But not the war.
Still upset about having to look at the obnoxious orange outhouse through the gap created by our neighbours in the hedge, I invited them round to see it from our side of the fence in the hope a compromise could be forged.
An agreement between the womenfolk was reached whereby we use a 1ft tall panel of trellis (funded by ourselves) acceptably slotted into the top of the fence through which we would be allowed to grow a clematis.
Less than 10 minutes later this agreed compromise was unequivocally vetoed by the 'man' of the house. Myself and The Man That Can tried in vain to reach some semblance of compromise, but he was having none of it. He forbade us to attach anything to his fence. When it was clear that there was nothing further to be discussed, and the neighbour's attitude began spiralling into downright rudeness, I dismissed them.
There is nothing in law to prevent us attaching the trellis panels to the end of our shed on which to train the clematis. The effect is virtually identical, however we did need to raise it a foot or so higher than it had been on the fence to create the straight line my OCD craved, and we swapped the panels with a lighter trellis that had been fixed to the opposite side of the garden having pruned back the c. Armandii.
One of the points raised during the Battle of the Gap was the fact that I didn't want to upset them by planting a tree to hide the Gap (since he was so thrilled we had removed a tree from practically the same spot when we moved in almost 4 years ago). On this suggestion, the 'man' actually seemed to like the idea. Indeed, he said he rather likes trees. This was music to my ears! We had longed for the privacy trees would afford us on this side of the garden and create some much sought after shade. When I designed the new patio, I had lowered the main seating area on the terrace in an attempt to gain some privacy, but it wasn't quite enough.
After much research and bouncing around the idea of specimen trees versus pleached beech trees, we have decided on a magnolia and a lilac. Whilst I do like the effect of a pleached beech hedge, hedges can become a source of contention between neighbours, and I reckon we've had enough of that already.
We manged to find a suitable magnolia named George Henry Kern. It's a hybrid of a stellata form and liliflora. From deep pink buds emerge pink fragrant blooms April to June which will fit the bill very nicely.
We also decided on a photinia fraseri Red Robin which I plan on training as a standard. I've successfully created standards before from fuchsias so I'm not phased by the challenge. It will take a couple of seasons to create and will be perfect for the long border to assist in creating privacy with the bonus of being evergreen. I have already cut out the unwanted foliage and attached the chosen leading stem to a cane. Once established, it will grow quite quickly, as does the similar variety in the front garden. The more you trim it, the bushier it becomes and rewards with bright red new leaves!