Phase Two – The Potted Garden

So, from our previous rented home we had gathered a large number of pots.   We couldn’t plant anything in the garden there and we were so determined to have an area that we turned the top part of our driveway in to a small terrace garden.  I have to admit, what started as a few pots soon spiralled out of control and the whole place was covered.  When we came to move even the removal men were suprised by the number of planters and pots we had to load up.

When we got to the new place they were just positioned on some paving slabs (yes, more bloody paving slabs) at the front of the garden.  It was a small space and there was little you could do with it.  Some of the bigger plants, such as the Red Robin, Eunymous, Cotoneaster and Fatsia Japonica were planted in to the garden, along with all of the grasses, but that still left me with a fair few pots to deal with.

magdelen green garden 32 march 17

But, you know me, I wasn’t going to be content with this.  Having gotten the flower bed around the office sorted, I needed to crack on with sorting this area out before I could do the rest.  March was a busy month in the garden.  Spring was coming and I needed it to be ready.

First things first.  Remove all the dead plants, empty the pots and move them all out of the way.  Lift and remove the paving slabs.  Get rid of the dead turf from underneath them and create the space.

I didn’t want the area to come out as far as the paving slabs had previously, they took up a lot of space, and what I had in mind would lose impact if it was too spread out.

The space was measured and marked out and the digging began.

Unlike most of the garden with is thick and claggy with clay, this area was actually ok.  the soil was relatively normal.  Not sticky, but crumbly.  Why couldn’t the whole bloody garden be more like this area?

magdelen green garden 33 march 17

Area dug, but it would need some tlc.  It was fairly compacted because of the slabs, and I didn’t want it to be a flat bed.  It needed some height if it was going to work.  I dug it through to loosen the soil, and got to work with adding compost and top soil, building mounds to give it some interest.

Next up was repotting some of the planters and pots, plus some of the existing pots needed some nourishment and fresh compost adding to them.

Now to arrange the potted garden.  I can genuinely say, this was one of the most pleasing areas of the garden for me.  I love a plant pot, but I hate just having them plonked around.  I didn’t know if this was going to work or not, it could have looked awful.  I spent a long time moving pots and repositioning them.  Adding more soil and compost to create the height in the right places.  We also decided to plant the woven willow as it was too big for it’s container, and we needed to move the Flamingo Salix.  So I incorporated them both in to this garden.  We also added a Camelia, Nobilissima, one of my favourite plants at the bottom of the steps, a Clematis to grow up the veranda, and quite a lot of succulents to add some texture to the herbs and more feathery planting that was taking place.  For colour we added some Viola, and there were some existing Penstemon that were left in place to see if they would come back.  Along with these were the trees, the two I’ve already mentioned.  We had the alpine that was potted, but in the end we put it in the ground, the potted Mimosa, which was just a stick in a pot at this point, and an unknown tree that my dad had planted from seed but couldn’t remember what it was.  This year we would hope to find out.

magdelen green garden 34 march 17By the time it was all done, built up and the gravel added it had the beginnings of what could be a really lovely little area.  As bonus it actually looked like the vision I had in my head.  The pots looked more interesting, and if everything grew I hope this would be a lovely addition to the garden.  You could actually see the pots now.  I’d also managed to incorporate two pieces from my past as a chef – the old fish kettle and the massive stock pot.

The dead lawn would need sorting, but with some light digging, compost and grass seed that could all be fixed.  And it was.

My eyes were now fixed on the side of the house, the only part of the garden to get considerable shade – I might have found a new home for those ferns.

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