I know it’s not long since my last post, but I need to share. More specifically, I need ideas.
I’m in pain. Everything hurts – knees, legs, back, shoulders, arms. I can’t speak for P, but judging by the stoical wincing I caught him doing when he thought I wasn’t looking, he’ll be feeling much the same. You see, we went a bit mad. And now I’m having a bit of a horticultural panic (I’m sure there’s one of those wonderfully expressive long words for it in German, something like ‘blumenstress’, perhaps, or ‘gartenarbeitpanik’).
A while ago we removed – OK, ahem, P removed – a huge and knackered hydrangea from a bed in the bottom garden:
This bed had been somewhat neglected (no, really?), the Giant Hydrangea of Boringness conveniently obscuring all sorts of neglect. It had, for instance, been where turf was heaped up when removed from the lawns to create other beds, and it was a great place to stockpile rubble – you couldn’t see any of this because of the sheer bulk of the hydrangea. Getting it sorted was obviously going to be a major task, and yesterday we got stuck in.
I thought I knew what I was going to do with it: move an Osmathus delaveyii which is unhappy in the top garden, cover the ground with Geranium magnificum,
which is comparatively well behaved and of which I’ve got enough to make transplanting some realistic, and have lots of white spikes pushing through this – white foxgloves, veronicastrum, verbascum, etc – until the osmanthus grows up.
It’s a theory. Unfortunately it is now a blown theory, because the naked bed is absolutely flipping enormous:
The sheer size doesn’t really show here, not without P standing in it for scale and he flatly refused. After a wild guess was poo-pooed by Shedman at the Artist’s Garden, I measured it properly. It’s 6.5m across, and 4m deep at the (currently) widest part. My guess wasn’t that wild. O. M. G.
It’s also got an interesting slope, even after all the holes and lumps and bumps were filled up using the rotted-down turf mountains:
Plus, now we’ve stripped off a vast quantity of perennial weeds, some of it is bone dry. Though not for much longer; it’s raining nicely and we stopped mulching when we hit the really dry stuff. Also we’d used one whole rubble sack of bark chips…
So now what? Well, nothing until September, apart from mulching and weed control. But what then? There are several things to be borne in mind…
1. The back wall is not mine and I mustn’t grow anything up it as it’s just been repointed.
2. Though the bed itself is sheltered from the prevailing wind, the cold east wind is a nasty bastard, whips down from Moelfre behind the village and slaps straight into it.
3. The pear tree, though old, is beautiful and quite large and still productive if I speak to it nicely. There’s no room for another tree behind it, really,
(pear plus ferns and neglected bed)
and nor do I want to add one and risk the effect of root growth on my neighbours.
4. I’ve got a Sambucus niger that is not doing brilliantly where it is and could be moved here too; and I still want to shift the osmanthus.
5. I want to keep the perennial poppies, which are fab:
and the ground by the urn is covered in crocuses in spring (they can take their chance).
6. My garden doesn’t accommodate exotics easily. Um, perhaps I can qualify that – whatever I plant has to be in sympathy with the garden as a whole, obviously, even though long views will be blocked by the pear when in leaf. For instance, last year I grew a wonderful Angelica gigas in my ‘new’ bed which was spectacular but which didn’t really work with everything else.
7. My soil is acid, though I suspect that nearer to the wall will be quite limey – I’ll be out there with my pH kit once it stops raining – following the repointing. I don’t want to add azaleas or rhododendrons as there’s more ripping out to be done elsewhere, and and I have those earmarked for the next outbreak of insanity. And I’m not a huge fan of heathers – except tree heathers and getting the ones I like is almost impossible, so they’re out. Ferns I do like, which is probably just as well as this garden does good ferns all by itself.
On the more constructive side, I’ve an open mind about colour, though I have just sown 30+ white foxgloves in preparation for Unrealistic Planting Idea No. 1. I’ve already eliminated things like prairie planting as that would just look silly, and I know I want to introduce some more bulbs for the spring (just as well I’ve not done the Peter Nyssen order yet). I’m wide open to any suggestions which may help my incipient blumenpanik. And if that isn’t a word, it definitely ought to be. There’s plenty of time for Unrealistic Planting Ideas 2 to 58,000. Well, about ten to twelve weeks.
And on the even more constructive side, it’s surprising how well aching limbs respond to a hot bath and a large whisky. Ow. Must repeat.
(new bed with large plant pot)
8. Oh yes – and anything on the far side will overhang the lane and must absolutely NOT infiltrate the retaining wall. I have snowberry for that (and a man with a mattock for the snowberry).