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We needn’t have bothered with a December shot. Were it not for the bad light in the rush to get it in the can as Storm Frank began his huffing and puffing all around us, you’d be hard pressed to differentiate it from November. In a ‘normal’ year many of the ferns, the deciduous varieties, would have already been felled by frost.




So there we have it. The year of The Precipitous Bank, which I’ve been linking to Helen’s End of Month View (here), has come to an end. This meme has been invaluable. Without the commitment to post a picture at the end of each month, looking as pristine as I can get it, I doubt I’d have had the discipline required to really make a difference to the bank.

It’s a long way from being a done deal. But it’s a start. There are plenty of things in there that still need to be removed. An overpopulation of ferns for one. Now I do love ferns, but when I first started work on the bank, ferns were pretty much all I had. Gradually I’ve been thinning and redistributing them into tasteful clumps which will contrast well with the new drifts of perennials.


The bank 3 Wm


June 2013


Apart from the wild foxgloves (also growing in the roof!) back in 2013 it was too overgrown, too green and much of that was ferns.

Given that we’re on a steep slope, and that Devon gets such a huge amount of rain, I’ve been wary of removing too many at any one time for fear of landslides. Particularly as I’ve taken away the ivy infested covering of chicken wire this year too..


Chicken wire 001 Wm[2]


As I plant new perennials and shrubs more of the old greenery comes out in the hope that the replacement roots will rapidly gain a foothold and re-stabilise the soil.


The bank 033 Wm[1]


The prairie planting scheme really got going as summer progressed and I will be adding to and refining it next year. It works exactly as I hoped it would, taking advantage of the sloping ground to show off each and every plant in its best light. The Anemanthele lessoniana (Pheasant’s tail grass), the large pink mound above, below and in the slideshow was perhaps a step too far given how large they become. I have a new home in mind for it and its siblings where they will be able to spread and create (with luck) a truly dramatic feature.


The bank 029 Wm[1]


The Californian Poppies (Eschscholzia californica) were another success. Once they established themselves, after a slow start, they continued in bloom all summer long.  I intend to seed many more of these come Spring.


The bank 018 Wm[1]


What of next year then? Well, I have a plan. The great benefit of working on the bank so religiously over the year is that it’s now relatively easy to maintain. Of course we will revisit it from time to time, as we have the terraces which formed the focus of the meme in 2014. But it’s time for me to move on and bring the same discipline to bear on another out of control part of the garden. And yes, it’s also on a slope. How could it not be? This is what happens when you start to evolve into a mountain goat. Meh-eh-eh!


The Precipitous Bank

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With all best wishes for a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2016 to you and yours.

See you next year!