No cost Improvements to the drive entrance

It's great to get back to a proper gardening blog post, its been a while. The weather wasn't great yesterday and is forecast to be poor for the rest of the week, but I really feel the need to be outdoors gardening. It's what I do and I miss it when confined to barracks through bad weather and other commitments.

All ready for some work at the
entrance of the property

The two raised areas on either side of the drive do nothing to enhance the property or make you feel you are arriving somewhere. Because these areas are under mature Beech and Birch trees the soil is dry and thin and the whole area shady. Time to utilise some spare plants I have that will grow in those conditions. Of course the cheaper the better as this is just a temporary home for the Quirky bird Gardener. We don't want to spend too much, but we want it to look good while we are here.

Geranium macrorrhizum

I have a large amount of Geranium macrorrhizum which I propagated for a project at Easter Mosshat that we ended up not doing due to moving. I have kept three plants aside for the moveable plant collection and the rest I have planted at the front entrance of the property. the Geranium macrorrhizum should cope with the conditions here very well. It's a tough ground cover plant that grows to about 12" and is semi-evergreen. For most of the summer it covers itself in pretty pink flowers. The leaves can also go brilliant red in the autumn, so for a difficult place where not much will grow its a good choice.

The raised area on the west side of the drive

After weeding the two areas I planted the Geranium macrorrhizum, some Bluebells, a Hedera colchica 'Dentata Variegata' cutting I had and some Dryopteris felix mas. This is a simple planting for these tricky areas but will give interest and colour all year round, along with the Lonicera already planted over the stumps. In spring the Bluebells will flower amongst the new foliage of the Geraniums and ferns, they will give way to the pink flowers of the Geranium all summer and the Lonicera flowers. Then in autumn the Geranium leaves will take on red and orange hues.

Weeded and planted, I'm looking forward to seeing how this looks in Spring

The east side of the drive was much stonier, but will benefit from a carpet
of plants to brighten our arrival

Another area in the front garden that needs attention is the dead Leylandii hedge that runs front to back up the west side of the property. I suspect, as happened to many of these hedges that it died in the two severe winters of 2009 / 2010. There are one or two plants still alive, but they are thin and straggly and it will never make a hedge again.

The dead hedge

As you can see from the photos there is a lot of it, it is ugly and you see it from the road, the drive and the house. Again because we don't want to spend too much money but want a nice outlook I have come up with a plan. 

Trimming up the dead hedge

We still need a barrier, so taking the trees out would be a lot of work and then we would have to replace it with something else. So my idea is this: to cut off all the smaller dead branches and snags and leave the main trunks in the ground. We will then plant a vigorous climber up each trunk, so in time there will be a thick curtain of mixed climbers providing a back drop, something pleasant to look at all year and hiding the dead hedge.

The trimmed up dead trunks

I have a lot of cuttings of climbers I took when we left Easter Mosshat, I will keep some back for using in the eventual Quirky Bird new home and use the surplus here. A mixture of Honeysuckles, vigorous Clematis, rambling roses and Parthenocissus will provide colour and interest for a good bit of the year and a home for birds and wild life.

Plant List for Drive Entrance

Hedera colchica 'Dentata Variegata'

Geranium macrorrhizum


Dryopteris felix mas


My own plant collection

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