Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Nearly there with the Garden Spring clean

Sundays seem to be gardening days recently here at Easter Mosshat. This one dawned beautifully sunny: chilly but a great day to be outside with some brief hail showers in the afternoon. The first job of the day was to scatter pelleted chicken manure over all the borders and around trees planted in the lawns. I've used pelleted chicken manure for a few years now, moving on from Growmore. Growmore works as a slow release fertiliser but I have found the pellets to be much better, producing stronger happier plants, and it's organic. As the garden has grown so has the consumption of pellets, two big buckets wasn't enough: I ran out in the veg garden. I'll be stopping off at the DIY store on the way home from work this week to get some more.

Looking into the woodland garden with the north bed on the right.
Spot the Bracken!

The big job today was to start the woodland garden spring clean. Not long to go now until the spring clean is finished then we can get on to more exciting jobs in the gardens. I like the woodland garden at this time of year as its full of spring woodlanders doing their thing. This makes it a bit tricky to tidy round as they are flowering and delicate. To make it even harder plants are so much further forward this year, with the warm winter. After edging the grass paths it was a case of doing the same as in the rest of the garden: lifting leaves, cutting back the perennials; then forking over the beds. Everything is doing well or better than well in some cases and some plants will be needing thinned out at some point this year. A lot of woodland plants are strong growers. Many of them are natives and have to be tough to survive under trees.

Two beds all tidied

The north bed is only four feet wide and is due to be extended if we get time this year, to incorporate a sweeping Piet Oudolf style border (I love his work, designs and use of plants). It will include tall perennials in large numbers, inter-planted with grasses to give interest. Many of the plants will also go on to have interesting seed-heads, giving this border lots of autumn and winter interest, similar in some ways to the prairie bed by the workshop. For now it already has dwarf Narcissus 'Tete a Tete' and Cardamine pentaphylla flowering.

The den bed extended to the right

The den bed, so called because it is next to the kids den was extended last autumn to get rid of a messy, weedy area between it and the den. Now it is backed by shrubs which will eventually hide the den and give a colourful all year round backdrop to the border. Coming forward there are very tall, tough perennials gradually coming down to smaller bulbs, shrubs and perennials at the front, with some special woodland gems sheltered by tougher plants. I have dotted some grasses through this border to add foliage and form interest. To ease the cost of new plants I split and spread out some of the perennials that have been there for some time. This rejuvenates them and fills out the border instantly because they are such large clumps. I did this with two different Astilbes and Astrantia 'Roma'. Cardamine kitabillii (a cream coloured unusual Cardamine) and some Hellebores, including my own seedlings are in full flower.

Viewed from the top

David and Adam cut up a fallen pine tree in the woods that came down in the autumn storm. The branches were added to the giant log pile which is much appreciated by the wildlife. They then fixed the fence blown down in the same storm: a few pieces of angle iron down the sides of some of the posts soon had it standing upright again.

Another day should finish the woodland garden. Just the moon garden, fence border and bog garden to do, but by 4pm we'd had enough. It was lovely to be out under the trees in the sunshine, listening to the curlews flying overhead and all the other wee birds singing their hearts out ready for spring.

Here are some of the woodlanders in flower here at Easter Mosshat at the moment.

Ranunculus 'Brazen Hussy'
Cardamine kitabillii

Helleborus seedling
Pulmonaria 'Beth Chatto'


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  1. Thank you for sharing such a beautifully peaceful post! I know that the amount of work you put in hardly feels serene but boy does it look fantastic! Keep up the amazing work!

  2. Hi, thank you very much for your lovely comment. It is peaceful working in my garden, its my passion although hard work, I get so much out of being there it is good for the soul and satisfying when the work is done.