Phase 2 – August 2017

Well.  Here we are.  Just as I thought I was going to be writing about the current month we find ourselves in September so I still have to catch up with myself!  Although, a lot happened in August, this will really recap what we’ve achieved and to be honest, the first weekend of September will see nothing happen in the garden as we’re at a family wedding.  So technically this will be up to date.

Remember this?  This is what the garden looked like when we moved in to it on the 20th Magdelen Green Garden 2January 2016.    This is the blank canvas that we took on and decided to transform.  Knowing it would take several years to get to our end goal, but determined to start.  We set out our Phases for each year and when the ground defrosted we set to work.

Looking back at what the garden was, and where we are now, it’s hard to believe it’s the same space.  I feel incredibly proud of what’s been achieved in just 19 months.

Lets start with the final bits of work that took place in August.  A bit more time and love spent on the side of the house where the shaded plants will all be housed.  Not a lot more 20170829_104853_HDRdone here as a tip run is still needed so I can clear the rubbish and fully get to work, however the slabs are all in place and some more planting has been done in the way of Soleirolia soleirolii  “Mind Your Own Business” which I’m using to fill the gaps between the slabs and to eventually help soften their harsh edges.  

It doesn’t look much at the moment, but the Soleirolia is a fast growing, spreading plant that will soon fill in the gaps.  I’m also going to plant some thyme down there to add scent to the green carpet that will fill the top part of the pathway.

My hydrangeas, one of which was pretty much killed off by the extreme sunshine has come back from a bare twig to a beautiful lush green bush, no flowers this year, but it’s alive and that’s the main thing.

A bit more to do on this in September to finish clearing it out and then that will be it for the year.

The seating area in the second part of the garden is also now dug out and ready to be planted up.  Grit and compost have been added, although the soil is’t quite so clay heavy at this end, it’s still there so no harm in adding something to help.  The plants that are 20170828_130811_HDRgoing in there will love the nutrients from the clay soil, but will also be thankful for the help with drainage.  I even managed to encourage my 13yr old son out in to the garden to help me – he is responsible for the 100 Allium Bulbs that have gone in to the ground and we hope will form the basis of this bed and make it a lovely place to sit and take in the garden.  They will be joined by my Verbena Hastata, and the Mexican Feather Grass which I’ve been growing from seed.  Once the Alliums appear in the spring I’ll some more perennials to add balance and keep the bed interesting for a longer period of time.  After this photo was taken a stone bench was put in place between the fire pit and the bird bath.  All we need now is a table to cover the manhole cover.  My father’s bird bath will be moved to the top of the garden ready for Phase 3 to begin next year.

So there we have it.  That’s all nearly all of the heavy digging done in the garden and Phase 2 is nearly complete – just some moving of plants to do in the Autumn when it cools down a little bit for them.

I can look around the garden now, and I can see just how much we’ve done.  I can take in the beauty of the plants that have succeeded and I can take pride as I watch the bees and butterflies busying themselves.

It’s not perfect and there have been, and still are, and will continue to be, things that are wrong – either down to positioning or just not right for this garden.  It has been a monumental learning curve, a lot of sweat, some blood, the occasional tear and a bit of back pain and stiff knees!  We got there though.  And I am thrilled with the outcome so far.

From that first image of the snow covered lawn we have created the two first parts of the garden (only three more parts to go!).  There’s the entertaining bit, with the sunflower bed, wild flowers, pond and pergola.

And then there’s the office garden.

I’m planning a post about the Sunflowers we’ve grown from seed and loved this year, they have been a massive highlight for me, and also just to focus on some of the other plants that have bought us much needed colour and happiness this year.

I started this garden with limited knowledge of what I was doing, with limited skill or full understanding of exactly how much work was going to be involved, but I started it with the confidence that I would be able to do it.  And that with the help and support of my Husband we would get a garden that was more about us, more about how we wanted to live our lives together.  As I said, it’s not perfect, but I think we’ve achieved what we set out to do.  As I continue to work on it and continue to learn I would like to think that our little piece of tranquility will continue to develop and flourish around us.

If the Bees and Butterflies return next year in the numbers we’ve seen this year, I will be more than happy.

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