A whole day in the garden

A WHOLE DAY.  This almost never happens, thanks to a combination of family responsibilities, weather, a job and various other demands which crop up on a daily or weekly basis.  But I have a very rare week off work, promised since last year, and it’s allowed me the luxury of time to write, garden, walk and go to yoga classes whenever I please.  So yesterday, I spent all my time outside and I loved it. Following the walk I blogged about in my last post, I wrapped up (it’s still a bit chilly!) and went straight outside, armed with a gardening to-do list.

Focusing on the main garden, I dug, planted, moved shrubs, mulched and snipped myself into a state of bliss.  There were two areas I was aiming to clear – the side patio bed and a section of the back border which is where I want the chicken coop (yep, I’m still planning this!) and run to go.

The side bed has been a bit of a conundrum since we moved in.  It’s got three thriving shrubs in it already – a bamboo, a camellia and a lovely variegated myrtle bush.  At one end I’ve planted some herbs as it’s close to the back door, and easy access from the kitchen when I need some for cooking.  But the middle section is quite shallow and tough to dig, with lots of old roots from a huge ivy, most of which has now been cleared to make way for a gas pipe to be fixed along the wall (don’t ask, it’s a long and boring story…).  Towards the end of last summer I planted some perennials which I’d bought – geums, lavender and a couple of foxgloves – but this was largely because I couldn’t really think of anything else to do with the bed.  They’ve done very little since then of course, so I’ve now lifted them; the lavenders are going into the opposite end of the garden, the corner patio where we have a table and chairs, and where I’m growing a series of climbers to try and hide some of the grey breeze block wall behind.  The lavenders should do a good job of brightening up the areas below the clematis, honeysuckle and roses which are already there.

The geums have now gone in below a twisted hazel which is also next to the back door, again a little bit of interest for the lower level of this small, rocky bed.

The plan now for the side patio is to put down a membrane, some decorative stones and to plant up lots of pots and place around the existing shrubs.  That way, I won’t have to dig into the tough soil, I can plant a variety of containers and can chop and change the pots whenever I like.  So, I’ve managed to clear the space ready for this, and now it looks like this…

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I’ve also ordered a rambler from Peter Beales roses, which I’ll grow at the back and along the wall to try and hide some of the grey-ness.  It’s a pale pink flower, and should complement the vivid green and red-pink of the camellia, which flowered beautifully last year.

I had to move a couple of things out of the back border too, so that I could mark out the approximate space I’ll need for the coop/run I’m hoping for.  I moved a young cherry into the front garden, and removed a hydrangea completely.  I love hydrangea – I don’t mind that they’re a bit old-fashioned, I just love their huge showy flowers – but this one was quite old and woody, plus I’d taken cuttings from it in the autumn so it will live on.  There’s a rhodedendron which might also need moved out of the way but it’s just about to flower so I’ve left it for now.

This is how the space looks now…

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In the foreground you might also be able to make out a small magnolia which was also planted yesterday – another bargain from Lidl!

So I’m quite pleased with the preparations I’ve made in these two key areas of the garden. Looking out and seeing the clear spaces gives me a sense of anticipation – I’m ready for the next stage!

And now for a close-up!  A selection of photos caputuring what’s going on in the garden just now…

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The rhodedendron which is getting ready to flower
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Salix – a new pussy willow for the front border
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The witch hazel is still going strong 
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