Garden Blog - Blog Post

Between a Path and a Rock Wall


The first rockery wall I built on the corner border had me single-handedly hauling the sizeable stone pieces from next-door’s garden across to mine (they wanted rid of it so I got it for free). There was probably well over a tonne of it and it put many permanent dents in the wheelbarrow. I’m sure I said at the time that I would never do it again.

I was kind of right as the new border under the trees that I’m working on at the moment also now features a rockery wall. We had to pay for the stone this time but at least I had help moving all the pieces to the back, making the job much, much easier. It was all carted in the same wheelbarrow as well, for nostalgia. This border at the back doesn’t have a name yet, so I call it the Willow Border, because there is a large goat willow that marks one corner of it and this tall, spreading tree spans most of the border, giving it some dappled shade, making it suitable for tough woodland plants.

The new “Willow Border” is the area that was used as a dumping ground for all sorts of garden rubbish, that’s now finally all gone. It was also covered in weeds, stones, branches, sticks, leaves and other detritus. That’s all gone too. There was a short section of fence that divided up the space with a sort-of old compost heap on one side and what was an old “border” on the other. The fence was all a bit bent and mangled. That’s now gone too, deep rusted metal ground stakes and all. So have a load of self-seeded trees that would have caused problems.

The border was taken back to a blank canvas with the exception of a small, bedraggled white rhododendron, which I cut back and is now growing strongly, free from the surrounding rubbish and weeds. I spent some time carefully edging the side facing the Rectangle, and the side facing the Landing Pad. However, as I got toward the large pines at the back, the border became more difficult to edge with all the tree roots getting in the way. I solved the problem by artfully switching to the low rockery wall. This sweeps towards and in between the two large pines the border edge sits on.

Along the back, I set a couple of sleepers bracketed by left over rockery stone to mark a path against the back fence. With these securely in place, I filled the path in with wood chips (also known as woodland mulch), keeping the sleepers proud because they do look nice and weren’t cheap. The brand-new, just-made, pristine appearance all looks very nice (even if I do say so myself). We’ll have to see how it ages over the years as the border is filling in with planting.

We won’t be able to dig over the Willow Border with our electric tiller – as we have done with the other borders in the garden – because of the tree roots from several pines, beech trees, rhododendrons and of course, the large willow. Instead, I’ll decant the compost out of the compost heap and top-up the rest with well-rotted manure. This will be a large “no dig” border so it will be interesting to see how the plants put here establish and grow compared to the rest of the garden.

The edging of this border has been more involved than the others, but it’s done now. There are no other borders to edge – other than for maintenance – and so another domino falls on the way to completing the garden restoration.

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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 02/07/2020 - 7:39 pm

going to be good!! I can’t wait (as always) to see next year’s pics.

Sunil Patel 04/07/2020 - 7:27 pm

Thanks, Mrs Mac, I’ll be starting the soil preparation for the border soon, once I get a few maintenance jobs out of the way.

casa mariposa 07/07/2020 - 2:40 am

That will be fabulous!! Way to go, you!!

Sunil 07/07/2020 - 9:38 am

Thanks, Tammy, I just want to get the soil prep out of the way so I can spend oodles of time (and I guess, money) on the planting part, dreaming of all the things I can put in there and imagining what it would look like when developed and mature!

Jason Kay 08/07/2020 - 3:44 am

Very nicely done!

Sunil 21/07/2020 - 5:59 pm

Thanks Jason. I don’t know why this comment went into Spam!? It’s a good job I found it – I’m not ignoring you!

Jean 23/07/2020 - 9:23 pm

How satisfying to see a former waste space turned into a beautiful new planting. The edging looks great! I’ll be eager to see more of this area as it develops.

Sunil 24/07/2020 - 2:19 pm

Thanks, Jean. I am very eager to get this area done and planted. The next step is decanting the compost heap onto it (the decomposed bits at least). I’ve been distracted with other areas though and also had to do some summer maintenance (pruning and such-like). I’m hoping to be able to make some progress on this in late July and then comes the fun part of planting up – the best part of any border creation.


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