It’s a new year so it must be time for a new border – not that I restrict myself to just one annually. Unfortunately, I don’t really have a “before” picture, but imagine a narrow strip in front of a lounge bay window that was previously filed with some boring euonymus, dead heather and weedy grass. It’s in the front garden, visible to all who pass and to all who visit. It’s a miserable eye-sore and it has to be re-vamped.
First step is to take everything out, all of it. No use fiddling around any existing plants that you might want to keep. It all has to go, the weeds, the dead plants and that dull euonymus. Take it right back to a blank canvas:
This is no time for small mercies – the only thing to save is that wire coming out through the window, anchored by the brick and running under the gravel to power the christmas lights at the front. The soil level was a little high (see the damp course), so it was round with the wheelbarrow to take out several loads of soil to lower the level. Once that was one, it was time to add the rocket fuel:
This plant fuel is a mix of bonemeal for slow release fertiliser for the roots, potash to help flowering and wood ripening and Gro-More general fertiliser to cover everything else. When that was done, I ungracefully carted round several bags of manure and compost that would have been light as a feather had they not been saturated with all the rain we’ve had. Tipping those in, I brought out a brand new toy that will effortlessly mix it all in without back-breaking manual digging.
I was exceedingly happy and bouncing off the walls when I received an electric tiller as a present to help me mix and work the soil in the borders that I’m making. I used it for the side border and I used it again to mix the fertiliser, manure, compost and soil together in this new front border. The tiller mixes and blends the soil to a tilth so fine it’s to die for. Five 80 ltr bags of manure and three 60 ltr bags of compost went into this small section and by the time I had mixed it all in with this baby, you could only tell by looking very closely. The tiller is like a whisk that blends the ingredients and whips air into the soil, it creates a wonderful light, airy, crumbly textured soil (given the right mix of manure, soil and compost) and is perfect to break up heavy compaction. For me, this is very important as the soil we have is heavy, easily waterlogged, compacted and starved of air. The disadvantage of the tiller is that it isn’t worm friendly, but I’m hoping that there will be some that survived and will eventually re-colonise in this rejuvenated soil.
The best bit at the end was inserting the bamboo skewers into the ground to imagine where I want to plant the roses that I have earmarked for this space. It’s going to mean an online trip to David Austin (I love their English roses and have several already). I have (perhaps over enthusiastically) marked out space for seven of them. I say there’s no point in being mean about it; I want this border to be overflowing with roses, the brick wall at the edge barely able to contain the shrubs. There’s enough fuel in the ground to get them going, all I need now is to decide which ones I want, get them ordered and wish for a weekend with some decent weather to get them in the ground and get them growing away. I wonder if they will flower in the same season?
I’ve been looking forward to sorting out this border for ages and I’m so excited that I am nearly there with another border, reclaimed and restored.