Saturday, 24 October 2015

Garden sleepers and sand cuttings

I've been making the most of the mild weather we've been getting here. It's extremely unusual for the wind to be as absent as it has been for the past few weeks and I dare say we'll soon return to the usual windy conditions but until then I'm making the most of what we have.

I had promised myself that I wouldn't make a start on any more hard landscaping until I had caught up and cleared the rest of the garden which has been neglected all year but I couldn't help myself, I have hundreds of plants waiting to be put into the garden and want it all ready for them in spring. These poor plants have been housed in pots for too many years now and they're beginning to show signs of stress so it's important that I make them a home ready.
With this in mind I decided to build a retaining wall out of old old railway sleepers, these sleepers have seen better days to be honest but I have heaps of them and I needed a retaining bed to add some height for the shrubs I want to plant in there.
I've only managed a small section so far - these things weigh a ton and have to be reinforced at the back to prevent them falling - but once I have them all in place I will board the fences behind the sleepers and then fill them with top soil.

I haven't made the border too wide once it's filled because a) I had to consider the amount it would take to fill and b) I'm only putting shrubs in there.
The ground in front of the sleepers is going to be dug out and curved so that I can plant perennials and then I'll put a decking or patio to the front of that.

The fence to the right of the wall is an aviary so I''l grow some honeysuckle up that but that back fence will eventually be replaced by a solid wall so I have to make sure any soil retaining boards I put up can stand by themselves until the wall is built.
I also have to add approximately another 4 bays of sleepers to the top left as it's a large area.

A job even more tedious than digging in sleepers is the cleaning of this decking. All those small harling chips are well and truly wedged, I tried to convince myself that I didn't care but I couldn't live with the look. Besides the decking needs sanding and re-treating so I have to keep at it a bit every day - it's soooooooo boring.

There are two plants in particular that I have never managed to propagate with any success - Cornus and Philadelphus. I'm not sure what I do wrong, I've followed instructions to the letter and yet no matter what method I have used the years of trying have totalled 1 Cornus and 2 Philadelphus. Last year I tried a technique of shoving cuttings in sand but after I did them I damaged my back and completely forgot about them. When I emptied the bucket though all the now dead cuttings showed obvious root growth so a few months ago I gave it another go.
I basically filled a tub with very damp sand, shoved Cornus and Philadelphus cuttings in, tightly packed, then inserted the tub into a large white bin liner, tied it up and left it.
2 days ago I decided to turn it out and see what had happened, I knew they must have rooted because everything was still alive but I was amazed with the results - out of approx 20 cuttings of each I lost literally only 1 or 2.

Suffice to say I am really happy with the results and will most certainly be doing alot more next year with many other types of plants.
Now I just need to add them to the hundreds of other plants desperately needing to lay down roots in the garden.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

A day in the autumn garden

I finally have some control back of my garden.
We've had scaffolding around the house of late while Mr TG did all the harling to the house and it meant that I had to watch as my lovely borders got trampled and damaged and the grass was used to store all sorts of buckets, spades, wheelbarrows etc etc.
I had resigned myself to the damage pretty early on in the year and accepted that I wouldn't be able to do much gardening this year other than any structures that I wanted to build.
It's all go, go, go now. While half the house still needs harling the actuall garden area is pretty much finished, the scaffold is down, the base of the house has been cleared and Mr TG even sorted drainage out for me on the grass.
So for the last couple of days I've been taking stock and looking to see what has been damaged beyond all help (just 1 Fuchsia Genii by the looks of it), clearing debris away, digging over the beds and attempting to clear up the decking. All those tiny harling chips have wedged themselves between the decking planks despite us using poly to keep the area clear and it's taking me an age to get them all out.

Despite Autumn being here the weather has been very mild, in fact we've had nicer weather over the lastcouple of weeks then we had all summer - the wind has been non existant which is a very welcome relief as it's usually a constant here.
My garden doesn't have much autumnal colour and literally no winter appeal - something I intend to rectify - so I've been out catching the last of the colour that is hanging on.

I'm not sure what the colour wheel says but I'm thinking that these are two colours that wouldn't necessarily be deliberately put together. I did though and to be honest I quite like the bright orange of the Crocosmia and the pink of the Fuschia 'Tom Thumb'. In fact I like it so much I'm going to do more of it next year.

Another view of that Crocosmia, Fuschia and a blue Hydrangea in the foreground (Zorro).

It's so nice to finally have pretty background walls in the photo and because this is south facing this area is going to be a lovely hot area next year. I've got as much as the clay soil out as I can over the last few years so plenty of things are happy to grow here, including all those in the above pix. I'm hoping to add Cordylines or Palms to this area.

The pond lillies are still flowering away.

This is my favourite Fuschia of all time! I've had this particular one for years, in fact it's the one I slipped a back disc a few years ago trying to pick up and move. This year I've fed it religiously and have spent a ridiculous amount of time dead heading - obviously worth it as it's still flowering like this.
Despite it being my favourite Fuschia I have forgotten the name of it.