Sunday, 28 September 2014

A Grand Entrance, or it will be when the plants grow

You can take the girl out her garden, but you can't take gardening out the girl. I know this is not a permanent house for us and we won't always be here, but I just can't help myself. There is a frame work of trees and shrubs, remnants of flower beds long overgrown with weeds and the chequerboard patio but no colour or interest. How do I justify spending time and effort on this garden? We will have some interesting plants and borders to look at for the next two or so years, the owners have said we can do what we want, we are paying a very good rate for rent, it gives me chance to trial some planting schemes and designs I want to do in our own eventual garden, I like to spread the love with plants and pretty gardens and if some of my plants in pots fail, I can dug up a bit of these to take with me (an insurance policy if you like). 

Before I let loose with spade and fork

Since we moved in two months ago I have been working on re potting many plants in my portable plant collection, feeding them and making sure they have the best chance possible. We've put the big greenhouse up and I've re potted the plants to go back in and filled it up. I've prettified the patio as much as possible to hide the slabs, so now it is the turn of the front garden. These are the steps up to the front door, Not an inspiring, grand, or even a tidy entrance, so something had to be done. Although we have cart blanch to do what we want, there are limits in time, effort and cost to what we will do. The slabs and steps have to stay, so plants it is, and since I have plenty of them to divide and share, that's easy. 

During, weeded and top dressed with extra soil

Daniel as always is enthusiastic and keen to help and I am never one to turn away a teenager that wants to help, especially when he is happy to barrow away the rubbish! We dug out all the weeds, then dug over the soil, removing any large stones and as much weed root as we could. Then it was up to the back garden where there is a mound of soil along the back fence, just what we need to bring the soil level up. Great exercise, digging and barrowing and very satisfying when you see it get to the stage as in the photo above.

Placing the plants

The most exciting part for,me, after planning is planting and seeing my ideas come together. This collection of plants creates colour and interest all year round with different leaf and flower forms and is designed to spill down either side of the steps in a lush and softening mass. There are tall upright Iris and Miscanthus, Bamboo and ferns to give form all year, a ground hugging dwarf betula that will spill over the small stone wall. Then there are geraniums, Acanthus and Liatris for summer colour and Rudbeckia, Sedum and Ligularias for late summer. There are purple leaves, green leaves, silver leaves, strappy laves and lush Hosta leaves. Again I have mainly divided up my own plants I brought with me from Easter Mosshat.

Rudbeckia fulgida 'City Garden'


Although some of the plants are begining to die back for winter, there is still plenty to give us an idea of how it will look in a year or so's time once the plants grow and mix into one and other.

Looking back down from the top

On the opposite side of the path I created a new wee border between the drive retaining wall and the Holly tree, both to mirror some of the planting on the house side and soften the other side of the slabs. We cut out the turf, found some nice stones to edge the bed and planted it up. I've weed killed under the Holly tree to keep it tidy and between the slabs to halt any weed regrowth.

Rudbeckia and Sedums for late summer

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

The New bed
This was a satisfying wee project which we achieved in less than a day, an advantage of a smaller garden, everything is on a smaller more manageable scale, which is rather nice. I will look forward to seeing how my design comes together and Daniel and I spent a lovely few hours working together, which is always nice.

From the drive

Planting List

Acanthus hungaricus
Astilbe arendsii  'Erica'
Geranium 'Wargrave Pink'
Hemerocallis 'American Revolution'
Hosta 'Honey Bells'
Iris sibirica
Lamium galeobdolon subsp. montanum 'Florentinum'
Liatris spicata
Ligularia 'Desdimona'
Liriope 'Big Blue'
Rudbeckia fulgida 'City Garden'
Sedum 'Karfunklestein'

Deschampsia 'Bronzeschlier'
Miscanthus 'Dreadlocks'
Spodiopogon sibiricus

Dryopteris coreano 'Montana'
Dryopteris 'Pinderi'

Fargesia murielae

Trees / Shrubs
Betula nana 'Glengarry'

My own plant collection

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