The Before
0 comment Saturday, September 13, 2014 |
We're getting underway next week with the paving and clearing, and then on 12 April D comes round with two of her very helpful gents and a mini-digger to get the fencing sorted, possibly leveling if we can make the funds stretch that far. Sprog is poorly with a stomach bug today so I've not much else to do with my own somewhat diminished energy levels other than potter about a bit and I decided to take some "before" photos of the garden space.
Those with nervous horticultural dispositions may want to avert their eyes, it isn't pretty!
The beginning; broken paving stones and a bit of a bodge job laying down brickwork. This turns into a mudpit during the winter and is just dreary. We made the most of it last year with picnics outside and barbecues, but something less rickety is of course very welcome! The raised bed will be brought back into work, the holly removed (or moved to the front garden) and the huge rosebush also, I hope, moved, rather than eradicated entirely; actually, my project this weekend will probably be moving these myself and pruning the huge rosebush as much as I'm able; the stems are well over 4cm across, too much for my wee pruning shears! I'll have to borrow some loppers or something. The raised bed will be filled with good soil and I hope to get the first of our leafy veg and some flowers in there. Fingers crossed the volunteers manage to get some topsoil for me, otherwise I'll have to source some myself somehow.
It would be a perfectly useable space if it wasn't for the un-even ground. I've picked out the rugosas which are still alive and hope to plant them out, but the rest now are sadly, just very prickly sticks. This was my bad; I didn't realise how poor and flinty the soil is here and when I even started putting in the plants along the fenceline, digging them in was a nightmare! After the paving is laid I'm going to be straightening them up and doing a much better job of it. Once I clear all the rubbish (I now have more room to store in the outbuilding as I donated toys to John McNeil Opp Group) and get the outdoor furniture reconditioned for the summer, I'll be using this space to grow my toms and peppers as well as barbecuing - we love being outside during the summer months.
Great shot of Ludo, my massive Leonberger in her favourite habitat; outside in the mud! You can possibly see how sloped and uneven the higher level of the garden is; this space is my bane! Notice the half-steps at the top, which are half-buried in mud. It's treacherous to walk out here and I can't count how many times I only just caught myself by making a grab for the rusty washing line and holding on for dear life. I'm just thankful sprog hasn't fallen face-first down the stairs, though he has fallen off the partition twice.
The "compost" area; sharp metal and gods knows what; I've found old tarps, rusty wire, bits of carpet, paint cans, rusty nails and electrical scrap in this pile. And, of course, it's the first place my son goes so. I tried to remove it myself but I didn't know where to put all the junk, and the posts are cemented down into the ground (I tried digging for an hour to get them out but it defeated me). It's going to go finally, and good riddance! I want to plant something here like peonies or rhodies; something pretty which will give a sense of division for "sprog-space" and the rest of the garden, but considering the soil quality, we'll have to figure that out when we get there.
This is what sprog calls the "Jungle" and with good reason! It's a mass of sumac and morning glory and old dead stuff (and of course, rusty wire and bramble and who knows what else!) This will be made safer and we will find a way to nestle a "Wump-house" into this undergrowth so he has a safe hiding space to hang out in. Ludo is also very fond of this and she has a "den" to the left which she's worn a path to. She'll be allowed to use it occasionally but after works are done, she'll not be allowed in the back garden as much.
Taken to try and show the way the garden slopes; see how it drops off into a sort of depression on the right? This is "fun" to try and mow, and the whole garden at the moment is comprised of this kind of hump and ridge motif. Just walking round is a hazardous business - mowing is a chore and planting anything nearly unthinkable. The hope is to level this out a fair bit.
Another treacherous bit of slope as well as an ash tree (?) which has been allowed to take up residence. I'm not a fan of cutting trees for aesthetics, but in order to get the fence in, this one has to go. Neighbour W uses it to hang bird seed, but I've offered to get her some hooks or a bird feeder to hang on the fence. Notice the rather sharp slope down to the left, as well as concrete left over from someone's former project. This will be cleared and hopefully we can make this space into a bed or something. There's another small sapling to the far left, outside the shot, which is threatening to choke out one of my favourite rosebushes, so that too will have to go. The bright spot in this mess is, somehow, there are tulips growing along the fence line! My hope next week is to gently take these up and plant them along my beds just along the hedge in the front garden; there's some volunteer hyacinth and bluebells there already. I want to save them before the fence is put in, and recycling plants never hurt!
Overgrown everything: I think this used to be a bed, as there are rosebushes and all sorts of bulbs growing near the wall partition, but at the moment it's covered in weeds and overlong grass, as well as encroaching bramble. The bramble is everywhere; again, not a fan of killing for aesthetics, but the bramble is being dealt with, and hopefully I can then bring the elder (if such it is) back into production; would love to make some elderberry or elderflower wine this year! I've managed to prune both the rosebushes and they are putting forth a lot of buds already - very hardy bushes, they've been neglected for a while. Of course, they're staying, and most of the bulbs will as well, with the exception of grape hyacinth; I am not a fan of the stuff at all. The snowberry, ever needing to be beat back from its forward advance, is staying; it's an animal run and a nesting site for local birds and wildlife, and therefore I'll do my bit for biodiversity and just try to keep it trimmed back as much as I can do.
It all looks rather dreary and depressing right now - the garden has so much potential to be a really beautiful space! Time and funding is limited, and I don't forsee getting everything done this year, but we'll see how far we can get before the summer starts. As it is, there's 2 1/2 weeks of Easter Break coming up and already I'm in a state trying to figure out how in the world to keep my son occupied all that time, but with some garden work happening and some nice days, I think we can manage to do a bit of planting up and garden stuff here and there and make the most of the spring.

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