Sian Napier

05 Jul 2022 13:19

Diary of an Expectant Greenhouse Gardener: Part 3

Text & photo: Sian Napier


The ground has been cleared and the brambles are all gone. At this point the chickens are homeless and are having a great time wreaking havoc in my borders and terrorizing the dogs, even our two cats are scared of them.

Before we start on anything else we need to replace the dilapidated fence running along the right-hand side of our garden. The fence is approximately 80 ft long and made up of separate 6ft panels. We are going to use featheredge to match the rest of the garden fencing, also they will be more resistant against any winds blowing off the Somerset Levels. I ordered the required amount of timber from a local supplier and nearly had a heart attack at the cost, the price of timber has nearly doubled in the past few years.

Despite me giving the lumber merchants the required fence measurement, when the timber arrives it doesn’t look like enough, I really hope that I don’t need to order any more.

My husband Chris is roped in for fence building, which he isn’t too happy about. Its not that he can’t do it, he can, in fact he’s good at fence building.  He should be after rebuilding the fence at the bottom of the garden twice, which to be honest is enough for anyone. I think he would rather be on the golf course.

We set up a very efficient system. The old panels come out and are immediately broken up and burnt by the boys in a bin incinerator. Meanwhile Chris and I fix rails to the original posts, onto which we attach feather edge boards. I pass the boards and screws and Chris oversees the screwdriver.

This work continued over two weekends, by which time, Chris and were rather bored of fencing and as predicted, with one fence panel to go, we ran out of timber.

Meanwhile, Ed, my son and I had been rebuilding the chicken run.  Each day after work we’ve been sinking posts and adding panels of trellis a length at a time. By the end of a week the chickens had a fine new home and the dogs felt safe again. The chickens, having lost their freedom promptly repaid us by refusing to lay.

Obviously, we still had to finish the fence.  The following Monday I would ring the lumber merchants for more feather edge as soon as I got home from work.  But to my surprise there was no need, as I arrived home I was greeted by  a large pile of timber with a note apologizing that the first order was incomplete and here was the rest, so we could finish our project. Many thanks!

The fence was completed the following weekend, with a massive surplus of timber. “What are we going to do with all that wood? “, said Chris.

With a bit of thought I replied,” I know, we’ll build a shed”.  Chris groaned…

But that’s what we did.

As you can see by the absence of leaves on the tree, this project took a little while, and there was still enough wood left to make two compost bins as well.


Read Sian's next diary entry here or find Sian's complete diary here

Om Sian Napier

Sian Napier is a freelance garden designer and gardener with over 15 years professional horticultural experience to build beautiful garden spaces for her clients using plants to create movement, texture and all year season colour and interest.

Follow her journey of living with a Gabriel Ash Greenhouse and learn about different aspects of growing through the seasons.

Get to know Sian Napier