Coincidental with the welcome migration of cuckoos at the end of April, my ‘builder buddy” returned to help with more landscaping jobs. Top of the to-do list was completion of the paved path that runs along the boundary hedge from the greenhouse. Straight as a dye, it will contrast with the sinuous stepping stone I have planned for the future gravel area here. Practically speaking, the path will also keep the gravel from wandering away.
I had readied this area some months ago but the weeds had grown back and this dry April soon weather-baked the earth. Once again then I had to pick up the mattock and clear a bed for the paving slabs. After much levelling and measuring, these were laid on a 6:1 dry mix mortar bed, leaving a narrow area at the extremity which I’ve planted up with a row of several Sarcococcas to form a small hedge.
As so often happens with this garden’s plans, something unaccounted for suddenly crops up. This time it was the compost heap, which I’d not given much thought to at its inception but had simply filled a steep, deep trench besides the willow hedge boundary. with assorted vegetation. It soon became obvious that this was totally misplaced in terms of aesthetics, being right in view from the top level of the garden. Evidently, it would have to be cleared out and relocated to a more suitable site.
But there too was the immediate problem of some rotten boundary fence posts and just where the garden slopes steeply down to my daughter’s garden, with soil that slips away with it. The solution was a new fence and some serious galvanized fence post screws as anchor. More work for builder buddy and helpmate!
But now what to do with the steep, deep hole once the compost heap had been removed and new fence was in situ? Eureka! Since I’d always wanted one, the perfect solution was to create a bog garden (it sounds much better in Latin – “palus obducat – but I think of it as the marsh garden).
a bog garden is a patch of slow-draining, waterlogged soil and a valuable habitat for moisture-loving plants and wildlife
Having purchased a preformed pond and added perforations, it was laid on an earth and ballast mound in order to be almost level with the lower path. I then built a surround for it using rocks I’ve dug from the garden over this last year and what basic skills I have in stone walling! There is plenty of access space to service the marsh garden and being sited below the (yet to be excavated) lower pond, it is perfectly situated too to take any overflow. That excavation will also provide soil to raise the level of the surrounds here. Eventually, too, some steps down are planned instead of the current clamber.
Layered with cardboard, fine rubble and smaller vegetation from the compost heap, plus garden soil and top soil, the marsh garden is now ready and waiting for delivery of those moisture-retentive loving plants to arrive.
As part of our upcycling commitment, my daughter offered me her ex-duck pond (her flock now use the brook since they are full grown!) This small, preformed pond, sited at the top of the garden, will be part of the planned cascade but first there was more excavation to do and a sustaining perimeter to build around the pond. This time I used bricks (also dug from the garden!) and then topped with flat stones.
And all this landscaping was not our only construction work. Still under wraps, and literally secreted under blue tarpaulin, is a project for the Japanesque garden which will be revealed later this year!