Tuesday, 1 September 2015

It's been longer than I thought!

I could have sworn that I had shared photos of the garden progress but it appears that I haven't at all!  If you would like to see some really old "before" photos, then this is the post to check out ;-)  As you can see, we have had a major sort-out of what could easily have passed for Steptoe's Yard.  There is still some way to go with the sorting but most of what is left in the garden now is what we want to keep.

I can't believe that I didn't take photos to show you when we had the raised border built.  It has made such a difference to the garden and with it being that little bit higher now, it is so much easier for me to maintain.  I'm hoping to finally get all the log-roll stained before this coming winter.  I know it's already pressure-treated but I just like the darker shade against my plants :-)

We haven't had any grass in the garden for a long time now ~ plenty of mud though! ~ and in the end decided to put down green slate chippings instead of having new turf laid.  I guess not everyone would want slate instead of grass but we like it ~ plus there is the ease of maintenance issue again :-) 

I worked in the garden for most of the day on Sunday, weeding and moving some of the plants to new locations.  I had originally built a pretty nice "rustic" trellis across the back of this border but the flippin wood pigeons wrecked it!  They kept landing on it and it couldn't take the strain of their weight, so in the end I decided to just take it down.  I had wanted to screen off the piece of garden beyond the border as it's a utility area, and even when the fencing has been replaced and the space rearranged, it isn't going to be particularly attractive to look at.  So instead of trellis, I've put in some shrubs which hopefully will screen the less-than-pretty view, especially since the kitchen window looks straight down the garden to it.  The border is pretty much done now, although I may put in some ground cover planting.  I will also put in the spring bulbs from the containers in the front garden, after they have finished flowering next year.

This section of the border still had various plant pots stacked on it, more or less where the crocosmia is now planted, so the first task was to move them elsewhere so that I could tidy it up.  That's one of the problems with having a small garden ~ it seems that we are constantly moving things from one place to another!  Mind you, at least most of said pots are now empty as I have finally put the plants in the ground.  Crocosmia, hardy geraniums and a pretty pink flowered plant, which I think is a type of oxalis, seem to have become a recurring feature of the borders!  I've no idea what the varieties are as I've had the plants for years now, moving them from one spot to another when I've lifted them to divide large clumps.  I will gradually fill in the gaps with a few more plants, along with spring bulbs from the containers in due course.   

I am so pleased with the climbing rose, it is now flowering for a second time.  My poor honeysuckle doesn't look happy at all, though.  I think it might get too hot here for it to thrive, so I will dig it out, cut it back and give it a second chance somewhere more shaded.  I know the poor thing doesn't look worth saving but I do like to give my plants another chance ~ especially if I've moved them to a spot they obviously dislike!  There are a few more plants behind the little nature pool that will be getting moved, too.  I am also going to add one more slab to the path through the bed, to make it easier to weed the backs of the other raised beds.  The container with the bay tree has already been moved closer to the house, where it will be more protected during the winter ~ hopefully!

It's perhaps not that easy to tell, but there are in fact another four, small, raised beds in the photo above.  They all need to have the soil topped up ~ it's amazing how much it has dropped!  The "rockery stones" have been in the garden since before we bought the house (over 30 years ago), and they too have been moved around many times.  Rather than trying to get rid of them (we don't have a car, so would have to ask someone to do it for us), we decided to build a "dry-stone wall" around the two lower beds.  Even though the stones are not real (they are made of a gravel and concrete mix I think), they do have a nicely weathered finish and I think that actually they look quite good.  These two beds will have alpines planted in them eventually, after the odds 'n' sods currently resident have been moved to pastures new.

The standard lavender has just had all it's dead flower heads removed ~ it's flowered it's little socks off this year!  My Mum bought a couple of them from a garden centre last year and gave one to me; they were on sale as they were looking decidedly scraggy and unkempt.  I gave mine a good tidy-up and released it from the prison of it's pot.  It certainly rewarded my efforts this year ~ lovely for us and even more importantly, lovely for the bees and hoverflies :-)

I made a start on rearranging the area beside the house and the patio door steps today.  I've not felt too brilliant as I seem to have a cold (thanks for sharing with your poor 'ole Mum, Sam!), so I just pottered about really, weeding and emptying out containers.  I couldn't face the seemingly-monumental task of sorting out the brick-built bed, it felt much too daunting today, but I really can't leave it too much longer!

So whilst there is still much work to be done in my little garden, all-in-all I'm really pleased with the progress so far ~ more updates will follow as work proceeds :-)

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