Phase 3 – In the planning

Or rather in the re-planning.

When we moved in this was just another bit of waste grassland.  A nightmare to mow, really weedy and just horrible.  It was different to the rest of the lawn, different grass, different feel.  Spongy and horrible to walk on and lacking in interest.

To the side and behind the garage that can’t be accessed (a long story for another time perhaps) there is another small bit of wasted land.  In this there is a massive Buddleia tree, a shed load of nettles and bindweed and other plants that I don’t recognise, all weeds and all taking over the whole area.  It’s also full of crap that the previous owners left behind – a cast iron day bed, roof tiles, more paving slabs, loads of featherboard and scrap wood.

As we’ve been concentrating on the main part of the garden this has, on the whole, taken a bit of a back set.  Reserved for Phase 3 in 2018.

I did make a start on the bigger exposed part in 2016, as you may recall from previous blogs I planted four small trees, about 24 Hazel’s and then covered the majoriy in membrane and bark to try and get some control of the weeds and grass up there.

Our dream for this area hasn’t changed.  Behind the garage we always said we’d make it in to a little secret garden entrance via the coppice/woodland area.  We just haven’t done it yet.  To be fair, we’ve done quite a lot to the rest of the garden so we’re ok with this.

20170910_074707However, the neglect has taken it’s toll.  The weeds are more rampant than before.  The bind weed has really taken ahold of the area behind the garage, you can now just make out the rubbish poking out from the lush green leaves.  The bindweed is clearly very happy here.

On the other side, only a few bits of grass remain having broken it’s way through the membrane and bark, some bind weed has managed to make it’s away across the bark, however hasn’t managed to root in the ground so just pulling up the 6-8ft lengths you can clearly see the roots coming away as they’ve only managed to grow in the bark above the membrane.  yay!

I’m really happy with the Hazel trees.  They were 30-60cm when planted a year ago and now many of them stand at 120cm+ and they’ve really bushed out.  At this rate I’m hoping to be able to start coppicing next year – then I just have to teach myself to bend and weave!  Another project to take on.  It will be nice to be able to make some screen from the plants I’m growing however.

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The reason I’ve started on Phase 3 now instead of waiting until 2018 is this:  It’s my birthday this weekend, well Monday, and one of my presents from my husband is a weeping Birch Tree, Betula pendula ‘Youngii’ or Young’s Weeping Birch.

He has always wanted a weeping willow, however in our garden this wouldn’t be an ideal tree to plant.  The havoc they can cause to drainage systems just isn’t worth the risk.

With the plan to this area in to a woodland and meadow area we looked around for other options.  I’ve always loved Silver Birch, probably my favourite tree.  Again, not ideal as they tend to grow to around 20m+, we needed something smaller.  And we found this birch.  We agreed and he bought me one.

So this meant I had to start Phase 3 and planning it out with a rough sketch.  So that’s where we are.

This morning at 7am I found myself up the garden pulling back the membrane to find grass and weed free ground.  Very wet, but easy to break up soil that feels lovely.  Not as heavy clay as some of the areas in the garden which was a bit of a relief, but definitely clay present.  20170910_081106_HDR

So, with some clearing of bind weed and some of the bigger weeds, the tree is now in it’s position.   And there it will stay.

I’ve put the membrane back down and spread the bark out again – I’m happy for this to mix in and break down in the soil.  I want to keep as much as I can for the final plan as I’ll still need a pathway to go through this area.  Other than a bit more clearing and removing the small the trees from last year I won’t get much more done to it this year, and to be honest I want to hold out until next year so that I have a nice project to work on in 2018.  I also need time to plan it properly and decide what plants I want to go for.  Plus I think we will need to hire a skip and clear all the crap out once and for all.

So that’s it, Phase 3 has officially started, and then officially been put back on hold again until next year.

That’s something for you all to look forward to 🙂

I shall leave you with the rough sketch, clearly not to scale, but just to get an idea.  If anyone can recommend any good woodland plants that would work well please let me know, this is a new venture and with little knowledge of this type of planting.

20170910_084737

The main area does get sunshine most of the day, but I’m hoping the Birch will provide dappled shade, as will the Hazels for most of the afternoon.  Only the top corner will be exposed where I’ve put the nettles (for wildlife purposes) and the meadow flowers/grasses.  Behind the garage is completely in shade due to the building and the massive buddleia, plus there’s a 6ft high fence running across the back of the garden.

Advice and tips appreciated.

thanks guys.

Paul x

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