It’s Spring but I’m still knee-deep in “winter” maintenance, that doesn’t stop me from looking around the garden and wondering what the plan for this year should be.
There will be the usual (and countless) little tasks: thinning the bamboo stems here, moving and dividing perennials there, pruning the fruit trees, planting out the potted dahlias and weeding.
Besides all that continuous churn, there are some big-ticket items in the garden that I am wondering about and oddly enough, they all centre on the same part of the garden.
About two-thirds of the way down the garden, there is an abrupt end to all the borders and the area opens out into a wide, formal rectangle of grass whose long edge stretches the entire width of the garden from hedge to hedge.
The marked-out borders on the right form a straight line; it looks wonky because while my ruler is straight, the ground isn’t. To the top left of the picture is the straight edge of the Landing Pad and just coming into the picture from the mid-left is a scrappy area that needs to be cleared up.
So, there are several things needed here. The first is to mark out the final line of this grass rectangle by tidying up one of the last “wild’ parts of the garden and – shock horror – seeding some grass to complete the rectangle. In the picture, this is moving the stack of cut bamboo to somewhere else, disposing of the used landscape fabric, taking out the ivy and self-seeded Goat Willow trees, levelling the area, marking out the new border line and finally sowing the grass seed.
Given that we’re in optimum grass-sowing season right now, I’d better get my skates on if I want to get this job done and not be out watering the grass seed every evening in summer.
Across from this messy area, one of the marked-out borders has been expanded (yet) again to give a straight edge for the Rectangle. It’s a shame that the expansion has covered some of the softest and greenest moss in the garden but the sacrifice is for OCD aesthetics.
This intimidatingly, overwhelmingly, stupendously, ridiculously, absurdly large border will be for winter interest (along the back) and late-summer herbaceous plants and grasses at the front. Right now, the landscape fabric covering it has become worn with time and it needs covering over again as the grass is starting to reclaim it.
We reluctantly decided to take out three inherited hydrangea that were growing in the middle of this expanse of fabric, but if we see hydrangea at the garden centre that we like, then we’ll certainly replace them.
Another straight edge for the Rectangle is the Landing Pad, which is still not yet finished. This will be the third year in the making of this area but the only parts left now are to remove that final strip of landscape fabric and dump another few tonnes or so of compost and manure, mix in well and bring the border forward to the line. Oh – and plant-up.
A quick job after all the above is finished, is to take these Eryngium and move them across to the Landing Pad, where they will get a lot more sun, and less water. The gap this leaves will probably be filled with hydrangea, thus restoring the karma for the ones we had to remove.
This is the first time I am actually working on a piece of grass as opposed to a specific border. It’s also the first time I’ve given a piece of grass in the garden a name, usually only the borders have this privilege. The Rectangle (if anyone has a better name, please let me know) is formed from the straight edges of the Landing Pad, Fruit Avenue, the Crescent, the Semi-Circular Border and an as-yet un-named and un-made border.
I’m not planning to have any borders, nor any trees or individual specimen plants within the Rectangle, it will just be a formal area of grass framed by borders and hedges. However, it will contain one very special centre-piece and some of the pictures in recent posts give a clue as to what will finally “make” the Rectangle after its surrounding border edges are complete.