Thursday, 16 February 2012

woodland garden - island bed planted

The best bit of gardening is planting ..... if you've been slaving for months to get to that point.

If you've followed this blog you'll know that this neglected end of the site had not had attention for around twenty years. Overgrown sycamores, diseased horse chestnuts; bramble & thistle; dessicated impoverished soil all needed our attention. We've mattocked and dug, manured and mulched to get to this point ........ and heaved heavy logs into position to create edges. But that is behind us now that we have almost completed this phase of the woodland garden.

 We've planted Yellow Dogwood (cornus sericea 'Flaviramea') and sweet scented Christmas Box (sarcacocca confusa) to continue the rhythm establshed in the first wave of planting. We've added Lilyturf (liriope muscari) for late summer flower and dryopteris erythrosora and Harts Tongue fern (asplenium scolopendrium)  as these ferns are likely to be happier in the dry shade we offer here.

We had lifted a lot Elephants Ears (bergenia cordifolia) from my aunts and planted them at our allotment. Today, they moved to their new home and embrace the trunk of the horse chestnut that is at the centre of the bed.

Oriental helebore (helleborus orientalis) has been planted in this bed, some distance from Christmas Rose (helleborus niger) in an attempt to prevent cross-fertilsation between these attractive family members!

Spectacular Winged Spindle (euonymus alatus) has been planted and we hope it will burn with red foliage in the autumn.

I'm pleased that we've remained true to our principles and made a place in both beds for our native elder (sambucus nigra).

Native primroses (primula vulgaris) have been dotted around the planted areas and around sixty clumps of snowdrops (galanthis nivalis) wait to be transferred into this end of the woodland garden when flowering is finished.

We've fixed bird boxes to complement our first bat box and were delighted when a pair of blue tits began exploring one of the nest boxes within hours of us tying it in its position. I need to look out for a broad, shallow container that can be a bird bath and source of drinking water for birds and insects.

There are still gaps, but now, it's time to let the plants grow and we can sit and watch their progress over the coming months.  Jill sees this bed as a 'stock plants bed' from which plants will be transferred to other parts of the woodland garden as they bulk up.

Inevitably, our minds will turn to 'Woodland Garden phase 2' which will begin in the autumn of 2012.
Here's a view down the woodland garden towards the west. The next phase will be the planting of 'The Nuttery' with plans for hazels and filberts, walnuts and almonds. This section of the woodland garden will be screened by a beech or hazel hedge so that one moves through different 'rooms' on a journey through the garden.





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