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A Tale of Two Gardens – Part 2 – Esme’s Garden

After enjoying a couple of hours and fine refreshments at Nancy’s home town garden we drove a short way to her other garden which is dedicated to her mother-in-law, Esme.

Through a gap between two rows of terraced cottages we discovered a narrow grass pathway between hedges on one side and gardens on the other. An open gate within the hedge invited us to enter the magical world of Esme’s Garden.

We thought Nancy’s home garden was something special but what awaited us at Esme’s was simply amazing, a large beautifully designed space packed with interest. Again the planting was beautifully and thoughtfully put together and the use of foliage exceptional. A network of paths, arches and path junctions directed us around borders packed with trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials.

 

There were Gothic touches throughout the garden and Nancy herself had created a great folly at the bottom of the garden, which impressed us all.

There is so much to enjoy at Esme’s Garden that I think the best way to share the garden with you is to create a gallery of my photos. As usual click on the first pic then navigate using the arrows.

 

 

So now I have shared both of Nancy’s gardens with you and I now presume like me you think she is one amazing gardener. Just thinking about creating and maintaining two gardens makes me breathless!

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diy garden buildings garden design gardening gardens grasses hardy perennials herbs ornamental grasses Shropshire

Developing 3 new spaces – Part 2 – the new roof garden

The final new garden we developed early in 2017 was our second roof garden here at Avocet. To find out about our first green roof refer to my post called “Growing up! Making a green roof.” published back in April 2013.

This, our second roof garden, was created when we got rid of one of our garden sheds and moved a smaller one into its place. (see the post entitled “Three Sheds into Two will Go”)

We constructed a strong framework around the shed in timber so that the roof garden itself was putting no extra stress on the shed roof itself. We then added a new floor to the roof garden from strong floorboards which we waterproofed with two layers of roofing felt. In order to make it ready for the planting media we added a layer of weed membrane to allow for drainage and to retain the compost. We created a drainage channel filled with gravel. The final stage of preparation was adding a layer of light weight compost which was carefully leveled.

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Time to plant! It always seems strange planting when up a ladder!

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The green roof is the exciting finishing point in our shed project. The first phase of planting really made us feel as if we had completed our work with the three sheds, which had now been turned into two! The plants were a selection of grasses, Incinia rubra, a selection of Carex and Stipa tenuissima but more will follow soon. Flowering plants included a selection of small Sedums, Sedum tricolor, S. telephinium ss riprechtii “Hab Gray”, S. ewersii and S. cauticola Coca Cola plus two scented Violas, V. odorata sulphurea and V. odorata Konigin Charlotte, a low growing Sedum-like plant Chiastophyllum opositifolium and a variegated Trifolium, T. pratense “Susan Smith”.

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Job done!

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garden wildlife gardening gardens log piles natural pest control recycling wise watering

A bit of work on our shade border.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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garden buildings

Building a new log store

Why do piles of logs neatly stacked always look so good in a garden? They are somehow welcoming indicating perhaps that inside there awaits the comfort of an open log fire or roaring log burner. We have always stored our logs under the overhang alongside our front door, which smells lovely as you approach or as you open the door in the morning. That lovely smell of cut wood.

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However this summer we have had a wood burner fitted in our conservatory so we need more wood storage. We had logs piled in any vacant space we could find around the house and garden. In the picture below these logs are piled up leaning against my fishing storage shed on the edge of the path between the shed and our garage. It was all getting a bit annoying.

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The answer was another wood shed and in a rash moment I decided I could make one! I decided I would design and construct one that would store a whole load of logs and at the same time hide the refuse wheelie bins.

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Well I did manage but will admit it did take a few weeks to achieve.

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But I have to say I am rather pleased with the end result. Now I must telephone Ben the woodsman for a trailer load of logs. I feel sure the logs will be well-seasoned as I have allowed for plenty of air movement and it should get plenty of sun.