It’s looking like a Garden!

now and then collage

Left, starting work in February. Right, the plot at the beginning of May.

I’ve been working so hard, and now I’m seeing progress!  In the two weeks since my precious post there’s been much improvement.  I marked off the beds and paths of the lower half of the plot that had been rotivated and stomped the paths flat.  I’ve added bags of manure and trugs full of potash from the bonfire heap and dug them all in.

Until this weekend when we finally had rain, it was like digging gravel, with the occasional brick or granite sett!  That lower half of the plot is almost 100% clay.  I hardly saw any worms while I dug, I really hope that some will have been imported with the farmyard manure and pony poo and will start doing their work soon.  Now most of it is ready for my dahlias which have been growing well in their pots and are hardened off nicely.

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Standing in the lower half, looking through the sweet pea arch.

The rose arch – or I should call it the sweet pea arch – is in, cable tied together and well wedged into the soil clay.  I have planted 10 Wiltshire Ripple and 10 Almost Black sweet peas on either side of the arch.  Once they’re growing and flowering, it’s going to look and smell amazing!  I’m going to have to make a cane wigwam for the remaining 10 sweet peas though – I thought I would be able to get them all along the arch, but there isn’t enough room.  So I have 10 Charlie’s Angel plants to set out under a wigwam.

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Those new beds look so tempting to throw seeds and plants at, but there’s next to no good stuff in there. Time to load on the pony poo, potash and manure.

I bought a Viburnum Opulus from a local garden centre for the plot and will be planting it with a cornus and an Amelanchier Lamarkii for greenery and flowers.  I’ve decided to group the shrubs together in the border down the side where the path leads to the bonfire heap.  Hellebores will be planted around the shrubs for interest in the spring.  I’ve decided to keep the shrubs together in this bed because of the condition of the soil.  I don’t think it’s good enough, and certainly not fine enough, for sowing seeds in.

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Viburnum Opulus

It’s been hard work getting to this point but I am really chuffed when I look back on some of the earlier photos and compare them with how the plot looks now.  There are still loads of jobs to do, but it looks like a garden now!

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The lovely bonfire heap at the bottom of the plot, but the lovlier grassy patch down there will be my fruit patch – one day!

I have tried to have a long term plan for the garden, first I was just going to concentrate on the top half and just keep the weeds at bay on the lower half this year.  Now I’ve got both dug, marked out and am busy getting ready to plant it all up.  The other thing that I wasn’t going to do this year, or possibly even next year, was tackle the grassy area between the part I’ve dug and the fence on the top of the river bank.

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The gorgeous purple leaves of the hazel with my fabulous orange tulips

My plan (long term!) was to have fruit in that area.  Raspberries, goosberries, apples on a cordon and a couple of hazel trees.  Well…  last weekend while browsing garden centres nearby, I spotted a gorgeous purple hazel Corylus Maxima Purpurea.  It was hip height, had good stems and growth and the price tag said £6.99!!  Sooooo  I bought it!  It’ll have to stay in the pot for this year, and I might move it to a bigger one next year.  I have a tree!  I’m looking forward to all it can provide, colour, nuts (if the squirrels don’t get there first) and staking material!

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It’s ready for the first guests!

I bought a small bug hotel from Aldi which I’ve popped on one of the posts for the vine for now.  Eventually I hope to have it on the side of the shed, along with a little bird house!  So my tasks for this week are to finish digging in the compost I laid on on Friday, to make the sweet pea cane and plant the sweet peas and get the dahlias in and staked.  In the meantime, the seedlings have been pricked out and are growing on well in the zip up greenhouse.

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