End of Month View July 2011 – All Change
I have been struggling for some time, in fact at least 6 months if not a year, to really engage with my garden. I have planted things and tidied but I have felt I was gardening for the sake of it and from a distance. As any one who reads this blog regularly will know I have also felt the same about blogging etc and it has been suggested to me that I was gardened out. I had even lost interest in visiting gardens and the RHS Tatton Flower show, which I enjoyed, didn’t reignite my passion. If I am honest I think I have been avoiding or ignoring the garden and putting all my energies for some time probably 18 months or so in blogging, meeting people, going to gardens and shows. I have my theories why this is but I won’t bore you on them.
Anyway, I have had a week off with my eldest son and it has revitalised my interest. One of his objectives this week was to put up a bike store so he could get the bikes out of the garage and make more room for his wood-working (he is a trainee cabinet maker). I think you will agree that the bike store (above) looks quite smart and he has done a good job especially as he did it all on his own. This has always been an awkward area of the patio so its good for find a use for it. I will now tidy up the planter at the end and put some climbers across the fence.
As I mentioned a few posts back I visited Westonperry Mill Water Gardens earlier in the week on a whim and it really helped get my act together and focus my thoughts. I came home full of ideas about our awful pond but as ever when you have wonderful plans in your head when you look at the actual site they are quite difficult if not impossible to achieve. However, my eldest, who I think is quite interested in gardening and design, listened to my ramblings and confused ideas. We looked at the pond which has never worked since it went in about 6 years ago and agreed something drastic had to be done. My pond is a lesson is how not to build a pond. The first lesson is just because you have a large crater from removing a ridiculously large conifer it doesn’t mean this is the ideal place to put a pond especially when your garden then slopes down from the pond. After all when did you last see a pond half way down a hill. To get the water levels we had to build up one side and it is really like having a pond in a bunker. There are a whole host of other problems but I will save those for another post.
We agreed that there was a strong possibility that the pond had a leak and that plants such as my Rodgersia and Ligularia which had been stunning a couple of years ago where looking quite limp and pathetic and so weren’t benefitting from any overspill as they had in the past (they should be evident in the photo above of the border in front of the pond but they aren’t). In my dejected state I muttered about filling the pond in and having a bog garden instead. My son understood my reasoning but was disappointed that we wouldn’t have a wildlife pond as our garden is teeming with frogs. Then it occurred to us that the best place for a pond would be in one of the few flat areas of the garden to the right of the current pond where a collapsing old shed had stood and where I had been trying to create a border for some years. This is the border that features at the top of this year’s End of Month Views (see top photo and third photo). It is slowly improving but I don’t think it is jelling properly. We decided that we could clear this bed and put in a sort of egg shape pond/pool. To overcome the problem we had with the pond liner showing with the other pond we plan to do very shallow sides and cover them with pebbles and cobbles. The planting around it will be low – hostas, primulas etc. The old pond will be emptied, the liner punctured and then filled in to make a bog garden. Result – I am quite excited and have already sown some Primula seeds for the new pond.
The boys and I have also decided that the mini-meadow is not working at all. It is actually harder to cut round this area than to just cut it all due to the slope. The grass variety we have is obviously too strong as we mainly have lush grass just bent over, partly due to the cat hiding in it. So it is going probably when I have finished this post. Instead I am going to try having spring bulbs here. I am currently reading Keith Wiley’s Wild Side and feel inspired to try some dwarf narcissus and other bulbs in this area. Its worth a try and you never know it might look OK.
One of the few bits of the garden that I am increasingly pleased with is the slope. It is beginning to fill out well, although the Salvias are just too big for it and dominate so they are coming out in the Autumn and will be moved to the long border in front of the fence to help break it up while the bamboos establish themselves. The Salvias might not look too big in the photo but I have removed lots of their huge leaves which were smothering other plants.
The new woodland border is looking much as it has since it was planted. I need to add some plants and move plants but I need to wait until we have had some serious rain before I do this. However, I have covered the border in a thick mulch of homemade compost. I know you should wait for the soil to be damp before you do this to help preserve moisture but I had a huge amount of compost to find a home for. Due to my neglect of the garden for a long period of time the two compost bins at the top of the garden have been ignored. They have been overflowing so much that a pile as big again has formed to one side of them. I have managed to not see them for some time but now with new plans a foot and my garden mojo back I am itching to get on with things. As I can’t move plants etc yet I decided that I should have a good tidy up of the garden but before I could do this I needed to sort the compost corner out. So yesterday I emptied one of the bins. It was only the top couple of inches which hadn’t rotted down. The rest (equivalent to a whole bin’s worth) I dug out, sieved (yes sieved!) and put the fine stuff on the new bed and the woody stuff on the top path or as a mulch along the top border. We then filled the bin with the unrotted stuff and the top couple of inches from the other bin. I have started to do the same with the second bin but it got too hot and I have run out of energy but I shall be back to it next weekend as it is already making the garden look so much better.
So there is my garden at the end of July. Please feel free to join in this meme in any way you choose and post a link to your post in the comments box below so others can find your post.