Garden projects 2, winter into spring.
Blog time : it’s late January 2020 and the third morning in a row that we’ve had a hard frost here in the morning. This morning when the sun hit one of the beds the very first of my crocus came through…….anyway….
One feature that we inherited when we bought the cottage here is that it’s the third in a row of 4, the terrace is at 90 degrees to the road with it’s own drive….and our front garden is the entire border with the public road edge and the shared drive…..go figure as they say !. How that came about was due to some odd skull-duggery and ‘under the table’ negotiations many years before but what it means is that our cottage owns a very large and oddly shaped outside space at the front…..all of which is very open and on display and what the public sees is basically our vegetable garden and a shared driveway.
The garden (road) edge mostly re-planted in November and then mulched with collected leaf mold. In real time i’m just waiting for the new beech hedge trees which will gradually form a new hedge between garden and road edge. Bags and bags of oak and beech leaf mold collected locally and spread on the soil + about a thousand new bulbs planted.
Regular readers who take an interest will remember that i modified the shared driveway to improve access ; it’s a difficult turn-in and out and in 2017 i intended to keep a boat on it’s trailer in our own drive. Don’t worry….the part i modified was the garden edge that we own and i modified it by shaving off about 10 square feet of one corner. We never did get to use it for it’s intended purpose but today the postie really likes it because she can park her van there while she does her post delivery !
Long (road) edge.
The long edge of the garden is one part that iv’e never been able to get right and i’m now up my 4th attempt to do something with it. Iv’e tried, obviously 3 different ideas so that we can have a good looking ‘public’ border and none of those attempts have worked mainly because that 100 feet of garden always got weed invaded quickly each year and that weed, notably the brambles then grow out into the road wall and are really annoying to the neighbours who park alongside the wall.
This year i decided to strip out everything from that long edge aside from 4 established trees (one apple, 2 cherry), aggressively rip out all trace of brambles, nettles and hedge-bindweed , then re-shape the whole area and re-plant. I should also point out that the long edge also runs out into an area next to our greenhouse that i have always tried to keep a bit ‘wild’….a bit like a ‘natural’ forest garden. Well, what i have done this year is to take the ‘wild’ garden idea and extend it to the whole road edge. For reference the entire edge is 100 feet long and about 5 wide at it’s narrowest.
As i write the post i am just waiting on 12 new bare root beech hedging plants which will form a visual barrier at the driveway exit as that’s the point that seems most visually exposed. Once they are in i will have a partial beech hedge on that corner which will develop over time : once those young trees are in i can finish the planting scheme with 250 bluebells and about the same number of Crocus…..having already deep planted a dozen super-giant Alliums and 3 sacks of Daffo-didliums !
Public driveway edge (my side) When we arrived.
When we took over the property this small area was fenced off from the shared drive by a wooden fence that made driving in and reversing out particularly difficult, we think that the previous owner fenced the area to stop another neighbour from parking on it !
The very first job i did was to take the fence down, rip off the weed infested matting ; like tearing the hide off a dinosaur….so heavy that i had to use my Pajero to take it off, laid new mat and covered it all with stone. Over the 6 years that we have now been here i have planted 2 decorative cherry’s and added planters in roughly made scrapwood planter boxes and later modified the road end as mentioned.
This year i just had to strip off the stones at the road end, run them through a seive-wash to get out the soil and weeds and then re-lay that end with new weed mat. It sounds like a pain but it’s the best long term approach for suppressing weed growth.
Last job in that section for this winter was to scrub the containers and re-plant them all with spring bulbs.
When we took over…the view from the driveway edge : we didn’t realise at the the time that the deck (centre left) was covering a rubbish pile of old concrete blocks, debris, rubbish …..and rats !
Now. (but before re-make of social area)
Last spring as the Cherry flowered.