Monday, June 23, 2008

23 June: Time for a re-design?

We've been living here for 6 years now, and the garden has developed and changed over that time.

This was brought home to me this morning when I went out to remedy the damage done by the high winds over the weekend. Along the fence are 3 climbing roses, and there are wires along the fence that they are tied into. This year the roses were well-fed before the new leaves opened, and they put on a lot of growth. The extra weight and the gales had the effect that one wire broke, and another pulled out its (obviously inadequate) anchoring staple. The roses were flopped down in a wet (and thorny!) heap over the border and path.

After a heroic struggle with thorns, heavy wet plants, and wire - and why is the tool you need always just out of reach? - the roses are upright again and re-attached to their supports. I have wiped the blood away and dried off.

For a tiny garden, it's surprisingly jungly. The original design included a path round two sides of the garden, against the fences and behind the borders; this provides easy access to the fences for maintenance, and allows for wider borders, as they can be tended from both sides. These borders contain trees, birch, rowan, and magnolia, plus 2 buddleias, a viburnum tinus and a spotted laurel, which can all grow pretty big. And they have. It's a bit of an adventure hacking your way round the back path now. There is a range of shade-loving underplants, and the trees make much of the "lawn" shaded and damp, and full of moss. (Well, it isn't at the moment, it's full of bare patches where there used to be moss, and new seed has been sown.)

The pergola was planted with 2 roses and 2 clematis, and they have all amazed us with their ability to shoot up, out, tangle, and sag. They provide cover for the birds, of course, but also for the neighbour's cat, who likes the birds too.

The raspberry canes have died off in one part of their bed, but have colonised an area beyond that, where they are looking good, and so that part of the garden has altered itself. There's a bit in one border where nothing flourishes, and that may be a good spot for a little sit-ooterie.

We have thought about digging up the lawn, and having more planting with wide paths in between. But I am reluctant to make it more complicated and increase the maintenance - I actually prefer sitting in the garden now to working in it. How can it be simplified, but still have lots of summer colour and winter interest? And if we want to move from here at some point, we want the garden to be an attraction, not a handicap.

So sooner or later changes will be made. It'll probably be a case of waiting for conditions to ripen, and then it will become clear what's needed - in the meantime we can gather ideas from other gardens and think about what might be best.


KAZ said...

Get Dave to come over and sort it out.
It'll be good practice for his new place.

Murph said...

Yes! Dave could be the new Titchmeister with Mrs Waterfeatures and the brickie bloke!

They'll soon have you decked out Stitch.

stitchwort said...

Ah now, what I had in mind was a garden, not an account with B&Q.