Friday, 4 April 2014

At last the Garden is Tidy

Shame it doesn't last! But because I've weeded so thoroughly I won't have to tidy the beds for a while, apart from a quick hoe every so often to get the odd rogue weed out. It was a very foggy murky morning that greeted us, but it wasn't so cold once we were out and working. I spent the day tidying the last of the woodland borders, the moon garden bed and the bog garden. As always it looks so much better once done. The last woodland bed is against a fence and again has a mixture of woodland lovers and shrubs. I have planted a Davidia involucrata here, never expecting it to do much in its exposed and windy spot, but it valiantly grows. I doubt I'll ever see it have its handkerchief flowers, though the leaves are lovely and it provides a nice canopy for small woodlanders. Other plants of note here are a Cautleya and Pulmonaria 'Beth Chatto' which has vivid blue flowers at this time of year.

The three woodland borders tidied

I didn't fork this bed over because it unexpectedly got a top dressing of really nice soil David had found. This was coincidental as I had just been thinking the border could do with a layer of soil to top it up. David had started to clear a mound of soil and slates from the side of the byre, where I planned to put in a border, between the gable end and waterwheel pit. But whenever David puts a spade in the soil he seems to find a buried brick path or brick courtyard! Lo and behold where I planned a border to go there was an area of brick buried six inches below the soil. For some reason this soil was very good (considering some of the awful soil there is on the property). Barrow after barrow was put on all three beds, top dressing the plants and levelling out some hollows. They look even better now but I have to rethink the area next to the byre.

Bracken shows us what has been done today

The Moon garden is so called because it is a narrow, elliptic border surrounding a round lawn. It has silver plants, white daffodils and trees every six feet that will eventually enclose the lawn and make it a natural telescope to the sky. On the east side there is a stone bench built out of stone and a slate slab found here in the grounds. In the centre, under a big upright stone is buried our Sam, our faithful black lab who sadly died two years ago, leaving us all heartbroken. Around the base of the stone are planted blue Hostas and white Geraniums.

The Moon Garden
That looks better

The last area to get tidied was the bog garden, created around a wet ditch down in the woods. Lots of Primulas, Caltha, ferns and Hostas love it here. It floods when wet but can dry out too. A bridge built of sleepers passes over the ditch, taking you to the bottom of the woods.

The bog garden

A day in the garden isn't complete without Bracken keeping us company

I finished planting the new plants in the den border, splitting up more Astilbes and putting in some Miscanthus and Molinia. I had three lots of plants left over, so they went in the back of the northerly border which I plan to expand this year.

David also removed the planks of wood over the waterwheel hole, as they are rotting away and pose more of a danger than the open hole. This is a fascinating area of the property which I excavated about ten years ago. The hole was full of soil, rubbish from the old house and ash. We found a couple of toads hiding in the stonework at the bottom of the pit. It would be wonderful to make a feature of it: so far ferneries and  ponds have been mentioned. We shall see.

Unexpected bricks

The waterwheel hole

Ridiculous dog strikes again

More garden archaeology

The bricked up wall in the waterwheel pit

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