February found us cutting us our hedges. Our garden has a lot of established beech hedging, which is great for wind shelter, shade and dividing up the areas. But we have discovered it also a great deal of work to cut and trim.

Of course, as usual I had not thought about how difficult it is to cut hedges which go down a slope. They become much higher at the bottom of the slope if the top is flat, and worst of all getting a ladder to any of them is really hard, because the ground is never level. For the last two years it has taken Nigel ages to do the job, messing around chocking up ladder legs on bits of wood and brick, then wobbling up with the electric hedge trimmer in one hand and one hand on the ladder. I usually steady the ladder and he slipped off once, hitting me, and I narrowly escaped being hurt.


This ‘near miss’ prompted me to think about how to do this job better. Dave at Days Cottage had told me that Lansford Access in Gloucester sell three legged ladders, and so it was to there that I went. And indeed we now own a 12 feet long three-legged stepladder with all three legs adjustable! It makes the cutting safe and quick, the treads are wide and the overall design makes ‘access all areas’ easy. You can get close to the hedge and the wide tripod base is very stable. We can adjust each leg length so that the slope is accommodated and the ladder treads are always level for working on. Wow, how having the right equipment makes things easier – never did I see it so clearly.

I had visions originally of neat hedges with level tops, right angled steps to accommodate the slope and perfect sides. Now I realise that my ideal hedge is any shape, so long as Nigel can cut it safely – so lumps and bumps, waving tops and bulging sides are all acceptable now.

Hedge two