Hard pruning santolinas

IMG_9107Meet the smiling face of a murderer.

I don’t often take selfies. I know that because half a dozen of these shots involved me looking at the wrong part of the iphone.

But here I am. A murderer in your midst. With a crooked mouth, an earpiece (I’m listening to BBC radio podcasts) and I haven’t brushed my hair. Well, I never brush my hair so that’s not a surprise.


I wanted to take an action shot of me in the barn garden so you can see what vile deeds I committed. But these ones didn’t work out. I’m sitting in a most unladylike manner and squinting.

But this steep slope was the scene of the crime.

I did it. I decided to cut back all the dying santolinas. Half dead plants everywhere.


I know I hesitated for years and years. That’s the dread of sentimentality. Andrew gave me three of these plants; and the rest I actually managed to propagate and grow on. So I was inordinately proud of my work.  And I could admire them for six months every year.


And then scratch my head and wonder why they always look so ghastly the rest of the year.

But after seven or so years it’s time to see what a serious pruning will do.

If they die, so be it. But if they revive then that will be marvellous too.


I started out with gloves and grim determination. But at some stage (I blame the need to take action shots for the blog) I removed them and kept cutting and cutting away as it became such a compelling task.

The results are lacerated hands. It’s not a pretty sight. And I wince when I wash them and dry them and any knock will cause grief. But a bit of penance for my dastardly deed is not a bad thing.  One shouldn’t take radical pruning lightly.

I couldn’t believe my audacity in cutting back such a feature in the garden. And then for an encore I hoiked out ailing lavenders as well.


You can see what an eyesore this unfinished garden wall is now. I can well remember that moment when Nicolas, one year into his ceaseless wall building ten years ago, asked whether I needed a proper wall or would I be happy with a free-form one for this bed.

And I stupidly went for the latter.

Now that it is raw and exposed I think I will be begging his return to try and make something of this huge pile o rocks.  There were too many plants in the way for the last decade. Hah!


Actually the only thing alive and thriving in this incredible drought are the rosemary plants. Heaps of them. And quite lofty too. I need to do a lot of thinking and planning to sort this mess out.


But actually I have a bit more killing to do.

IMG_9176I just needed to have a quiet day watering the rest of the living bits of the garden as a salve. And repair my gloves.

Next time I won’t go anywhere near these sharp wince inducing plants without protection.