As I mentioned in a previous post, Green(ish) Fingers, my garden runs approximately 300′ in a north-south orientation, with the house at the southern end. It also slopes somewhat, with the ‘bottom’ of the slope nearest the house. The natural rise is probably about a metre or so, with the steepest part of the rise again fairly close to the house. The ground where I live is predominantly clay. Close to the house, you don’t have to go down more than a few inches before you reach thick globs of the stuff. Luckily fairly quickly the upward slope gives an all-important extra couple of inches of topsoil.
I don’t mind clay soils. Given the right treatment (i.e. plenty of organic material) they can be worked okay, and are often very fertile. Looking at other gardens around here, clearly nobody has any major issues with what they can grow!
I thought I’d share a few photos of ‘then and now’ to show the large-scale changes in the garden over the past 16 months or so. This set of photos were all taken within a week of us moving in – end of May/early June 2012.
These are some shots of the similar views taken in September 2013:
We moved in with a few pre-existing ‘features’ which have either been improved, moved or, ahem, removed. There’s a small bed at the edge of the patio, leading up into the garden (currently mostly herbs – including a lemon balm which my mother swears will take over the world and possibly murder us all in our beds like some sort of vindictive triffid). Then a little further up the garden, on the left is a strange bed. The two ends are anchored with a sawn-off fir tree (not done by us, I add) and a lilac. In the middle of these used to be a honeysuckle. It was an old plant and very woody in the bottom. It had been grown up a single post (why would you do this to a climber??) and the top had become a messy nest of old growth that the fresh tendrils wrapped around and around. For the past two summers this (and the honeysuckle growing along the fence elsewhere in the garden) suffered terribly from some kind of blight. So much so that I decided to put the plant out of its suffering and pulled it up, post and all. This part of the garden now makes up my main border and the ‘shady border’. More on that at a later date …
Cater-corner to the lilac is another bed (known as the ‘half-moon bed’ for possible obvious reasons). Then right up at the top of the main section of the garden we have another planter, this time smaller than the one that held the potatoes. Opposite this is a raised bed. Then there’s the shed, and a gated fence across. Behind this is the last third of the garden – currently I haven’t really touched this section other than having the grass cut a few times a year, although there is an apple tree up there. (Kindly ignore the dead plant … it was a sweet rocket that became covered in caterpillars so I moved it to allow them their munchies.)
The main thing we inherited in our garden was a large amount of forget-me-not (Myosotis) that grew everywhere with wild abandon. I’m not saying that its not pretty – it is – but its sheer fecundity in my garden has made it a real pest. Despite pulling it up before it has a chance to set seed, I am still pulling up seedlings today.
In future posts I’ll talk about some of the specific borders and areas and how they’ve changed, and plans for the future!