I hadn't planned on giving over half of my Easter weekend, but that's what was needed. Once I'd starting pruning, I found two Hebe bushes (over 8 feet tall), a Cotoneaster, an Eleagnus, a Choisya ternata, several varieties of Cornus with stems 15 to 20 feet long with honeysuckle and ivy tightly binding the various shrubs together. The bare branches underneath were rather beautiful so I just took away the side growth, and dead or crossing wood from the interior, leaving the top canopy to provide some summer shade, and shelter for birds. (Next winter will be soon enough for further work on these shrubs.)
My very good friend Leigh brought regular cups of tea and came as soon as she could to help me trim and bag up the green waste on day two - over 20 large bags went to be recycled! (Plus several carrier bags of plastic bottles, food wrappers, a shoe, a couple of socks, some toys and an old milk bottle - how long had that been there?!)
We were kept company throughout both days by this little chap ...
... who took a great interest in the proceedings, and was duly rewarded with mealworms and other tasty bird treats once the rubbish was cleared.
This was the view down to my little veg patch after final bags of woody branches and cornus stems had been disposed of - although I rather regret that last act of clearance as Lorna at The Green Lady has been writing of making hurdles and wreaths out of willow and cornus stems. I feel I've missed an opportunity to create some lovely natural fences in the veg garden! (If you fancy having a go, be aware that both willow and cornus stems will root very easily so should only be used for weaving the horizontals.)