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Posts Tagged ‘turf’

Feeling Lazy


It seems like I haven’t done a thing all weekend. Well, of course not QUITE, but you know how one can get in a self-deprecating mood from time to time. When I look at that picture it really doesn’t seem like much of a result.

Still, the border IS larger than it appears in the picture, and though I didn’t get around to digging in the compost and create a plantable area, at least I can be glad I changed my plan and enlarged the area of the border. I suspect it might actually need to be even bigger, but I just won’t have time for that next weekend and I also think it’s probably important that I finish it in this size, dig in the compost and gain a sense of achievement from it. Then I can always do a second spurt of digging in April.

I’ve discovered that the narrow border in front of the covered terrace actually wraps around it, so about 4 inches below the lawn there is an edging of concrete paving stones. It makes it more fiddly to dig near the wall, but on the other hand they make a nice marker for how far in towards the terrace I want to dig deep; the last thing I’d want would be to unsettle the paving of the terrace, and this old edging gives me a nice guideline.

(The clematis is planted just inside the edging, by sheer luck, and it will be preserved. I decided to sacrifice a perennial sweet pea, though, as it was just impossible to disentangle it from the weedy grass around it. Also, it wasn’t very scented, so I will sow some annual sweet peas instead with a headier scent.)

Most of the turf was “recycled” and used to beef up the embankment towards the stream at the back. (And also, on a more cosmetic level, covering up the piles of old twigs and branches that were lying there as well as some of the lumps of pure clay that were dug up when we had the drainage installed. I will fill in the gaps between the turf “blocks”, and that should make it look a bit tidier. )

This one is a bit of a cheat, since I bought this on Thursday. A blue anemone that was just too pretty to resist. I planted it out in the hedgerow, which should pretty much replicate the natural environment it’s suited for; light in spring, then heavy shade once the leaves appear on the trees.

This one looks rather autumnal, yet gloriously so, I think. It’s a mahogany that had made it’s way out into the forest, and as it is not a native plant here I pulled it up and stuck it in a plastic container in the Courtyard. If you look carefully at the centre of the leaves you can see the yellow flower buds have made an appearance, and I think they will look spectacular against the dark foliage.

In time it might end up as a feature plant in the shady (and also not created yet) Fern Patch – or perhaps as undergrowth under the trees towards the road.

Right in the centre of this picture there is a small, red tip making its way out of the soil… The peonies are shooting, and it will be exciting to see if we get any flowers this year. (Though odds are we will have to wait another year, yet you never know…)

And that’s it for now. I’m going up there again Friday evening and hope to finish the Sunny Border in some form before I have to head back to town Saturday night for a birthday party.

(And typing up this entry made me feel like – perhaps – I have managed to get SOME work done over the weekend.)

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Oops…


Isn’t it always the way it goes; you start a project and suddenly you can just see that your scope is too narrow.

I’m afraid I might have to admit that I’ve under-dimensioned the lay-out of the new Sunny Border; now that I’ve dug half of the planned area free of turf it seems quite clear that this won’t make the sort of impact I want it to, regardless of how lush and colourful the plants decide to grow.

I might have to double the radius of the semicircle, and this will of course quadruple the area that needs to be cleared. (A = π x r2 for a circle if I remember correctly – when I was a kid we used to always ask our maths teacher “but what will we ever USE this for?”, and I guess he should have just told me that when I started a garden it would be quite handy to know basic geometry… I also use the Pythagorean number sets quite often – a triangle with the lengths 5-4-3 will give you a straight angle since a2=b2+c2.)

Still, I’m making headway, and my back is actually less sore now than it was after I’d dug out the first square meter. My body is getting accustomed to the work, it seems.

I still need to work out how I’m going to dig out the turf around the young clematis. I suspect I might resort to just scraping off the grass and the top roots, lay down a thick layer of cardboard around the plant and then mulch that over with compost so it doesn’t show. It won’t remove all the roots but it should at least limit the amount of grass that manages to get through to the surface.

Plastic would probably be more efficient, but I think I’ve made enough concessions by deciding on a vertical 8-inch corrugated plastic barrier between the border and the lawn. The cardboard will decompose naturally and actually add something positive to the soil, whereas a sheet of plastic around the clematis would just be an atrocity that will disintegrate but not decompose, leaving me with small bits of plastic in the soil for years to come. (At least the plastic barrier towards the lawn has an expected durability of 5 years, possibly more, given that it will be completely covered on both sides, and when it does start to disintegrate the border should be established enough that I can maintain the edge by cutting it with a spade every spring.)

Anyway, enough of a break; back to the garden – and the heavy work – I go!

(EDIT: And now it started raining – just a slight drizzle, but enough to turn the soil into mud if I walk around digging. Armchair gardening it is for now!)

 

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