What we have are a lot of very large trees that make the house and garden dark and prevent other plants from growing, but with views and hints of how beautiful it could all look once we get to work on it.
So, we went for it with the trees, all the leylandii except 1 were cut down; that's 8 trees (1 felled by the other Mrs Fox & I); plus an 11ft hedge of 7 more leylandii cut down by Neil with his trusty chainsaw; plus the 3 or 4 trees cut down by the electricity board (at our behest) to make safe the power-line that runs across the garden.
Most of the trees had to be climbed to be felled, there was not enough space to allow any of them to go down without them falling on a house, out-building, chicken run, caravan or other trees. The tree surgeons didn't think any of the trees had been touched for a minimum of 20 years. We still have tonnes of dead wood that needs to be cut out of the remaining trees to make them healthier and safer.
After all the cutting down we've had huge bonfires to get rid of all of the wood and leaves, that are of little use in wood burners due to all of the oils in their timber. We are still working our way through this wood, huge long piles of tree limbs have been; trampolines, pirate ships, castles and forests for the children to play in and on for the last 3 months. They will be sad to see it finally all gone, and we have re-learnt that primeval enjoyment of just gazing at a big bonfire, poking it and stoking it and listening to it crackle and flame.
Despite all our felling we still have plenty of mature trees in the garden, including a large beech and sycamore tree that are over 100 years each, 4 more young sycamore, 5 silver birch, a willow, field maple, a cherry tree and several damson and greengage trees, 3 more substantial evergreens still standing, numerous hawthorn and elder, and I'm not even mentioning the various large shrubs.
Along with clearing the trees here has also been a vast amount of rubbish; old swings, barbed wire, garden machinery, chairs, wood, oil drums, cabling, concrete, glass, rubble, an old MG engine buried in the compost. The compost heap itself was about the size of a small urban garden and needed to be moved as it was rotting the neighbours fence it had been leaning against.
All this space in the garden allows us to say "Goodbye" to our allotment (sad day though it was) and incorporate the veg patch into our garden. Here's the final destination of that compost heap; but it's back breaking work.
And it is the veggie garden that has absorbed most of my attention this week. At one side of the garden is a hexagonal greenhouse that I have been renovating the last few days, clearing of ivy, cleaning, re-hanging shelves and re-making benches. Sadly neglected like the rest of the house and garden, it is being returned to it's intended use and now is home to two trays of tomato seeds.