Monday, 25 April 2011

99 in the shade

The weather here has been absolutely amazing and just recently it has really gotten way to hot for this time of year. The temperature has regularly hit well over 100f in the past few days, and a couple have hit an amazing 115f!!!
almost of the scale!!
i said last time that i would show you how i made the water feature and here is how. It's quite simply built using gravel boards, the same as used in the raised beds. I cut the boards into small sections with a 67.5 degree angle at each end. This gives you a nice octagonal surround to the tub that will sit inside. I originally made it three sections high, but it soo became apparent that that was too tall.

Is there anyone in there??!!

I had to cut the sides of the tub down to fit the surround, but again this was very easy to do.

The pump we had was okay but much too powerful for the tub and didnt really look right. We purchased another one from good old e-bay for a bargain of £25 including postage for a brand new one. It came with different attachments to give different fountains. We also started with a mesh over the top of the tub but inset into the surround, and then covered with pebbles. This has changed now to having the tub half filled with stones which actually saves on the amount of water needed in the tub.

The water feature looks amazing, especially as the plants around it have grown up so much. We have also added a couple of marginal plants into the water feature too. These are Geum rivale and Carex muskingumensis and they sit in basket pots just below the surface of the water.
The feature really blends in now, surrounded by columbines, yellow loose strife, Delphinium, wallflowers and lobelia, to name but a few.

The whole garden has transformed recently, with so much growth and of course a lot of new plants have been added. We have planted out potatoes into two potato growing bags, an early crop 'foremost' and a main crop of 'desiree'. Three hanging baskets have been partially planted, one has strawberrys planted and the others are purely floral.


I took the last two pictures this morning at 9 am. Everything looks so lush and green, with spatterings of colour. The mexican orange blossom is in full bloom as is the banksia rose on the back wall. Unfortunately we lost the honeysuckle that was next to the rose on the bank wall. yet again the mildew set in and this time it was all over the plant. After some research it turns out it was due to bad positioning. The banksia rose has bloomed for the first time in two years
Just one more picture to end this posting I think. My tulips have bloomed and are looking stunning. It's such a shame that i didn't plant more!

Monday, 4 April 2011

And now for something completely different......

The next stage in the garden makeover was to do something about the hideous lower lawn that had been reworked by a certain puppy!!!! The patches of bare earth were to much to tolerate so we devised a new plan. We decided to get rid of the lawn completely and put in two raised beds and then spread bark chippings in between.

Doesn't look the best does it?

I started off by scraping just the top very thin layer off to get rid of the grass. This was then put into the raised beds face down, with loads of soil and compost on top. I have done this before and the grass just becomes compost under all that soil.

Just digging the top soil over a little.

I dug down a few inches as the soil was very compacted and was very pleased to see that there are lots of lovely worms working away in the soil. The soil is really nice and broke up easily and looks like it should yield some lovely crops.

Me and my little helper!
The beds were constructed using 6" x 1" (150mm x 25mm) gravel boards. I used off cuts from the pergola and the little bits that were left over after cutting the boards to help construct it. I used just two 3m boards for each one. This gave me a raised bed of 2.1m x 70cm, which I think is a good size for the crops that we want to grow.

Making progress.
Although it doesn't look like it this, I was almost finished. You can just see that i have laid some of the old grass down in the second bed. The big pile of what looks like boulders is actually the soil dug to make the second bed. This was put into the bed gradually and broken up to make lovely fine soil. I added a full 70 litre bag of garden compost to the soil as well as 150grams of calcified seaweed which is a completely organic feed.

Now doesn't that look better??
As you can see the beds look fantastic with the bark chippings around them. We shall start planting in the beds very soon. We have bought some little poly tunnels to protect the new growth and help them stay warm.

You will see the new little water feature i have added in the lower corner of that last picture. I will tell you how that was created in my next post.

To end this post i though i would put up a nice pic of one of the latest purchases and a new favourite of mine...
Fritillaria Meleagris 'Snakeshead Fritillary'