Regular readers may recall my visiting a rather beautiful garden a couple of years ago and falling in love with a hedge. This is Derry Watkins’ magical creation at her home near Bath. It’s also the site of the Special Plants nursery, where I may have indulged in the odd purchase or two. Well it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?
Ever since that visit I’ve been hatching a plan which we started to work on last Spring. There is very little formal structure in the garden chez rusty duck. The setting lends itself to something wilder, more naturalistic. The terraced borders come as close as it gets to formality. And the lawn. Elsewhere the planted areas tend to be defined by the paths that crisscross the site or the natural breaks provided by the trees.
But the relocation of the rhododendrons a couple of weeks back cleared the way for the final part of ‘Project Breakthrough’ and a rare bit of structural planting.
The hedge may need to grow a bit, but it will be in the filling out rather than any great increase in height. It doesn’t have Derry’s sinuous curves, the geography sees to that. The drop from the lawn to the next level down is at least 10 feet which is an awful lot of imported soil had we chosen to properly round off the corner. The hedge is Lonicera nitida rather than box. Less refined. Possibly less trouble in this day and age with the threats of blight and, more recently, the box tree caterpillar. But perhaps most significantly it was free.
There is an abundance of lonicera here, our predecessor constructed a number of hedges from it. The challenge was in locating specimens at just the right stage. Mostly, because they’ve been allowed to run wild, the plants are woody. And the youngest, mere seedlings, lacking the presence required for the hedge. Plants in the Goldilocks zone were few and far between. But we just about found enough.
Working on the edge comes with its challenges. We both fell off. Mike by misplacing his footing, me by sliding down the slope on my stomach when the earth gave way. The latter may have been captured by the field camera which I’d set up for the deer. I haven’t dared look. It won’t be featuring on the blog.
And then there was the inevitable “Oh
sh.. crumbs” moment. We had originally intended to have the acer arising from the middle of the hedge. All the plants on one side of it were located into their holes, bedded in and watered until we reached a point about a metre from the tree. And then we hit the impenetrable rootball. Best laid plans and all that. The curve had to be realigned to about a foot beyond the trunk and the soil level built up. And even then I could only find enough root space for the seedlings. They will just have to grow and catch up.
Next up, grass seed. It’s coming on.
Linking to Christina at My Garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day. Click through to see what other gardeners are doing with foliage this month.