Last year I trimmed the conifers that stand either side of the path from the patio to the rest of the garden. This year they had grown out to obstruct the path again, so one had to go. The birds had stopped nesting so in I went.
Having cut off the first branch I was alerted by a loud buzzing, so I immediately, and smoothly, stepped a long way back. Yes - the shrub contained a wasps nest.
This was a sturdy nest of common wasps - Vespula vulgaris - and they were in no mood to negotiate. When a wasps nest is exposed like this it is very vulnerable to predation, so it had to go. A trip down to the shops and a quick spray with an insecticide solution sorted the hazard, and a few hours later I was able to resume the job in hand.
This left a lot of conifer branches to sort out. Gloves are essential for this type of work as the needles contain toxins that irritate the skin. There were also significant numbers of snails, slugs, moths and spiders, all needing a new home.
Two nests came out of the tree. On the left is a robin's nest from this year. I noticed that they were building a nest and seemed to abandon it before laying. Now I know why! On the right is an incomplete wren's nest from last year. The wrens started building, then moved to the eaves of the shed, probably due to excess cat traffic around the shrub.
We now have an improved view of the top lawn and steps. The change should benefit the heathers and it is certainly easier to walk onto the top garden now. There is just the matter of the stump to cut out of the heavy clay soil.
The foliage is bagged and ready to shift to the local refuse amenity site - when I have had a few more cuppa's.......