End of Month View July 2011 – All Change

Changes are a foot in my garden or they will be in a month or two when the weather is more conducive to moving things and digging.

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.

22 Comments on “End of Month View July 2011 – All Change

  1. Not all gardens can be perfect all the time, I agree with you, that sometimes it all gets a bit much. I sometimes long for winter, when I can just look at the garden from indoors, without feeling I have to do anything about it. But by the time spring comes around, I am raring to go again. When I started blogging a couple of months ago I didn’t realise just how much time it would take up, but I am glad I did as it gives me a chance to see how other people cope and what they do about their gardening problems. You are not on your own.

  2. The garden is looking good as ever, and it s great to have plans and know what you want to do to sort out areas you are not happy with. Really pleased you have got your gardening mojo back too.

  3. During all great love affairs there are peaks and troughs but you know that the garden will wait until you are ready to return. Good to read that you are buzzing with enthusiasm again. Oldest son sounds a most useful man to have about the place. My brief but for once not late end of month post is up now.

  4. Change is good and is always in order at my garden. I get to bored otherwise. Your woodland garden is really doing great, I think maybe you need to give it some time for the plants to mature. It looks like they will fill the space nicely. Hard to tell from a photo if you need to add, but it looks good to me.

  5. Hurrah for the return of your mojo, wonderful that your head is again abuzz with new ideas, all of which sound very sensible from this perspective. I look forward to seeing your new pond and bog garden. The cycle store is very well made – and much more attractive than the green metal one that we have just put up at the side of our garden, though it was a necessity for us too and we plan to screen it with a living hornbeam fence, inspired by the one at Malvern this spring. Hope to get my end of the month view written shortly, though time is marching on!
    Sara

  6. Your garden has so much potential and the woodland garden is looking good. I think everyone goes through phases of feeling unhappy with how it looks or (in my case with our last garden)feeling totally overwhelmed by the size of it and the amount of work. Keep with it. Your boys sound a great help. My end of the month review is up on my site at Planticru notes now.

  7. Shallow pond lined with pebbles for the frogs sounds as if it will be delightful when it happens. And bulbs growing ‘wild’ in the grass – oh yes!

  8. Hi Helen, really good to hear you sounding all excited about your garden again. I had several years of disengagement with mine, what with one thing or another, maybe we all need a little time apart, or maybe life just sometimes gets in the way.The pond plans sound exciting, and your slope has really developed well. I agree with Donna about your woodland area, the planting looks really promising, I bet by next Spring it will be looking lush and you will be struggling to find room for the extra plants you want to add to it! My EOMV post is up,/a> – thanks for hosting.

  9. I’m pleased you have your ‘gardening mojo’ back and your plans sound great, well done you and well done eldest son! We have inherited a pond in our new place and it is looking terrible at the moment, something else that I need to find out how to deal with. I do like your woodland area and the idea to plant the bulbs in the grass.

  10. I think all gardeners go through what you experienced. The gardening blues hit all of us at one time or another, especially when things are just not working. I’m loving the sound of the bog garden and the bulbs planted in the grassy patch. Just wonderful. The slope and the new woodland border are both looking terrific and you should be well pleased with both. It’s been a great read. I can relate totally to all the sentiments expressed here today.

  11. Sometimes it is good to have a break…I think especially when you have been working hard at something, it’s great to just disengage for a while. Gardening should be enjoyable! I love the bike store area- nice way to use up the space. My End of Month View post is up too!

  12. I’m excited with you prospect for a bog garden. Here, where it doesn’t rain for eight months of the year, my bog garden is a bit of a splurge. But yours would make perfect sense. Are you thinking of adding some sarracenia to it?

  13. Helen, How nice to have both a cabinet maker and a garden design sounding board at home. I always have the most difficulty with garden areas that have never worked and have to be totally rethought; it’s so hard to just empty your head of all your previous visions and start over. So this idea about relocating the pond sounds like a breakthrough. It sounds as though you are definitely re-engaged. Like others, I’m looking forward to seeing this project progress.

  14. I think we all have periods when gardening and blogging loose their appeal for a while. I thought that come summer I would blog like mad but the opposite has happened.
    I look forward to more news about your pond. Ours has a leak too and like you I am tempted to create a new one in another position though my proposal has met with a deafening silence from the Digger!

  15. Moving the pond and creating a bog garden in the old one sounds like a wonderful plan. I am so glad that you and your eldest son had happy and productive time off together, his bike store is lovely.

    The slope is really coming into its own now – quite lovely. Which salvias do you have in there?

    My post is up, again many thanks for hosting this Helen – it continues to be very useful and enjoy reading everyones posts.
    http://www.artistsgarden.co.uk/2011/08/02/end-of-the-month-july-2011/
    K

  16. Interesting post – funny how one small change (such as the lovely bicycle storage shed) leads to other positive ideas. It’s always challenging working with a living entity – plants, trees, grass, etc. as there are so many variables we really don’t have control over. That is also one of the delights – when something unexpected takes over & really works! You have so many great ideas – and as already mentioned, the woodland garden & slope are coming along very nicely. I have found our garden pond to be a huge amount of work (and sometimes trouble) but totally worth it, as it is such a draw for birds, insects, etc. (no frogs in our case!) Looking forward to seeing how your plans work out. Thanks for hosting.

  17. Pingback: Trouble in Succulent Theatre | The Patient Gardener’s Weblog

  18. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you happen to be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back from now on. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great job, have a nice day!

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