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A New Crevice Garden and Alpine Lawn


I thought you might like to see what we got up to last year while we were off line.

One fine Spring evening we were sat on the Swing seat, enjoying the last of the sunshine. To our astonishment a rabbit appeared from somewhere behind us and sprinted down the Vista. It was hotly pursued by our two cats. At a pace more suited to our years we followed them down to where the rabbit and cats disappeared into the Heather Garden. There was no sign of the rabbit and the cats were just wandering about aimlessly.

The Heather Garden.
We thought no more about it, assuming that the rabbit had escaped the cats and left the garden. Despite being surrounded by fields we have never actually been plagued by rabbits. There are plenty of them around, but our old hunting cats kept them out of the garden.
The Heather garden had really suffered in the last two bad winters and when we were close to it we could see that it was desperately in need of refurbishing. The following day (I never was one for putting things off that I wanted to do) I took the loppers and secateurs down to the area with the intention of cutting the Heathers back in the hope that they would regrow from the base.

When I got into the bed I found that many of the plants were dead and some not even connected to the soil at all. I removed all those and as much top growth from the rest as I could.

It left the area looking rather bare. I also discovered to where the running rabbit had disappeared. There was a nice set of rabbit holes well hidden under the Heathers.

Rabbit Warren!

We definitely do not want a warren of rabbits in the garden, so there seemed little choice but to dig up the area and make sure that the creatures were no longer in residence. Obviously this also meant digging up the remainder of the Heathers.

I left a very large and still healthy Eric arborea in place and also some of the plants which were not affected by the rabbits diggings for the moment, at least. Fortunately there was no sign of any rabbit in the holes and I was able to fill them up as I dug the area over. I did find a few large field stones in the soil, which is odd in that I must have dug over the area before I planted the Heathers about 12 years ago without finding them. The ones at the bottom of the picture are part of a dry stream bed which runs along the lower part of the Heather garden.
We were now faced with a choice, replant with Heathers or change the area into something else. We were not certain that one could plant Heathers back in soil where they had already been growing so we decided to go for something new.
Alongside the Heather garden was an area we call the Sedum Scree. Again this had been badly damaged by the harsh winter and was on the list for remedial work. We did have a fair number of smaller field stones available from the New Paths project so I used them to make the Scree a little wider.

The edge is a little straight in the picture, but that will be altered when the new build is completed.
Again, left over from the New Paths project were all the pieces of concrete that I had dug up.

It seemed a shame not to use them for something. We decided on a Crevice garden. The area slopes with a drop of about half a metre over the six or so metres length. It faces North West and is fairly open. The soil is a mixture of Heather leaves, the peat which was added for the Heathers and cinders. At some time in the past this area must have been where the occupants either threw all their coal fire ashes or had a cinder path. This means that the soil is fairly acid and extremely well drained. It is also not very fertile either. At least there was little or no pernicious weed growth to contend with.

The pieces were positioned at a slight angle to the Sedum Scree to make full use of the slope.

And so on!

The lines are of different lengths and the gaps between them vary from 10 cms. to 15 cms.

There was a large amount of concrete.

The slabs all in place. The next job was to fill in the gaps with my favourite mixture of topsoil, composted bark, grit and sharp sand.

It took a fair amount of compost to fill the gaps, but eventually it was done.

I left the compost to settle and turned my attention to the rest of the area. The heathers which I had left in did not look right with the crevice garden so I took them out as well. This left me with quite a large area to deal with.

We were not sure what to do in this section which is about 6 metres square, but I saw a reference to the book Alpine Lawns by Anne Ashbury. I have a copy of this book so I had a good read and decided that we could use some of her ideas. We had some dwarf Rhododendrons which needed relocating so they were planted across the top of the bed near to the path. The soil in this bed is very acid so no problem there. The rest of it I planted up with a selection of Thymes, Campanulas and Phlox.

To keep the Alpine lawn separate from the steps going down one side I placed a row of hollow concrete blocks along side the path.

These I planted up with a selection of Silver Saxifrages.

Now all I can do is to wait for the inevitable weeds to appear and hope that the rabbit has really vacated the premises.

As you can see, it grew quite well over the Summer.

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You have done very well. It was a lot of work, which will look lovely and interesting, when everything grows.
'Reynardin' on an old piece of rag placed under a slab to keep it dry in the rain, will get rid of the rabbits.

7 Jan, 2012


What a transformation and so imaginative. Its going to look fantastic. That crevice garden is brilliant - you have really worked very hard to achieve all this in one season.
Are those little sedums in the hollow blocks?

7 Jan, 2012


Hallo and welcome back! How lovely to see your achievements. They're looking amazing. :-)) I hope the rabbits have gone for good.

7 Jan, 2012


That crevice looks really nice, Ob, I am impressed. I like the look of the whole garden and think that you have done very well.

7 Jan, 2012


Not seen any signs of rabbits, other than bottom halves as left by one or other of the cats, to be eaten later.
The plants in the blocks are Silver Saxifrages, Steragram. And the whole construction took about a week from start to finish.

7 Jan, 2012


what a lovely garden you have. i do like the crevice, reminds me of rocks in scotland that i love.

7 Jan, 2012


What a brilliant transformation Owdboggy. I hope it brings you many years of enjoyment :)

7 Jan, 2012


That is a lot of hard work there, looks fantastic.

8 Jan, 2012


A very interesting read and good set of photos. Just love the effect.

8 Jan, 2012


jsut re-found this blog, adding it to my faves so I wo'nt lose it again! thanks so much, wonderful inspirational blog

8 Aug, 2014

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