Garden Blog - Blog Post

The Straight-and-Narrow


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.

The Rectangle? the Cricket Pitch? The Bowling Green?

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.

A huge border now expanded to be colossal

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.

Still Not-Yet-Finished Landing Pad

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.

Sea Holly in temporary accommodation

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.

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author & gardener

Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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Susan Maclean 06/05/2019 - 7:54 am

Morning Sunil! Well, busy boy, it’s all looking wonderful. And that grassed rectangle? Do you have friends/family over in the summer? What a lovely “outside dining room” that would make…. only saying.

You might look at my blog today and see what’s about at Pine Tree Cottage – but particularly the most wonderful iris “Langport Wren”. I am in love!

If you are thinking of a weekend away this Summer – and of course other UK readers of Sunil’s blog, here is news of a Plant Fair in Somerset. – Sunday 7 July 10.00 – 4.00 at Lower Severalls, Crewkerne. Lower Severalls is a wonderful B and B – breakfast beyond amazing and the house itself is lovely (and so is it’s garden). Here is a link that shows lots of other gardens in the area.

Sunil 14/05/2019 - 8:56 pm

Hi Mrs Mac, the idea is that we can put some tables along this long grassy bit an have dinner outside but the only trouble is that it is a little bit of a walk from the house and so its a pay to cart all the tables, chairs crockery, cutlery, glasses and food out!

gardeninacity 08/05/2019 - 3:52 pm

Not a bad thing to leave an area of grass – if for no other reason than to avoid being overwhelmed by all the borders you are installing! I sometimes think that I went too far in digging up lawn and putting in beds and borders.

Sunil 14/05/2019 - 8:49 pm

Hello Jason, I like to keep a 50-50 ratio between grass and borders. It suits me best being exactly halfway.

casa mariposa 11/05/2019 - 11:13 pm

I like a bit of peaceful green in a garden. I wish I could grow some type of lawn substitute in my shady back garden to put my hammock on but it’s just not going to happen. The green lawn gives the eye a resting place from everything else going on and provides a beautiful contrast to the borders.

Sunil 14/05/2019 - 8:51 pm

Hi Tammy, there’s always artificial grass if the real stuff simply won’t grow. We don’t have a hammock though, I envy you that!


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