It was so hot a few weeks ago I had the sun block on, but no need for that today, it’s cooler and overcast. Since planting up some aquilegias, peonies, lots of summer flowering bulbs, and an apple tree, it’s rained a fair bit, relieving me of watering can duty (thankfully!)
Although the back garden was bereft of any plants in October 2013 when I arrived, I did manage to dig in a nursery bed to take on all the plants that I collected up from my old garden. The spot I went for was south east facing against the fence – but there was a nasty surprise waiting for me under the original path. Thick slabs had been carefully laid on top of assorted rubble and pot ash, and it was hidden under years of dirt, dandelions and couch grass. To just dig out 8 metres by 1.5 metres took 2 days (with help!) – but the plants seem to love it anyway and bloomed for me during last summer.
So this year I’ve invested in three large bags of Farmyard manure and dug it in, as the clay soil needs feeding and refreshing after being under a concrete path for 60 years! I shall post some photos in future blogs to show how quick everything is growing.
I’ve also top-dressed around the roses – a thick three inches deep by the width of your trowel all the way around the base of a plant will keep the weeds at bay, as long as you keep the soil damp in dry spells. The worms will pull it down and do the fertilizing for you. You’ve got to love your worms – check out the Earthworm society of Great Britain (and no, I didn’t know there was such a thing either!)
Having some idea of the design for the garden dictated where I was going to dig the borders and plant my handsome greengage, dwarf cherry, and apple trees. I found some brilliant ideas on Pinterest and reused some redundant slabs to make the beginnings of a curving garden path. Curves seem to widen a long rectangle garden and I do like a nice meander, so I judged the way family and friends had trampled the grass down, and tried to follow that! Currently the slabs are just laid on top of the grass so can move them if I change my mind suddenly.
I want to encourage as much wildlife as possible into the garden, so I started by keeping my bird feeders stocked up! I inherited a mature privet boundary hedge, filled with a rowdy host of house sparrows, and every day there is an EastEnders moment going on; adulterous behaviour, thieving of nesting materials, and fairly constant fighting among themselves and other birds! There is a definite pecking order; males with larger patches of black on their throat tending to be older and dominant (the regimental sergeant majors), but the plainer females seem a bit more canny, sharing the feeders rather than fighting each other for access. Apparently they can only live in the vicinity of people, making good use of the things we throw away – avian wombles! Most importantly, they sit on my roses and remove the greenfly for a tasty treat for their chicks, of which they can have three broods a year.
Anyway, I’m off to a plant fair at Elwood’s Brewery now, I’m hoping to find some interesting additions for the garden and also a good snoop around the garden there. I’ve been meaning to go for years, with it being so local, but never quite made it – until now!