I have often referred to the jungle that surrounded the house when we purchased the place.
The main paddocks had been mowed once or twice a year by an industrial tractor but still suffered from a lack of attention. The steeper areas where the vineyards used to be had been left to disintegrate into scrub and weed. Blackberry had a very good command of these areas, throwing out long strong canes to root down and ensure that they thrived. The old grapevines had a similar approach to neglect and survival. Their neglected canes from one year would root down just like the blackberry and make a new sad little grapevine the next year.
We have spent the last 8 years giving the land our full attention. We've been clearing, cleaning and shaping it into a beautiful landscape.
We like trees so we've tried to keep any attractive tree. We have removed any tree that was dead, dying or leaning. We have removed a lot of strange viney growths that seem to sucker along the ground and grow into very ugly weak tree bushes. We have cut lower branches off trees to facilitate easier maintenance of the property. We have removed blackberry and grapevines.
At the beginning, we focused on the 3 main paddocks. After initial clearing and cleaning, we focused on pruning and shaping the trees in the existing apple and plum orchards and and in the hazelnut grove.
Last year, we exposed paddock 4 which we had never seen before! This paddock is now an accessible shady oasis in the valley. We also worked on paddock 5, clearing and cleaning bamboo and large leaning trees that might become a problem for the house in the future.
This year, we have been focusing on the top of the old vineyard. We have removed a lot of sucker trees and the blackberry in its entirety, revealing a path that travels along the top of the vineyard. This spot will be the perfect place to put a seat, as it looks down over most of our property and the stream which can be seen glistening at the bottom as it winds its way past the paddocks...