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Begin at the beginning, go on to the end and then stop.


I have a lovely patch of rough grass about two thirds of the way down my garden. It is a square about 6ft long and the same wide. It is lovely because nothing appears to have ever been done to it: it is solid clay, very damp – wet all winter, covered in grass with only incursions by celandines and the rougher types of weeds and bordered on two sides by a rickety fence which is falling down and a slightly over-grown cherry laurel which threatens to become more overgrown each day.

What a god-send. In an established garden which fills me with anxiety incase I am wrecking it, here is a patch of land which desperately needs my attentions.

The plan and order of campaign is very clear – replace the fence, trim the laurel, dig and line a pond/bog, and then plant with all types of delectable lovelies. What could be simpler? Then get on with persuading the rest of the garden to stay alive whilst the bog turns out displays of lush flowers and foliage throughout the hottest months.

At a later stage I am planning french drains and the odd ditch here and there to improve the drainage at the top and take the water from the roof/garage to further feed the bog.

Anyway back to reality. My daughter turned to me on Saturday –brimming with the energy that 12 year olds have and those of us somewhat older only dimly remember, and said “Where can I dig? There must be somewhere.” I said “Oh by the cherry laurel, we’ll want a pond eventually.” Cue an exit from the house, a somewhat determined look, and a spade.

Several hours later I asked MrSussexSarah where our daughter had got to and he said quite nonchalantly, “Oh she’s digging the pond like you asked.” Ooops.

She did a fine and thorough job. We expect to hit Australia shortly. Problem is that it absolutely wrecked any chance of finding a firm foothold when replacing the fence or trimming this side of the monster. Never mind.

Finding a fencer appears to be a) quite a dull job and b) potentially shockingly expensive, so I was cultivating the notion of developing a hedge instead, and armed with this thought I wandered into the garden centre (very excited by my increasing mobility) with the idea of checking out what would grow in such conditions.

Of course I had forgotten how tired my poor little ankle would get and how quickly, so under the influence of pain (my excuse) I actually bought the plants I was meant to just be looking at as a palliative. It worked of course. I couldn’t even feel my ankle as I drove home the 100yds, and could barely see for the smile on my face and I hulked my lovelies out of the car. However, as I drove into the drive, I suddenly saw my neighbours which brought home to me that I had not actually mentioned the ‘let’s do without a fence and have a hedge’ plan. All of which was a little difficult when they noticed the plants and developed more and more hangdog expressions when I outlined where they were going and what they were for.

The upshot of which is that we probably have to refill the pond so that we can replace the fence as planned and keep all the plants alive for who knows how long untill I can plant them.

The smaller bog plants (I kid you not – I really did go mad) have been planted and will need to be dug up when we do it properly. The hedging plants are two golden elders and one black one: the most beautiful foliage with promise of flowers, berries, wine and birds throughout the summer, not to mention staggeringly tough bush/trees that can be hacked around without giving a damn and will cope well with the wet. But I mustn’t think about them now. All I must think about is getting a fencer to replace the couple of panels that absolutely must be replaced in order to restore relations with next door.

I’ll post some photos of the project and plants as it goes along, but here is one to keep you going.

So back to the beginning we go……………… Why does it never pan out like this in gardening programmes?

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Good therapy SS, hope your ankle stops hurting soon.

27 Apr, 2010


Take heart Sarah, I think things do go wrong in the programmes they just end up on the cutting room floor!!! :o))

27 Apr, 2010


Hope your neighbours will agree on a hedge and not a fence.

27 Apr, 2010

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