A WHOLE DAY. This almost never happens, thanks to a combination of family responsibilities, weather, a job and various other demands which crop up on a daily or weekly basis. But I have a very rare week off work, promised since last year, and it’s allowed me the luxury of time to write, garden, walk and go to yoga classes whenever I please. So yesterday, I spent all my time outside and I loved it. Following the walk I blogged about in my last post, I wrapped up (it’s still a bit chilly!) and went straight outside, armed with a gardening to-do list.
Focusing on the main garden, I dug, planted, moved shrubs, mulched and snipped myself into a state of bliss. There were two areas I was aiming to clear – the side patio bed and a section of the back border which is where I want the chicken coop (yep, I’m still planning this!) and run to go.
The side bed has been a bit of a conundrum since we moved in. It’s got three thriving shrubs in it already – a bamboo, a camellia and a lovely variegated myrtle bush. At one end I’ve planted some herbs as it’s close to the back door, and easy access from the kitchen when I need some for cooking. But the middle section is quite shallow and tough to dig, with lots of old roots from a huge ivy, most of which has now been cleared to make way for a gas pipe to be fixed along the wall (don’t ask, it’s a long and boring story…). Towards the end of last summer I planted some perennials which I’d bought – geums, lavender and a couple of foxgloves – but this was largely because I couldn’t really think of anything else to do with the bed. They’ve done very little since then of course, so I’ve now lifted them; the lavenders are going into the opposite end of the garden, the corner patio where we have a table and chairs, and where I’m growing a series of climbers to try and hide some of the grey breeze block wall behind. The lavenders should do a good job of brightening up the areas below the clematis, honeysuckle and roses which are already there.
The geums have now gone in below a twisted hazel which is also next to the back door, again a little bit of interest for the lower level of this small, rocky bed.
The plan now for the side patio is to put down a membrane, some decorative stones and to plant up lots of pots and place around the existing shrubs. That way, I won’t have to dig into the tough soil, I can plant a variety of containers and can chop and change the pots whenever I like. So, I’ve managed to clear the space ready for this, and now it looks like this…
I’ve also ordered a rambler from Peter Beales roses, which I’ll grow at the back and along the wall to try and hide some of the grey-ness. It’s a pale pink flower, and should complement the vivid green and red-pink of the camellia, which flowered beautifully last year.
I had to move a couple of things out of the back border too, so that I could mark out the approximate space I’ll need for the coop/run I’m hoping for. I moved a young cherry into the front garden, and removed a hydrangea completely. I love hydrangea – I don’t mind that they’re a bit old-fashioned, I just love their huge showy flowers – but this one was quite old and woody, plus I’d taken cuttings from it in the autumn so it will live on. There’s a rhodedendron which might also need moved out of the way but it’s just about to flower so I’ve left it for now.
This is how the space looks now…
In the foreground you might also be able to make out a small magnolia which was also planted yesterday – another bargain from Lidl!
So I’m quite pleased with the preparations I’ve made in these two key areas of the garden. Looking out and seeing the clear spaces gives me a sense of anticipation – I’m ready for the next stage!
And now for a close-up! A selection of photos caputuring what’s going on in the garden just now…
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