With the arrival of some much needed rain over the last few weeks my son and I have finally started on some of the projects I had planned for the garden. I must admit I am lucky to have a very practical son to help me out with my plans.
Last weekend he cleared the top corner of the garden and took away 6 years of twigs, branches and other woody detritus. Being a scout leader he did have a bit of an ulterior motive as he wanted it for the scout firework night bonfire. Now before the wildlife fans get upset I still have a couple of rotting logs tucked away for invertebrates and we gave everything a good shake to give insects a chance to escape to a new woody pile we have created elsewhere. You can see that I have a horrid concrete based fence which I can’t remove as its shared with the neighbour behind who likes it! The tree roots also make it hard to dig the soil here so my son has used some scaffolding board we had left over and created a bit of a raised bed. We have filled this with the decomposing turf stack I created when I lifted some of the lawn for the woodland border. I am really thrilled with this new bed especially as I wasn’t expecting him to complete it in one day. I am planning on planting a couple of shrubs here and maybe a tall grass. I particularly fancy Hydrangea serrata ‘Shichidanka’ as I think the pretty small pink flowers will light up this corner.
Having felt very tired yesterday and fiddled around with pots I decided today that I needed to start tackling the pond/bog garden project. The sun was shining and temperatures were around 17C which is bizarre for November. As I have mentioned before I have struggled with the pond for a couple of years, it just doesn’t work and whilst I like seeing ponds elsewhere I don’t think I am keen enough on pond plants to struggle with one. This year it has been particularly awful with low levels of water due to the dry season and my moisture loving plants in the border around the pond really struggled. Therefore I decided to utilise the failing pond to create a bog garden to give the rheum and ligularia a better chance.
Today I started on the far side of the pond. Lifting the plants which are now residing in the new border above until their new home is sorted. I have cut back the liner to help with drainage and I have shovelled the soil from the back border into the middle of the pond. I haven’t had much of an idea of what the end product will look like until today. I had one of those eureka moment when I decided that instead of running a path through the middle of the bed it will now go round the back in front of the dry stone wall. There is a firm base here and all I will have to do is to add some chipped bark whereas the first plan would mean a lot of work to create a stable base.
I’m also pleased with this decision as it means that the wall will be on view instead of hidden behind the tall ferns etc. The slope at this point has been problematic as it has been difficult to access, I knew it was a bad idea when we did it, so I have tended to ignore it to some extent. Over the last year I have been working on giving this bit of the slope a spring feel by planting lots of snowdrop bulbs, primulas and white perennial honesty. Now that I can get to the bed better I will be able to see the bulbs up close and then in late spring I will re-jig it and plant some geraniums I have to add some summer colour.
Next week or when my achy body and the weather permits I need to clear the other side and cut back the liner there too. There is a huge rheum in here which I need to wrestle out of the ground and I suspect this will be all I actually manage in one go. The rheum is now going in the middle of the bed, the soggiest bit. I then have to sort out the levels which are currently all wrong and fill up the rest of the pond. Then its a case of moving the ligularia, darmera and other plants I have rescued in to their new home. Next year hopefully my trays of candelabra primulas will have bulked up enough to be planted out and I am also going to add some irises – sibricia and robusta.
Oh and I planted some raspberries and a blackberry at the allotment.
So that was my weekend – how was yours?!