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Monday
Apr062015

Garden diary - it is begun

Forgive another long bout of radio silence. We had no internet connection at home, and I've been slack. Now, however, I do have a good internet connection at home (although I may still be slack). We've been up to all sorts, but the two week break in Florida probably did most to recharge my batteries - with vitamin D if nothing else!

The garden is still predominantly a patch of mud, but now I have big plans for it. They look a lot like they've been scribbled on the back of a fag packet, and require far too much pointing and explaining to post up here. But I do now have some idea what I want to put where and what will join the various bits and so on. The slightly trickier bits are the execution of said plans: they require lots of levelling of shed and patio bases, preparation for turf, paving and the like. So we're still drawing breath and pausing before really getting going on the tough stuff.

The grey of the mud patch has been starting to get to me though, even with the amount of grass that is trying to force its way through. So when we popped to see my parents this weekend, we couldn't turn down a trip to their local(ish) nursery, Simpson's in Fordham. We knew the garden had to have a cherry tree, and Simpson's normally do a good line in all sorts of trees. We probably should have stuck to just one, but they were half price, so we got two. That meant a drive back with 5 people in the car and two trees sticking out of the sun roof. Then we had to get the two trees out of Mum and Dad's large Lexus and into our tiny Audi A1 (no sun roof) for the 2.5 hour trip home. I lost a game of shotgun to two trees. Still, all four of us made it, pretty much none the worse for wear.

We planted the trees (labels preserved for posterity here) yesterday on opposite sides of the garden.

This is a droopy (not an entirely technical term), dark pink one that apparently flowers in Spring:

Prunus pendula 'Pendula Rubra'

And this is a more upright one with white flowers, apparently in Autumn/Winter, with a Mickey Mouse bird bath for company that our friend Pat bought for us as advance payment for staying with us on her retirement trip to the UK later this year:

Prunus x subhirtella 'Autumnalis'

We've also potted up a couple of blueberries that our friend Steamer gave us as a house warming present. Those are going to live on the patio, each side of the doors to the conservatory. Hopefully that will be close enough together for the bees to find their way from one to the other, and close enough to the house for me to eat the blueberries before the birds. We've just put a load of violas in with them - not sure what they will make of the ericaceous compost, but I guess we'll find out! I've mulched around the two trees with two 50l bags of compost, and put the rest of the violas in that. I'm sticking with the no-dig approach where I can (although we're planning on rotavating once, particularly under the lawn) This soil will need masses of compost to make it even halfway decent, so I'm going to stick with spreading it on the top and hoping the worm population will step up to the plate and drag it down into the clay beneath. I have seen some (small) worms, so there is some hope. 50l bags of compost are not an affordable long-term strategy, but it gets things started.

The two trees in their islands of compost do look slightly incongruous, I'll admit. But I feel better for getting something growing. I'm going to try for some annuals too, so we don't have to worry about them if I get the lines of the beds slightly wrong. It is begun!

Tally so far:
100l of General purpose compost
90l of Ericaceous compost

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