

As Autumn approached it was still very dry.  I had read that autumn colour might not be as bold as it could be due to the unseasonal warm weather.  It was almost November before the Acers turned. 

There was many unseasonal plants flowering at the tail end of the year none so strange as this Lupin throwing up a flower mid December  The foliage leaves a lot to be desired though!

Picture taken 15 December 2013
Another thing that pleased me the whole year was a distinct lack of slugs and snails in my garden.  My garden is generally over run with the blighters.  Even doing the autumn clear up I was lucky if I found 4 slugs.  Hosta leaves don't usually look as good as this come the end of September!

Hosta sieboldiana Frances Williams
Those who read my previous blog know that the year ends with another project - work has been hampered by the wind and rain.  There are lots of spring bulbs poking their noses up and the hellebores have some flower buds not far from opening.  I can't work in this.......


As my garden moves into 2014 - I am hoping it will be the year of the Front Garden.  As you can see I made a start by painting the fence in September.  I truly lack inspiration on what I want to achieve here.  I will let the privet along the front grow taller - other than that, I don't quite know!  
Front garden September 2013
2013 is the year I truly started to enjoy how my garden looked, I had more success than failure, for a change!  I stopped becoming obsessed with weeding and I harvested seed for the first time so fingers crossed I will have some seedlings come spring time. 

Please join me and other garden bloggers linking their End of Year review with Helen over at The Patient Gardener's Weblog.

A guid New Year tae an ‘a’ a an mony may ye see!

A good New Year to one and all and many may you see!

Friday, 27 December 2013

Plans are afoot!

It feels wrong to have a bit of a rant at the latest bout of bad weather we are experiencing.  Especially as there are so many folks who have had a completely miserable time this Christmas.  My heart went out to them as I watched various news reports over the last few days.

As I sit writing this post - the wind and rain is battering off the window behind me.  I am back to work tonight but when I finish in the morning I am on 1 week's annual leave.  I should have planned that a bit better and arranged for tonight off.  A late request for a day's leave was knocked back - it seems my managers check the weather too and cited the predicted bad weather would mean a repeat performance of Christmas Eve when we finished almost 3 hours later than usual!  Therefore, request denied!!

Shed has been moved
As I mentioned in my November round up the shed was being moved.  This was arranged to be done on the week before Christmas but due to the fact that the guy's labourer had put a nail through his hand, it was delayed for a few days.  The deed is now done - I'm happy that I now have another planting area to play with.  I've a few ideas in mind - my first priority will be to choose shrubs that will eventually cover those bare fences.  Already planted there is an Aucuba japonica crotonifolia and a Griselinia littoralis - there was no thought put into planting them there - they were left over from an over buying spree when I was selecting other evergreens for elsewhere in the garden.  The Aucuba will no longer like that spot as it will be far too sunny for it now the shed has gone and the Griselinia should be happy but I don't particularly like it, it add nothing of value to the garden, other than it being evergreen - the shrubs that are now behind the shed will suffer in it's shade.  My peonies are also stuck behind there  - another problem that needs addressing.  Either way - I should have enough plants without having to buy any more.  I do say that with all good intentions but please don't hold me to that!

However, my mind keeps going back over my wish for a tree - a real proper tree - one with a trunk.  Now I can get under those telephone lines - I need to measure and do some proper research.  Many of you made some great suggestions at the time of posting and I will look into those too.

I've a bit of clearing up to do - there is gravel that need lifting, I'll bag that off until I find something to do with it and there are a few 3x2 concrete slabs that need lifting.  The builder that did my kitchen extension will take them off my hands but he is currently vacationing in sunnier climes.  He will collect them when he returns.  I've not been idle though, the trellis that presently tops the fence down the entire length of the garden (you can just make out on the left of picture) has now been raised - I managed to do this on the days the winds were not so high.  Of course, mother (who stays with me) has managed to comment on more than one occasion that she suggested using the full height when I put them in.  Yes, yes, mother always know best!  I have had to admit that she is right way too many times!  2 new panels await better weather in the shed, those need painting first, I stupidly forgot to buy the paint when I was at the DIY store.  I'll make the trip there over the weekend.  I can paint them under cover in the shed and finish the fence when the opportunity presents itself. 


 
Pergola arch
Mother's choice of Christmas gift for me was right too!  My enjoyment of this gift has been hindered by the weather too.  I'm dying to get stuck into building this and putting it up.  It's been stuck here since it was delivered 2 weeks ago.  It wasn't a surprise gift - she allowed me to choose the one I wanted.  I think it will make a lovely addition to my garden.  The roses currently growing over the arbour and some honeysuckle will be my choice of plants.

One issue I am currently experiencing in my garden is the issue of privacy.  Until recently this has never been a problem.  We have new neighbours in the property on the other side of the back fence.  The shed being moved onto the deck has helped a bit but has not blocked out their view from any of their windows.  Their property is situated slightly higher than ours and they have the perfect view right through my French doors into the kitchen/dining room.  It matters not what time of day we are in the kitchen - they always seem to be there looking in!  I've already commented today on Kris's blog, it's probably all in my head but I just can't shift it.  I'm finding it a very uncomfortable feeling and I don't like feeling like this in my own home.  Perhaps they feel the same way as I do - I don't know.  Thus far, my attempts at being welcoming, albeit through a fence, has not gone down well. 

I intend not to let it eat at me - I've got plans.  I've marked on the picture below of the garden on how I think I can address the situation.  I will let the Holly Hedge grow taller, it does not help that I removed the middle section that was dead and replanted a while back.  The replacement plants will take a while to grow.  I plan to choose a tall growing evergreen to grow directly in front of the deck.   A conifer of sorts would be the most likely candidate but the trouble with those is that those that are fast growing are too fast growing and buying a mature slow growing type will cost me more than I'd care to part with.  So I need to find a happy medium - suggestions welcome.  I will also divide the garden with 6ft trellis panels running across the entire width of the garden with the rose arch creating a way 'through'.  As I have now sacrificed our outdoor entertaining area - I intend to put in a small patio on the gravelled area. I can see it all in my head and have a rough sketch drawn out on a scrap piece of paper but I want to see the arch in first before it's written in stone.

So as you can see I really am chomping at the bit - I just need a couple of wind free days to get things started, then there really will be no holding me back.  Providing the snow stays away that is! 


Are you ending/beginning the year with garden overhaul plans?  I'd love to hear what they are.                    

Monday, 23 December 2013

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

I covet no more!

When I first joined the blogging world a little over a year ago one of the first plants that really grabbed my attention was the winter flowering shrub commonly known as Witch Hazel.  Many bloggers were posting delightful pictures of these beauties.  The more I saw, the more I wanted!  As my mother used to say 'my eyes were bigger than my belly'!

Rosie over at leavesnbloom posted a blog about the selection of witch hazels she grows in her garden up in Perthshire (around 40 miles north of here) - I knew then that they might be a suitable candidate for my garden.  I made visits to a few local nurseries in the hope that I could source a specific cultivar.  Alas, it was not to be!  It was by this time around February therefore possibly a little too late.   A mental note was made to try again this winter.

I made an early start on Sunday morning.  No, not to go plant shopping but to finish purchasing all the gifts for Christmas.  I was very thorough - list in hand off I headed.  The early bird catches the worm and all that!  I had no issue in finding a parking space unlike the queue of shoppers waiting to enter the mall car park a little after 1pm just as I was leaving.  As I was driving home, my son called to tell me that my brother and his kids had turned up unannounced.  He knew I would have a car load and would not want them to see where I had been.  It was cold and wet.  I didn't relish the thought of joining a queue to get in somewhere else.  What could I do to pass the 30 minutes or so until they were gone.  A quick u-turn saw me heading straight for a local plant nursery - I'd be able to get a bite to eat and a warm drink.  I'd check out the sale tables, there are often bargains to be had at this time of the year.

As is usual with these kind of places you must enter through an indoor shopping area first.  It was packed!  Santa's Grotto in the corner was the reason - I didn't think the car park was particularly full but the Christmas Muzak could be heard a mile off.  I was kind of put off a slice of cake and a cuppa.  Now I don't mean to sound Bah Hum Bug but as I had just left a shopping mall full of similar scenes, I wasn't in the mood for anymore.   

I pulled open the double doors to make my way to plant section - the area directly outside there is reserved for seasonal plants all year round.  It's a very tempting area and I've been bitten many a time!  This visit was not unlike any other, my attention was grabbed.  Groups of plants, standing tall, displayed beautifully, in the midst of these groups were a variety of tall shrubs but what stood out more than any other plant was an array of Witch Hazel shrubs.  All adorned with yellow, red and orange coloured ribbon like flowers.  I immediately began checking the labels, ignoring the yellow flowered variety, it took me a while to find the one I was looking for.  There was a point at which I thought I was going to disappointed again - but no, there was an even bigger selection down in the shrub section.  My luck was in!  There she was!  I say she because the plant I was looking for was named after the plant breader's wife.  Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena' is according to the RHS one of today's best cultivar of Witch Hazel.   This cultivar has been awarded their Award of Garden Merit, which is always a good sign that you've chosen a great plant.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena' (agm)
I need to find the perfect planting spot for her yet, she is said to prefer an open but not exposed site.  I do wonder though if that's a bit of a contradiction.  A little research is needed but of course, if you grow Witch Hazel, I'd love to hear of your experiences in how it copes with different situations.  My soil conditions should be just right -  the lovely deep, neutral to acidic soil in my garden will be suitable.  

She will be under planted with some bulbs and possibly some Hellebores - there is little available to buy at the moment but I'm sure come the New Year I'll be spoilt for choice!

I hope all your Christmas plans are on schedule and like me well organised, for a change! 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

My garden at the end of November

There's little going on around the garden at the moment.  Birds that have been absent all summer have now returned - all except the Gold Finches and Linnets that is.  There is food on offer for them but perhaps not quite cold enough for them to come looking yet.  We've experienced regular frosts over the last few weeks.  Some of the shrubs are yet to loose their leaves and the only bulbs surfacing at this time are the snowdrops.  The garden has been winterified (is that a word, I very much doubt it!) and looking very bare.  I've constructed a makeshift polytunnel for alpine and sempervivum troughs - I'll report on it in springtime if it's a success.  I certainly hope so as humphing those pots around the garden is not easy!

Due to the nature of my work, I see very little daylight hours at this time of the year and in particular the lead up to Christmas as I work 12 hour shifts (nights).  However, I'm not being idle......

The garden shed was always my domain.  Everything had it's place!  I don't quite verge on the obsessive but it was always the family joke that nothing was out of place and please don't laugh - I have even been known to vacuum the floor.  As a child my son was always taught to put his things away neat and tidily - it's always easier to find things next time if they are put away, I would tell him.  As he grew up, the collection of bikes and other outdoor play equipment  have gradually been replaced by work related paraphenalia, boxes of obsolete game console 'stuff' and heaps of car parts for a car he no longer owns!  His junk has been a bone of contention for some time now.  I think he had a bit of a rebellion thing going on!      

Things came to a head a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for a sealant gun.  Who knew something as small and simple as a sealant gun would cause such a furore!  As I reached up to where the said sealant gun was stored - a rather precariously placed set of brake discs fell on my foot!  Ouch!  A few choice expletives later - I hobbled back indoors.  That was it!  The final straw! I'd had enough of manoeuvring myself around the Alloys, the tool boxes, a ginormous sub woofer, to name but a few!  An ultimatum was issued - 2 weeks or I'll get rid of if all myself. Knowing that I'm as good as my word he got things sorted and most of the 'junk' is now gone.  Thank goodness for Friends, Gumtree and Ebay!

My foot? - bruised but nothing broken, thankfully.  Considering I had my slippers on I got off lightly!

My shed has been liberated!  That was the good news.  The bad was that I found part of the floor had some water damage.  I can see no obvious point where the water is seeping in, it was probably caused by the flooding last year.  These blasted floods continue to haunt me despite the fact that I was putting all that behind me.  It's nothing major but it needs looked at.   After much deliberation I thought it best that I raise the shed.  I'm going to give up part of the deck - it makes sense and the cost involved in raising the shed on blocks will go towards a small patio nearer the house.  I am generally the only one who suns them self up there and along with my nieces who use it as a dance stage - It's  very under used now.  Rome wasn't built in a day - these things take time and will get my full attention when I can afford more time.  Regular readers might recall that I complained about not having a tree in the garden- the moving of the shed might allow room for one so long as I can source a reasonably narrow growing specimen.  I'll have a better idea once the shed is away.  

Before I can move the shed I need to empty it first.  It's not a large shed but nor is it small.  At 10ft x 10ft it's capable of storing quite a lot of 'stuff'.  I've gradually been doing that as and when I find a little time.  A neighbour has kindly offered to store some of the bigger things in their shed and the rest will find a temporary berth in the house.  I've had to promised (with my fingers crossed behind my back, that is) that no spiders will come along with it all.  Odd though that no one seemed afraid of those spiders when they were depositing all their junk!

It's not only the insides that need clearing.  There is a little area round the back that has become a bit of a dumping ground over the years.  Judging by mess, I really could be considered a bit of a hypocrite. 

As well as piles of black plastic plant pots, there was a few forgotten half empty bags of compost which have now been spread on the borders.
A stack of old plastic patio chairs probably last used around the turn of the millennium in my old garden.  A selection of decorative wooden planters, also from the old garden.  Those were a set of 4 but the bottom 2 had all but rotted away - a few hundred wood lice are enjoy what is left!  The chairs will more than likely go to the dump as they are past cleaning up but the planters will come in handy.  I can also see a large zinc planter but can't quite reach that yet!  That will go to my friend who gladly rehomed the others a couple of years ago. 
Some wooden edging, in need of a little repair but might be recycled elsewhere in the garden.  I bought that edging on a whim and to be honest never really liked it.  I was glad to see the back of it when the front driveway got a makeover.   Speaking of the front drive - the left over blocks from that job were also dumped round the back of the shed.  A clutch of garden canes in varying sizes lay scattered around the ground.  They were once stored neatly in an old section of drain pipe but it had cracked in half.  They now form a temporary piece of garden art!  Handy perches for the birds too. I do need to move them though - I've almost lost an eye once or twice as I've walked by.  Sandbags that were issued to us back in 2009 - the sacks have almost rotted at the base.  I'm presuming that I can just mix the contents into the soil.  If you know or think differently, please let me know. 
Sections of willow trellis and countless off cuts of timber that are really too small to do much with but were kept just in case.  What was I ever going to do with a  12 inch length of 4x4 fence post?   Everything bar the proverbial Kitchen Sink!  How on earth did I manage to cram so much into such a small space?
 
Everyone has a little space like that, right?  I'm guessing most of us have, I can't be all that unique, can I?  What do you do with your 'stuff'?  Are you a hoarder or a recycler?  The time has come for me to impose the same restraint as I do inside the shed.  I know it's a bit early for New Year Resolutions but that will be mine and hopefully not too difficult to keep!   
 
I wish you all a Happy St. Andrews Day and a good weekend!      

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Foliage Follow Up November 2013

It's at this time of the year Evergreens really start earning their keep in the garden.  I've no doubt that in the winter months these will feature heavily in posts.  Meanwhile, if we draw our eyes downwards - there's still lots too see.

Let's take a look at some of the evergreen ferns that are growing around the garden.

This polypody grows comfortable beneath the Magnolia in the grotto garden.  It's proper names is a bit of a mouthful however! 

Polypodium mantoniae Bifedograndiceps

Beneath a variegated Pieris lies a fern with no name - it was a tiny little plant I bought at a local supermarket.  It gets no light whatsoever under there.

Unidentified fern

Of all the Aspleniums (Hart's tongue or Spleenwort) I grow - this one is my favourite.  I love the crinkled leaves - it will be surrounded by snowdrops in springtime. 

Asplenium scolopedrium Muricatum
I don't grow many grasses - it's not because I don't like them, the reason is that I'm never happy with where I choose to plant them and sooner rather than later out they come!  This grass I do like.  I have no idea what it is - I was given a tiny little clump a few years ago and the fact that it survived the flooding prompted me to keep it.  I love it's growing habit - it does however have a habit of moulting, I find it's strands everywhere.

Unknown grass and red stemmed Cornus
The bargain of 2012.  I picked up this Carex Evergold last winter for the bargain basement cost of 50 pence! 

Carex oshimensis Evergold and Heuchera Obsidian
The next two are new additions to the garden this year - both I've tried before but failed.  I planted them too late in the year last time and they didn't cope with the cold.  Not one to give up easily, I'm giving them another chance.

Carex comans Bronze
Carex comans Bronze has a hardiness rating split between H3 and H4 - winter wet shouldn't be an issue in the very gritty front garden, we shall see how it copes with the cold.

Catching the dappled sunlight through coming through the fence Hakonechloa marcra is quite eyecatching!

Hakeonechloa macra
Moving swiftly along from grasses - this Phormium is only frost hardy.  It needs winter protection here in Scotland.  Due to the late start of summer it hasn't done so well this year.
Phormium Evening Glow


Most of the Heuchera are looking a bit tired, especially following last weekend's frost.  One or two are still quite presentable!
Heuchera Beauty Colour
  
Heuchera Crimson Curls
 
Heuchera Black Beauty

Heuchera Binoche

Tiarella Spring Symphony



This post is linked to Pam @ Digging.  If you are looking for a foliage fix - then pop over, all welcome!  Pam kindly hosts the Foliage Follow Up meme every month.

....and finally

The old making way for the new!
 

Friday, 15 November 2013

November 2013 Bloom Day

It wasn't until yesterday that it dawned on my that bloom day was approaching - luckily I had been taking pictures all week, I don't have to trawl through lots of images - I had already sorted out the better ones.  It's difficult to get decent pictures at this time of the year - the lack of light really affects how they look and they never look quite the same using the flash.  

I am running the risk of sounding like a broken record by saying how great our weather has been but there you have it, I've said it again!  I does seem wrong somehow to be expressing how pleased I am with it following recent events in a country that is so dear to my heart.

Come October/November time we have usually had our first flurries of snow and more than our fair share of frosts but not this year.  There has been no snow and only a couple of mornings that temperatures have dropped.  Up until Saturday, last, a minor frost was all we had experience. The frost on Saturday however lasted the whole day and brought many things to their knees.  Sunday was  spent clearing heaps of mush - it was garden bin day yesterday so I wanted to clear out as much as I could.  Very few deciduous shrubs have dropped their leaves yet, I hope they hang around a little longer - it would be nice if they could join in Foliage Follow Up.

For the first time in my garden I have Mahonia flowers - planted in the Autumn of 2011, it's taken a while but finally got there.  The promised scent?????  I can't smell a thing!
Mahonia x media Charity
The frost has barely touched this Astrantia - it has now been flowering since the end of May.  Apart from the 2 weeks it took to recover from being cut right back - I reckon that's not too bad in terms of flowering value.  It's name, rather apt for the time of the year - Astrantia 'Snow Star'.
Astrantia Snow Star
I've tried out Sedum in a shadier part of the garden - I do like the look of Sedum and Heuchera growing together, it has flowered later than the others that grow elsewhere in the garden.  We shall see how it copes with winter in that spot! 


I bought a tray of plug Chrysanthemum late summer 2012 - I know not what possessed me to buy them in this colour!  I must of had a plan but it was so long ago I can't remember what my intentions were.   They add a bit of cheer so for now they have a reprieve.     

A single plug

3 plugs
They had no winter protection last year, I'm not sure if they need it or not but do I need to cut them back at some point? - there is new growth at the base.  The reason I ask is that the larger of the pots is filled with dwarf daffs and left like this I'll never see them! 

The Wedgewood Rose - I'm sure the frost will have done for those buds!  This rose has featured in every bloom day post since June. 



A lingering flower remains on Astilbe Red Sentinel


There are of course some plants that just don't read the gardening books and irrespective of the time of year will want to throw up an odd flower or two.

Cirsium rivulare - 3rd time flowering this year.  This year I've learned a lot about the way some of my perennials grow and flower.  It just goes to show if you can live with the scruffy look or a gap in the border for a week or two then it's worthwhile chopping them back so the garden benefits from a second flush of flowers.  I doubt these flowers will ever open but they look equally nice in bud.
Cirsium rivulare

A drop in temperatures and a bit more moisture in the air revived Primula Francisca. 


I couldn't resist this cheeky little shot - had it not been for the wind the other night, there would have been Gladioli in bloom for this November post.  Sadly that was not to be! 

Now Pansies are usually not my thing - I was out shopping for a specific sized container in which to grow some species Narcissus - I was gifted a rather nice pot but as it has no drainage holes I needed on that would slot in.  The only suitable one I could find was sold complete with Pansies already in flower.  Rather than dispose of them I've decided to give them a go in the front garden.


I've also found a little self seeded one growing up through the Cotoneaster.  The flowers really are tiny, the Cotoneaster berries are bigger!  I haven't the heart to pull it out.  Some slug will be grateful for the feed!


Lastly for this bloom day is a pretty little Saxifraga I bought last week.  I say with all good intentions that last weekend's trip to the GC will likely be the last of the year but please don't quote me.

Saxifraga Blackberry Apple Pie


It's a dark miserable day here in Edinburgh - I hope the weather is a bit better where you are.  The fire is on and I'm off now to read what others have posted on this Bloom Day.  You can join me over at May Dream Gardens if you like.  Have a nice weekend everyone. 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

For the want of a tree

This is a blog to two halves, not strictly about gardening in it's entirety.  Yet there is a connection and one kind of rambles on into the other.

I made a comment recently regarding the lack of a tree in my back garden. 

A tree would make a wonderful addition to my garden - not only would it provide a sense of privacy - a tree, particularly a native one would provide a beneficial environment for wildlife.  My garden (to the back) is surrounded by other properties and often it feels like I garden in a goldfish bowl.  I feel my garden big enough to afford the space for at least one small tree.  I don't hanker or yearn for A specific tree - any tree would do really!

The reason there is no tree......Telephone wires!  My garden is dissected at various points by those blasted things!  Trees and Telephone wires don't mix! I speak from experience, in my old garden, a neighbours tree would continually hamper with the telephone wires.  Those neighbours never bothered and eventually the telephone company took matters into their own hands - what a hefty bill they received!  We were not popular neighbours!
There used to be a tree, Birch I think, over the back.  It also began interfering with the lines and needed to be removed, this was about 4 years ago.




Trunk and wedges
4 years later
This job was not done by professionals and indeed the gentleman responsible for the tree, who has since moved away - left us a little keepsake, just to remind us!  Let me tell you those were a scary few days, I waited with bated breath for a disaster to unfold.  He, his friend and his young teenage son scaled the tree with ropes, numerous hand saws and goodness knows what other tools!  Branches were falling left right and centre, the huge limbs were at times swinging at some odd angles.  How on earth nobody was hurt, goodness only knows.  There was little damage to my garden but Jim next door was not so lucky - a limb fell and crashed right through his greenhouse.  Luckily Jim as at work that day - when he did get home, he was not a happy chappy and WORDS were exchanged (need I say more).  The drama may be long gone and we often have a laugh about the tree felling incident but we have a constant reminder.  These jobs should always be left to the professionals and should not be something the inexperienced tackle.           
 
 
To the front of the house (also no room for a tree) but we don't do without!    I live around 50m from a site that has been designated a Site of Natural Conservation - various spots along the River Almond in the West of Edinburgh have been granted such status.  There is a surrounding area which has permission for development (housing) and for local residents this is a welcome addition as we often feel that we are the 'forgotten' and 'neglected' by the local authority.  We are in much need of improved amenities to our area.  I thought you might like a wee peek at the views from the front windows.

Zoom into the view through the cherry tree and it's seedlings directly opposite the house.  The expanse of land in between is the north end of the development site.  I should add at this point that there is a height limit to any development and they will not be over 1 storey high, another bonus as the views should not be hampered.
      
Zooming out, a little more to the west - still a bit of autumn colour left in those trees.  The solid structure in the background is the River Almond Railway Viaduct.  Which was first opened in 1842 and forms part of the Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line.  This viaduct is in fact the boundary line between City of Edinburgh and West Lothian Councils.  We get much better views of it's structure when the trees are completely bare.  There are public footpaths along the site and in years gone by access to Broxburn and beyond was possible.  Nowadays, access about 1 mile along the path has been blocked which is sad.  Maybe one day someone will have the wisdom to re open them.  
  
 
 
A few close ups of the trees along the banks of the River Almond



 
 
Pan a little to the right and we have views over the fields (yet more telegraph poles).  This land is owned and managed by a local estate - The Newliston Estate.     
 
 
Field belonging to Haugh Farm
 
 
Beyond those trees there is an impressive country house designed by the famour architect Robert Adam in 1789, in fact it was the last country house he designed before his death.  Here's one I took earlier (a few years ago) of the front of the house.  Now privately owned (family trust) it used to be the seat of  Earl of Stair, the Dalrymple Family.      
 
Newliston House
 
You would be forgiven for thinking that to the left of the trees is an extremely odd and unnatural looking flat topped hill.  That man made structure is in fact the remnants of industry from a bygone era.  This is what is known locally as the Broxburn (Greendykes) Shale Bing.  West Lothian is steeped in history connected to Shale and Oil mining.     
  
 
If you want to look at some really impressive pictures and close ups of the Broxburn Bing follow the link.  They are the best images I could find of this sparse and bare but fascinating landscape.  I have vague memories of visits as a child but my mother has vivid unpleasant memories of walking this 'short cut' from her Aunt's house in Broxburn to her grandmother's home in Winchburgh on many occasions.     
 
I hope you have enjoyed a brief view of my surrounding.   I may not have trees in the garden but I don't have far too look or walk to reap the benefits.  I consider myself quiet lucky to live in an area that has a conservation designation and in steeped in Scottish history.