It’s raining sideways outside so let’s use this as an opportunity to cosy-up inside and get back to where we left the Corner Border.
Marked out in 2014, a picture from late 2015 saw it still covered over with black landscape fabric and strewn with random rubbish from other parts of the garden. It would be Spring 2016 when I’d return to the Corner Border and actually start doing something with it.
Two years of being under cover had removed all the grass and weeds and just left bare “soil” (the quotes there are intentional). In clearing the border back to a blank canvas I also had to consider which inherited plants to keep and which ones to get rid of. It was easy to get rid of the hemerocallis – I know one reader who would be horrified at this – let me explain: it was a large, congested clump that produced only leaves. There was the odd flower that was the most putrid salmon-pink/yellow colour combination that I didn’t just dislike, but found actively revolting. Normally I would strive to keep inherited plants where possible and move them elsewhere at the worst, but this was one plant that went straight to the compost heap.
There was also a large rambling rose, I wanted to keep it but there wasn’t any structure I could support it against and it was too large and established to move. In the end, I decided to remove it, but compensated myself by buying lots of new roses for the garden in subsequent years.
We kept a mature Camellia shrub and a Euonymous that are still with us and thriving today.
I also needed to figure out how to handle the height difference which was over a foot (30cm) at the most. It was around this time that a neighbour offered up their not-got-round-to-it rockery. I’m not sure how it all came about, but essentially, one of the neighbours had a pile of stones they bought to create a rockery. An admirable aim but they never got round to it and over the years that pile of stones slowly became covered over with grass until they were a grounding hazard for their lawn mower.
So it was with my then-relatively-new wheel barrow that I relieved them of the problem by carting the stones away. While they offered the stones for free, I could have done with the delivery thrown in too. After carting lumps of stone around for an evening and breaking the back of the wheel barrow (and my own), I had a not-insignificant number of good-sized rockery stone that I would put to work on the Corner Border.
From the shape of the Corner Border, I had enough stone to make low walls on two sides. In the straight section I put a vertical low wall while the sort-of hypotenuse has a stepped wall. It was all dry-set – without concrete – which does risk movement as the soil settles but I wanted a more natural look with the option to fill in the gaps between the stones with plants. It would be like a mini version of the patio wall.
Over the summer I broke out the electric tiller and worked on incorporating new material (compost and well-rotten manure) and air into the existing soil, building the level up for the stonework and after a not-short period, ended up with a beautiful bank canvas of a border ready for planting.
After months of work, the best part of the project is finally here: planting the border! Though that’s going to have to wait until Part 3, so stay tuned for tales of perfect planting that perished to be followed by pondering post plight possibilities!