Sunday, 19 April 2009

Garden Makeover

Back in October I blogged about starting to renovate my Mum's garden.  I did a lot of the really hard work then, but we still had to replant and rebuild the garden.

This is the corner of the garden before I started today :


The problems with this rock garden were:
  • poor soil leading to plant malnutrition
  • the soil washes down in places when we have heavy rain
  • certain large plants had taken over
So, having removed the thugs of the plant world, the task was to put more stone in to hold the soil back, at the same time importing soil for the parts worst affected.  On Friday we went plant shopping - always a hard thing to do when you are not sure what the garden is going to look like in the end.  If I was a proper gardener, I'd have done the construction work first, but hey...

Some parts of the garden get shade pretty much all year round, some get a lot of sun in the summer, so it was important to get plants which could cope with different conditions.  We had lots of stone, given by a neighbour who demolished something last year - it was stone originally used in building the old mill here or maybe the privvies, long since demolished!

So here is a similar shot of the garden post renovation:

I moved a lot of stone!  I have well-exercised muscles now but I am exhausted.  The 2 bags of soil were also very unwieldy, but Mum gave me a hand with them - I wasn't letting her near the stone though.

Here's another shot from the other end - plants from bottom right are:

  • Potentilla - the bush on the right, has lovely flowers in the summer, this has been here some time
  • to its left, Helenium, orange flowers in a sunny spot
  • you can just glimpse through the bush one of the Heucheras
  • to its left is a white anemone, which was planted here years ago
  • to its left is another Heuchera
  • left again is a self-seeded geranium of unknown genus, soon to flower
  • there are also a couple of other self-seeded plants here, including a wild flower - purple toadflax, which is pretty
All of these plants are in the hottest end of the bed, which gets sun in the afternoon.

The middle section is partial shade, you can't see the bleeding heart (dicentra spectabilis) which is behind the potentilla in this shot.  We moved some daffodils and a cowslip in front of this plant, and built up the edges to keep the soil in.  Almost in the middle of the picture is an aquilegia, which grow like weeds in this area, behind it a ligularia.

Then in the shady part we have a meconopsis betonicifolia or Himalayan Poppy (more on this below) which can't be seen in the shot, and in the lowest and newest bed are two types of primula denticulata and a lamium.

We still have a bit of work to do, but easy compared to this backbreaking stuff!


The Himalayan Poppy - I first saw this flower in a book about 10 years ago and really wanted one, but couldn't find it anywhere locally.  So when the plant nursery had some, I had to buy one for myself too - I really don't know how it will do in our climate, but there's only one way to find out!  Here it is - the plant label next to it shows the beautiful blue flowers it should produce in a few months.

I'm going to have a cup of tea now...
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