Today we spent a few hours improving the moisture content in the soil in our “Shade Border”. This is the only fully shaded part of our garden so it where we can grow plants that would not appreciate the brightness or warmth of the other sunnier borders. Here we have several Meconopsis Poppies in blue, white and cream, several varieties of Corydalis, some ferns and anemones. The first flowers appear on our Pulmonarias in blue, pink, red and white soon followed by the tiny blue flowers of Brunnera and the whites and pinks of the uniquely shaped Dicentras. The beautifully cut lace like foliage of various Corydalis provide a perfect foil for their nodding little flowers. These all flower when the deciduous shrubs along the fence are still skeletal. Once the leaves give extra shade overhead the Ferns, Anemones and my favourite nettle the Giant Red Deadnettle, Lamium orvala.
Our worry is that in periods of dry weather the bed gets too dry for these plants and they begin to suffer. We decided the only answer was to use seep hose. It took just an hour to perform this important task which we hope will make these shade-loving plants much happier in the warmer summer months.
Firstly we cut some tough galvanised wire into 12 inch lengths and bent them into pegs like giant staples. We laid the pipe across the surface of the border in a serpentine pattern, leaving one end exposed where a hose can be attached when needed.
We dug out a 3 inch deep trench alongside the hose, placed the hose into the trench and then pegged the hose down with the wire.
We added a good dose of our “black gold”, rich home made garden compost over the hose and then over the whole area. The compost in the trench will act as a wick for the water from the seep hose which we hope will slowly creep into the compost around the plants.
The final touch was to build a log pile out of rotting wood to attract beetles which are useful predators. They will help look after the plants for us.
We had to carry this out very carefully as the first sign of flowers had already begun. This red Pulmonaria is the first flower in the shade garden this year.