I am off back to Spain tomorrow to start knocking our garden back into shape. My friend Karl has kindly looked after it for two weeks and my wife has been looking after it for the last week. Who knows what I will find, my wife’s only hint of what is to come was to ask me whether the Beef tomatoes that I had planted were Cherry tomatoes.
Anyway, just time for a little bit of English gardening. Our daughter Sarah has a small town style walled garden which has artificial lawn some trellis for climbers and a stone filled small border under an Acer. The garden has been developed in this way to cope with the predations of her two dogs Harley and Alfie, who have been known to eat the odd plant or two.
17 June: Things I have been doing today
👀 Reviewing how Sarah’s garden works. From the first photo below you can see that the garden has two clematis on trellis that are both overgrown and are collapsing the wooden trellis structure beneath them. Also, the pots on the wall at the back do not do enough to draw your eye down this narrow part of the garden. The second photo shows the stoned bed under the Acer which has been left unplanted since the last time the dogs ate all the plants.
🔨 Refitting the trellis. When you have heavy fast growing plants growing up trellis it is a fair bet that at some time they are going to pull it down; unless you keep them tightly trimmed (which means losing flowers). To overcome this in Sarah’s garden we trimmed the plants so heavily they looked like Elvis joining the army in GI Blues. Then instead of trellis we used strong wire attached to hooks and vine ties that are tightened to hold the wire taut. The wires were spaced at 30cm apart running across the wall for 2.5 metres. As the plants recover from their scalping they can then be encouraged up and along the wires to spread out over a growing space of roughly 2.5 metres wide by 2 metres high, thereby giving them more space to display themselves and producing a more even weight distribution.
🌺 Drawing your eye down the garden. My original thought was to put Virginia Creeper or Boston Ivy at the back which would have given lovely greenery turning to deep red in the Autumn. The downside of this is that both plants are poisonous to dogs. The upside would have been no more plant chewing. After discussion and Sarah threatening to report me to the RSPCA we decided against this. Instead we removed the pots, replanted them with fuchsias and re-sited them down the patio stairs. In their place we put a Cobaea Scandens which may sound like a scandal involving Jeremy Corbyn in a Norwegian newspaper, but is in fact a fast growing climber which has lots of flowers. Again we placed this on wire with vine ties.
The first photo below shows the newly trimmed climbers and the Cobea on the back wall. This looks nothing at the moment, but before the end of summer it will all start to fill out and lead your eye down this part of the garden. The re-sited pots can be seen in the second photograph, notice that they follow the fall of the stairs; if they did not do this your eye would constantly be drawn to them for all the wrong reasons.
🌿 Planting the small stone bed. The stone bed had to fulfill two functions. Firstly, it had to be interesting all year. Secondly, it had to be not too interesting that the dogs would fancy it for salad. Here we planted Euonymous golden, a small slow growing variegated evergreen shrub that will provide interest all year and in a few years can be cut into topiary shapes (a bone perhaps).
The photograph below shows the finished garden with Harley the dog checking out which plants are potentially the tastiest.