Operation Landscape: Part One

Things have been hotting up here. The sun is shining, the skies are blue, and the garden is a hive of activity.

Apologies for my limited presence online this past week or so. I have so many blogs to catch up on, photographs to download from the camera and even the latest issue of Gardens Illustrated which arrived on Monday lies open only half read as things here have been too busy to stop…

The first seeds have been sown in the greenhouse, for a wide range of vegetables and ornamentals.

The shelves in the greenhouse are filling up with seedtrays; half-drainpipes filled with compost and sown with more seeds line the floor and a stack of unplanted seed packets still awaits attention in the house.

Meanwhile, we have planted out the onion sets in the soil warmed beneath black plastic for the past few weeks, planted out a new row of strawberry plants that we potted from runners in the autumn, weeded and mulched the raspberry patch and begun the serious landscaping of the garden.

Just look at that beautiful dark crumbly mulch – this was the shredded mass of twigs and leaves from the trees and hedges along the boundaries of the garden that we pruned/removed a year ago and left to lie undisturbed beneath the plum trees between the shed and greenhouse.

I’m so impressed with how it has rotted down through the year to create such a wonderful dark mulch, contrasting with the light shrubby trimmings that it came from. In the picture above, our latest shredded branches from this week’s work piled beside the remaining mulch highlight the difference.

This week we have hacked down the bloated mass of lonicera nitida hedging that was too neglected to renovate, burning or shredding the cuttings. A day with a digger removed the roots of the tired old hedges and suddenly the garden seems to have doubled in size! Once the hedges were defeated, we used the digger to scrape the topsoil from the area by the kitchen doors where we will lay a patio, then dug a trench along the back of the house for the retaining wall which we will need to support a path along the back of the house.

Before operations began, we dug out the plants from the borders that would be in the way of the work; a tribe of roses, sedum and primroses sit in a cluster of pots in the middle of the garden awaiting repatriation. The buddleia was dug up and replanted in the border once the digger had left, a lonely stump in the new expanse of soil along the border.

Meanwhile, time is running out to order up our replacement hedges before the growing season is too far advanced for bareroot plants. Native hedging for the south side of the back garden that borders onto the field, and beech hedging at the front by the roadside are soon to be ordered, and a fence is to be erected between us and our neighbour, along with some rail fencing along the front and field side by the house.

I barely even have time to mention how wonderful it has been to still be working outside as dusk draws in after seven in the evening, and this coming weekend the clocks will leap forward and the evenings become lighter still. Just as well, with so much work to do, and so little time!

I hope that you are all well, and look forward to catching up on what everyone else has been up to in the garden when I have the chance to draw breath…

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6 thoughts on “Operation Landscape: Part One

  1. If results go in proportion to effort, you will be well-rewarded! My state of health would not allow me to indulge in such physical exertions – my little collection of raised beds is about all I can manage, but it is nice to hear about what you and my other blogging friends can achieve.

  2. I’ve not had any time or energy to catch up with blogs etc either. C’est la vie! Very exciting to see such movement on the big things, and lovely crumbly mulch you have created. I love that virtuous circle where even plants we hack and remove become food for the next generation. May your hedges thrive, free from the munching of cows, and the hard landscaping soon give way to the less practical but more exciting plant side of things. I am still stumbling in the dark a little if I leave watering to after our evening meal, but soon, very soon, it will be light enough to garden after dinner. Wonderful.

    • Thanks Janet – look forward to catching up with your progress soon. The hedges are on order, and I’ll personally deal with any cows who try and eat this lot while they’re young. An extra hour of light now, hurrah.

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