Fork. Secateurs. Crampons?


The Precipitous Bank


I never promised you a rose garden.. ♫ ♫

But I did suggest that for this year’s End of Month View I might give myself something more of a challenge.


You’ve seen the Precipitous Bank featured before on the blog, but not recently. That’s because, frankly, it’s a mess. Last year my focus was elsewhere and it shows. Working on the slope is hard. It averages out at a angle of about 45 degrees. There are flatter bits and there are near vertical sheer drops. It’s this slope that the previous owner covered with chicken wire. And to add to the misery the soil here is clay. Slippery in the wet. Difficult to work at any time, even on flat ground.

It’s not an ideal location to potter away an odd half an hour between the ironing and that excellent new programme on the telly. Apart from the difficulty of clambering up (or down) to the particular spot in need of the work, so much of the time would be spent preparing, in the gathering together of all of the necessary tools. The normal gardening kit of course, plus wire cutters, the multiplicity of elements that comprise the drip feed irrigation system (hand watering would be impossibly onerous here) and a receptacle for weeds that will sit comfortably on the slope and not tumble headlong to the bottom as soon as it gets half full. It’s like getting ready for an assault on Everest. After all, would you really want to scramble back up to the top of the border, hike down the drive and all the way round the house to the shed to get the ball of string that for some inexplicable reason got left behind?


The bank 3 Wm


This was the view a couple of years ago, lush in the Devon rain, with a conveniently placed blogger to give a better impression of scale. I’d cleared it out partially since then but weeds have once again taken over and filled in the gaps. It needs more colour and greater interest in both texture and form. New planting should achieve this and reduce the amount of bare earth where weeds can grow.

This year, with Helen’s useful meme providing the all important incentive, I will crack it.


The bank 008 Wm[3]


The Precipitous Bank is seen from both sides. This is the view from the drive, which cuts diagonally across the face of the hillside. If anything, it looks even steeper from here.

It’s one of the few places in the garden that gets full sun and where I can successfully grow perennials. Not ideal for low maintenance I know, but I will select those that as far as possible look after themselves and which I can combine successfully with lower growing flowering shrubs. The challenge, as with the terraces, will be in achieving the correct balance of relative plant heights. Except that here I haven’t got the benefit of stone walls to provide natural breaks.

The first job, as soon as the weather gets a bit warmer and the soil less soggy, will be to cut back the dead stems from last summer and restore a bit of order. At the bottom of the slope, in the turning circle, Mike intends to complete relocation of ‘The Heap’. Autumn rain put the kibosh on that. It’s a heap of solid clay. Once that is done we’ll cut back the semi-circular hedge to about a third of its current height. There’s a tiny glimpse of the river from here.. just above the left side of the mound of earth. The hedge trimming should bring it fully into view.


So there we have it. The project for this year. Simples.

Wish me luck?


Linking up with Helen’s End Of Month View (here) at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog. Click through to find out what other gardeners are up to this month.