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HOORAY, I've Negotiated A New Border With The Guvnor! And, Bought S...


Yes, I have managed to get agreement from the guvnor (Julie) that I can take another small part of her cherished lawn for another border.I think this will please Hywel as he told me that I have far too much! Well, it is only a fairly small garden and I think Julie is thinking ahead to when , hopefully, one day, we may have grandchildren.
So, I have started by marking out the border and skimming off the grass.We do, though , have a very heavy clay soil and the ground is also full of rubble from when the house was built 14 years ago. I’m fed up with trips to the dump after digging out around 18 bags of the stuff from the small borders that I have dug in the front , over the winter. But, that is for a future blog.
So, this is what the soil looks like…and a view of this side of the garden.

The other beds/borders were dug and planted last year as there were no beds at all(purely lawn) when we moved in December 14.
However, as some of you know, we have since realised what a very wet area this side of the garden is and , with full shade at the end near the house, it’s proving to be a real problem. I have lost a few grasses and Carex Sedges (supposedly ok in damp conditions) over the winter.Also, of course the overnight sprinkling sessions that our neighbours had last summer, didnt help. I’m hoping they’ve got over that phase now, with the help of a huge water bill(we are on meter) and the fact that their lawn has grown so fast and they havn’t been able to keep up with cutting it.
These Acorus are the only plants that have really coped well with the wet , shaded conditions down by the house (they have actually grown during this really mild winter)

I have purchased some more Acorus and some ferns as well as a couple of Astilbes for this area. In fact, the cold frame and greenhouse are full to bursting with plants hardening off and waiting to be planted later in the spring.
Even a Hosta Halcyon seems to have succumbed to the damp in this bed which has some sunshine, being a little further away from the house. And, I’m a little concerned for my Calamagrostis (Overdam) grasses which I planted to form a backdrop and cover the fence. They aren’t looking too clever but are still alive. I have and will continue to dig in lots more grit/gravel to help drainage in this area.

But, the bed on the other, much sunnier side (W/SW facing) seems much happier and has established quicker.

I have been busy, not only purchasing plants but also , loads of grit, Manure and Soil in order that I can dig out a lot of the rubble and clay and replace it with a much better growing medium(A few more trips to the dump). I will,though, plant much more damp tolerant plants which tolerate only having sun for a few hours a day. Like, Ligularia, Hostas, and Carex grasses including one called ‘Everlime’ which , it would seem, (having researched) is tolerant of these conditions. Let’s hope so. Also,the Miscanthus Sinensis (Zebra grass) which Shirley (Tulip) sent me last year and has lived in a pot so far, will be planted in this new bed.
Do you think I have enough…ha ha, I hope so…it’s costing a fortune!

This little wall hanging planter which I planted up today, should help relieve the darkness of the fence in the shady area by the house. It is from the same range (Loire by Gardman) as the two Obelisks we bought last year.I looked for the best price and have been ‘watching’ it on Ebay since last autumn where it was £18.49 but, I was delighted to find the same one in a clearance section in a local Homebase for £7.39 during the winter.
Ialso have purchased two matching ‘Loire’ hanging basket brackets to go on the sunny side fence posts.

This lovely Heuchera ‘Redstone Falls’ which I bought at merriments(sussex) garden last summer, has survived the winter in the border but I realised, it was not shown to it’s best effect in the ground.I saw a photo on GOY, of this variety in a pot and, true to it’s name , it ‘fell’ down the side of the pot, creating a wonderful spectacle so, I have potted it up for this year.

This beautiful Hellebore(forgotten its name for the moment) will take the Heuchera’s place in the border,in front of the red leaved Japanese Acer and next to a switch grass, Pannicum Shenandoah, which I’m hoping will start growing back soon and some reddish foliaged Sedums ‘Stewed Rhubarb Mountain’

The (small) veg patch, all dug over and ready for some planting….soon

I will soon plant this Prunus shrub ( Kojo No mai) in the hole I have prepared just in front of the greenhouse where it’s pink blossom will add some lovely spring colour. This one has very interesting, twisting branches/stems .
These Geum Avens Rivale should cope well with the conditions and I willplant a bit of a drift of them through the new bed and into ,the natrrow border.

I’m really pleased with them as I purchased them online as plug plants. I purchased 8 but, as usual, with plugs, I was sent a couple extra to insure the full 8 plants but, at the moment I am hopeful, indeed confident , they will all produce good plants(10)
I potted them up immediately they arrived last week (with good roots but very little in the way of top growth)and, only just over a week later, they are producing a good amount of top growth already.
I also bought three dormant Ligularias online but, at the moment, only two are showing signs of growth(fingers crossed for the other one)

Here are a few more of the plants waiting for the new bed to be dug and the other bed/borders to have more manure/grit dug in.

So, it’s all go at the moment with my ,Tomato seedlings just pushing throuh the compost in the propogator. The potatoes are chitting and, when temperatures seem to be reliably higher, I’ll plant them in bags and a few in a bed behind my greenhouse. Lots to do……Are you a lot more advanced with your veg seedlings etc? I bet you are!!

Happy gardening,


More blog posts by paulspatch

Previous post: TV advert made me laugh!

Next post: Getting There..(The new border part 2 and lots of new plants)



Wow have been busy. Im ever so pleased to see those borders expanding a little! ;) My toms are not much ahead of yours. I pricked some out today. Your tale of rubble and clay takes me back to ten years ago when we first moved in to our last home. Although you have a bigger challenge with your soil. Ours did have areas of solid clay, but it wasnt as bad as in your pics.'re getting on top of it and all your effort will pay off. Whats this about grandchildren? Lol..well, just you enjoy your garden while uou can. I'm ccoveting your beautiful veg. Patch. But I'm also plotting to rip up part of our drive (which has car-park proportions) and get a decent veg patch here. Havent told OH yet! ;)

14 Mar, 2016


I am pleased to know you've got rid of some of that grass. It is boring and meant for fields, not gardens ;)
You'll have a much nicer looking garden now ...

14 Mar, 2016


Thanks Karen...yes, the clay and rubble is certainly a challenge.Even that little circle I dug (approx 2ft diameter, and about two feet deep) yeilded two large rubble bags of rubble and solid clay.
The veg patch is only 15ft X 6ft. But, it'll do me.

14 Mar, 2016


Well,Hywel.....nicer when it's not under water!!! At least, it didn't show so much when the garden was covered in grass but as soon as I dug my borders, they filled up with water!

14 Mar, 2016


You can grow bog plants - better than grass :)

14 Mar, 2016


Yeah...that's what I have Hywel......I have no choice...Ligularia, Geum avens Rivale, Ferns etc! All tolerant of wet conditions.
Ha've really got it in for grass, haven't you? I personally would have island beds, trees, very little grass but, unfortunately , it's not only up to me!!

14 Mar, 2016


How about some small willow for height, loves its feet wet?..can't remember the name.... gorgeous pinky creamy greeny small leaves possibly Salix integra?......

15 Mar, 2016


Your soil does look disgusting. Good luck. Nibble away at the grass, bit by bit so Julie does not notice, and make her cut the grass!
Suggestions:- Fillipendula (Meadowsweet) doesn't mind shade and wet soil. I have a pink flowered, a white double, and a yellow foliage one, all in shade. There is also a variegated one on the market. And Houttuynia cordata, but it is a little invasive.

15 Mar, 2016


Thanks Siris, unfortunately, in such a smal garden, I can't afford anything too invasive. I may have a look at Fillipendula but, I must admit, I always think of Spirea when I think of Fillipendula and, I have to confess that I really have a thing about Spirea(not in a good way) How big do the varieties you have grow please.
Yes, I love the willows Pam (had a salix contorta and a fantastic S.Nishiki Hakura but, they all grow so fast and I don't have a lot of space here. The chap next door has a large S.Contorta.
I think my borders may get a little bigger over the years and regards the grass, although I cut it yesterday, to be fair, Julie does cut it most of the time when I'm busy working!

15 Mar, 2016


Lets hope your neighbours don't go mad with the watering this year Paul, we are on clay here and as you can imagine we have been standing in water this past few months, trouble is when it dries out it will go solid in some places, even after 40yrs of working the garden its very rare I managed to dig down more than a spades depth, I've added compost over the years so improved some parts but there are areas where it comes up in clumps but at least its not builders rubble..
Last year when hubby had to mow the lawns for me, he kept grumbling about the part where my square bed is, its also near the plum tree, I'm used to mowing around it and dodging under the tree but he wanted it removed to make life easier, luckily I'd already planted it up in the springtime so was too late, I'm taking the jobs back this year so it stays put, lol, I'm also thinking of adding another bed down near the bottom pond, the grass struggles to survive below the willow tree and every year I have to reseed, looking to make changes Paul, just not the way my hubby is thinking..

15 Mar, 2016


Paul, Fillipendula ulmaria aurea and rubra 2-3 ft in flower.
F, hexapetala flora plena, for me, a little smaller. Think I have a pic of the flowers of rubra from last summer. Tidy, but tall plants.

15 Mar, 2016


No....I make you right , Sue......defend the plum tree and borders at all cost...ha ha!
Yes, I'll have a look on google and your photos Siris, thanks.

15 Mar, 2016


Wow Paul, even that little bit has made a huge difference. Perhaps Julie will be converted when she sees how much nicer it looks. It must have been quite hard for you to have to make such a big change in your planting plans to suit your new conditions but you'll surely get there. So glad you bought the little cherry. I got one from Tesco last year and its just beginning to show a little bud burst.
I'm thinking of buying some shares in that grit company...

15 Mar, 2016'd be very wise to invest in 'Aggregates are Us', Stera! ha ha........hope it has the desired effect.I have already used pallet loads of it but really not solved the problem yet.I think it is because as well as the clay near the surface, there is also a solid shelf of the stuff about 10/12 inches down and no matter how much I improve the topsoil, the water goes so far and then stops.Maybe, the grit then helps it come back up again....I'm not sure about that.
In this new bed, I'm going to try to dig out down to the solid clay shelf and then make fork holes in it and put grit in......sounds ok in theory, eh?
I want to get the Prunus shrub in the ground, but there is such a cold wind here over the last few days that I have kept it in the cold frame, just taking it out on the sunny days.

15 Mar, 2016


You poor man, what dreadful clay in your garden and I thought our Sussex clay was bad! Lots of hard work ahead for you. I love those Loire brackets, very posh!

15 Mar, 2016


Thanks Shirley....Ireally like the range but got the impression most people weren't keen.
I think it goes well with the grasses and a fairly contemporary planting scheme although, perhaps the fence could do with being a lighter/pastel shade but I can't bring myself to do it! (A bit of a traditionalist).
I'm also looking to get an outdoor mirror in a similar style but not sure where it could would be better on a wall but the small section of wall in our garden wouldn't be right really as it faces the greenhouse in one direction and the end of the wall will soon be covered by a Caenothus that was there when we moved here.

15 Mar, 2016


I like the Loire brackets as well Paul., and tend to agree with yo re the fence - once you start painting it you're committed for life. There must be a climber that likes wet feet...

15 Mar, 2016


Yes, funnily enough, Stera....I was saying to Julie last night that I might put some trellis panels in (on their own posts in front of the fence)with some climbers to soften all the brown.
Not sure which climbers....I have four clematis in the ground(planted last summer) so we'll see how they get on this year. I love herbaceous clematis...I had two at the other house, but, not sure how they'd cope.

16 Mar, 2016


Yes, Paul, wooden trellis in front of the fence on it's own posts is a good idea. We have that 1/2 way along the back fence because that is not our fence line so we can grow climbers and scrambles up it.

16 Mar, 2016


Your soil looks just like mine hard work to improve.

18 Mar, 2016


Yes...and I suspect, Peter, it will be a job that will continue for many years! Hope I don't lose too many more plants in the meantime.

18 Mar, 2016

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