Wednesday 26 November 2014

Plans taking shape!

Another great day's work in the Cottage Garden as I got our intern and one trainee to help too.

My proposal for a new path was accepted, so I marked it out with bamboo canes and string and we dug in (literally) first thing in the morning. By teabreak time, we had already finished the outline. We had then to spread the extra soil, which was very useful to raise the ground level where a tree had been planted too high, and to fill in some dips here and there.

Some plants were in the way of the path, namely a couple of Agapanthus and 3 of the 4 blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) shrubs in the area, so we had to move them. It is not ideal time to move Agapanthus as they are tender perennials and they'd rather be left alone over winter and only moved in spring, but we decided to go ahead anyway as the plants, should they die, are easily replaced - that might not always be the case, hence careful early planning might be needed. Sometimes trees are root-pruned one year in advance of moving them after a year, so that they have enough time to put up new growth of fine roots (which will enable better establishment) before the operation takes place.

Ribes nigrum flowers
It was good enough time to move the blackcurrants, though, even if the season has been exceptionally mild and they are not fully dormant yet. I love blackcurrants with their unassuming but prettiest of flowers, delicious and nutritious berries and, most of all, fragrant foliage that releases on the lightest brushing against the plants. Because of that, we have now replanted them alongside the paths, so that visitors can enjoy them close-up.

Divided Sedum crown
Sprawling, low to the ground Sedum on the left,
on the right, Sedum that received the Chelsea chop

Three people can work rather fast together, so we also managed to prune back the Sedum that was too sprawling: my colleague last year had experimented giving some plants a Chelsea chop, which had a rather marked impact on the affected plants, which have remained compact and tidy. The ones that were used for comparison, however, needed trimming back - you can see why in the picture on the rightm taken earlier in the month. We then lifted and divided them, ready for next year, when I want to interplant them with a vegetable crop, which I'm not going to reveal now...

After a good tidy up, we could take some pictures of the result: I loved it and was so thankful to my colleagues that made it possible so quickly.

View from the main path: before
View from the main path: after
View from the inside: before
View from the inside: towards the end


As I had taken a panorama picture from the same spot on the main path one month and a half ago, I can now make a comparison of the wider view. There is now closer access to the blackberries, the chuckleberries (a cross of redcurrant, gooseberry and jostaberry ), the two Malus that flank the path on one side and the Asimina triloba (or pawpaw, a rather interesting tree too) on the other.

Panorama view from the main path: 3 Oct

Panorama view from the main path: 21 Nov

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