Work in Progress – Before and After

 

Before…

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During…

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After…

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The butterfly bush is flowering better than ever – softening the rather spare looking plot while it’s in the awkward phase.

 

After missing 2 months, it’s all systems go again.

Old mint and lavender plants, rescued from other spots will make a fragrant boundary line.

There are courgettes in pots, awaiting the spire growing experiment, and 2 raspberries and a blackcurrant are already bedded in the purpose-built raised box.

(next time, pics of plants in the main bed – red cabbage, beans, pepper; and the new gate arch, made from wisteria tree cut-offs, and a very convenient wild dogwood rose)

A few notes for zero-budget gardening:

  • the raised beds are made from reclaimed wood (totally free from folks on Gumtree)
  • the chicken wire was all found stuff, and holes etc repaired before putting up (moss painstakingly removed to add into the moss garden – waste-not-want-not!)
  • the weed suppressing is provided by second-hand straw from a goose house, a very old carpet headed for the tip (providing an eclectic, bohemian feel to the plot, I think) and some carefully placed wood-chip mulch – making sure a little goes a long way.
  • The black plastic on the right is old compost bags, in situ until more covering stuff can be found.
  • The dug-up root balls have been stored, to provide screening and hedging elsewhere instead of buying new plants. (Hopefully deer-proofing for an orchard, eventually – but that dream is a long way off!)

 

Photos of the actual planting by next week!!
(And some silly beautifying courtesy of a box of old jam jars!)

 

A few outtakes…

(sadly I don’t have any of me stuck in the mud when it flooded – those root balls make some very deep holes…)

 

Seasonal absence

I’ve missed two whole seasons from my notes here.

I spent winter pulling old roots out of stubborn clay (that’s so much quicker to write that it was to do) and managed to clear a pretty large area- which is being transformed into the new vegetable and herb garden.

I was going to write a flippant post about a fall I had in Spring (April Fool!), but actually I’ve realised I probably should have learnt a bit of a lesson from that.

Compulsive gardening may be relatable to most plant people – getting obsessive about things is par for the course. But I feel a huge responsibility for this garden – for reclaiming it, for correcting the balance between the wildlife and the people who live and share it. Sometimes I think the compulsive aspect of the work isn’t as wholesome as it seems.

I think… as vicious cycles go, taking it for granted that it’s just how you are isn’t necessarily that great. I fell over in April because I went out into the garden too soon after a bout of flu, I fell awkwardly and couldn’t really move my shoulder properly for 8 weeks. So then, obviously, the first day it didn’t hurt like @~*#! I was out there again, trying to make up for lost time.

I started to realise just how many injuries I’m actually carrying. Somehow, I don’t think it’s normal to have this much trouble getting up off the floor…

Funnily enough, I was probably saved by The Moss Garden.

I started this little project a while ago, and apart from weeding I don’t put much into it because it’s a slow burner. But before I was fully back from injury, I could go down there and just fiddle about.

You can’t muscle-through moss work. It’s about watching where you step and micro-weeding. It’s also about being very close down to the earth, and moving as lightly as you can.

Working in this shaded, damp, hidden little spot, with its totally different micro-climate and its fuzzy velvet floor (balding, but beautiful), I noticed one day that I was not in terrific pain – my back, my joints, my chest – when I was working softly in the moss garden, I felt rather nice.

Maybe it’s not a coincidence that this also happens to be an area where my expectations are nil. I know the moss will take years to establish. I know nothing here can be rushed along – I can’t really influence it, whether I work hard or not, it just is. And I think there’s a correlation between how my body feels, how I work, and the expectations I have going into the job… (I also suspect this is all rather basic information to other people – those strange people who can do things in moderation, who know how to relax and enjoy things – who are doubtless in reasonably good nick, both above and below the neck).

So. There we go. I have missed two seasons of notes, but I’m deliberately not going to worry about it. This compulsive gardener is trying to learn how to, like, not compulse?

But I will be back to posting, and I am really looking forward to catching up with all your news I’ve missed (so apologies if you get some new comments on some very old posts of yours!)

I will be posting before-and-progress shots of the new area. I was waiting to come back online until it was finished, but that’s silly. This is a long project, and I might get some invaluable advice as it goes along.

Sneak preview of before shots

The twisting Snowberry and the voracious, 6-foot Buddleia

(Which, incidentally, already had a chop before these photos were taken – it’s really not a job you can do among ‘other things’ – you have to just go at it, every day, until it’s over, otherwise you just thicken the bushes and make the job even worse!).

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Nope… even looking at it is making me feel queasy. I need a strong pot of coffee…