With a brief spell of dryer weather here corresponding with my days off i had a difficult choice between going over to Topsham and fitting the new (secondhand) tillerpilot that i bought off ebay or getting some essential garden work done.
I guess that because where i sit at the computer looks directly out onto the area that really needed attention that is where i decided to put the effort in. We have 2 quite large gardens, the front one being mainly the vegetable garden and the back one is slowly becoming a more private and visually attractive place to be. Although it was the first area i worked on when we bought this place the work i did was more about initially taking down the structures that were here like the nearly wrecked fence, the sauna shed and greenhouse and replacing those with the longer term structures that i then built. After a general tidy up i left the back garden very much as it was except for using it as a container vegetable growing area but i took that apart last year as i have found that the deep beds at the front are much easier to manage.
Some ‘before’ pictures.
The major changes are that i took all the small out-buildings out except for the tiny garden loo which is useful. First structure i actually built was the wood-store which runs nearly the entire width of the garden right at the top and then added a lean-to roof over the toilet building to make a dry covered working area. This was always intended as an outdoor kitchen and i even got as far as building a kitchen-top workspace for it and was going to use the wood-gasifier stove there…what happened instead is that the workbench became our actual kitchen for a while until i built the new re-purposed one.
Right now the covered utility area is where i am storing all the planters that i have already finished. The biggest job during the project aside from heaving the granite rocks around has been making up endless trugs of new soil : what i have here is mainly heavy and wet clay so i have been making up hundreds of pounds of that mixed with sand, grit and compost to plant into.
The back garden is in 2 distinct steps, highest at the far back end where there is a short wall up to the property behind us. The front is formed by a sloping soil surface which then stops at my rebuilt earthbag wall which is the next major job to finish. The upper part is the area that used to have the sauna and greenhouse and was otherwise covered with stones to one side and decking all the way down the other side. I don’t like decking that much here as its difficult to keep clean and non-slimy…gets real spippery when i let it get green !.
This years big change was to take out half the deck from the upper area and turn that into a gravel/stone garden but with lots of new planting. I had a huge pile of granite rock to get rid of so i used that as a rock border around all the new planting, a lot of which is in containers so that i can change the display during the year.
From pile of rocks to rock garden.
This week i got most of the containers planted-up, most of them have multiple layer planting so should give 2 distinct display periods each…it will be interesting to see how that works out.
Opposite is the new heavy trellis fence i put up last year, the woodstack is the current scavenge pile that is drying there but that side will eventually have a cabin….when i get around to it !.
The main effort has been right at the front edge where i have continued the forest garden approach that i started 2 years ago around the whole of the front area that abutts the utility area and deck there. This was looking really scruffy as i had to shovel tons of soil back when the old retaining wall collapsed and never did get around to re-making it as a garden. To be honest its not the easiest part to deal with as it gets shade a lot of the time and has a steep slope.
What it has now is hundreds of woodland bulbs for an early display and then a load of alliums for later on when it does get some sun. The front ‘trough’ is to accommodate a line of planters which will form a changing display of flowers from spring through early summer next year but which can be moved around. The whole area including the original section now has over a thousand bulbs in it although many of them are tiny crocus.
The surface cover is small chipped bark , bought-in, because i couldn’t source a large amount of deciduous wood-chip mulch this year. From my window here it looks quite neat, if a bit regular but will be top-finished with some bags of collected beech and oak leaves : this afternoon’s job will be to go and rake up and collect some bags of leaves.
That’s about it aside from planting up about 30 more containers which will form the mobile flower display out front as well, today i have just about run out of bulbs (again !) and just done another huge order on the internet as i almost can’t stand the christmas naff-ness at the garden centre.
For anyone who is interested in this side of my blog, and to be honest hardly anyone looks at it, the lead picture is one that i took while out walking near Topsham and is a flower that i don’t recognise : obviously a woodland flower and only taken a couple of weeks ago so autumn flowering….and ideas what it is ?