Just a couple of pictures to update you on what I've been doing the past three days. Well, not just me - husband has been roped into this too of course, 'cos try as hard as I do, I can't shift 10 foot chunks of timber on my own - and he's very handy at digging too. I'm sure he was muttering something about gardening being devil's work but I have no idea what he means. I just ignore the mumbling and point the next bit I'd like digging. Actually, he's been brilliant and I couldn't do it without him, and I think he has secretly enjoyed this little project - it gives him an excuse to air all his tools which were gathering dust in the garage.
So from the back gate, new edging and gravel path added, 10 small Cotoneaster plants planted (in the hope of one day having a 5 foot high hedge along the back fence line. Give it about 10 years and it should look pretty good). I also risked digging up and moving a raspberry bush - it may or may be too late in the season for doing this, but the thing hasn't earned it's keep yet so I figured I had nothing to lose. I've created a specific area to keep the kid's trampoline on a semi-permanent basis too and then placed bark down for that. I must admit that this was not done for the benefit of the children but for the grass - Smudge can now continue to cock a leg and pee up the trampoline posts and no longer trash the grass underneath - genius huh?
I decided to remove a pile of big and little stones from around the base of Chokecherry tree which I suspect was planted when the house was built in the late 90's. I figured the tree could do with some mulch and nutrition. So I scraped away the oval shaped pile of pebbles and what did I find underneath? Kitchen lino, I kid you not! Who on earth puts kitchen floor vinyl around a tree? Granted, it makes a fantastic weed suppressant as not one little weed had made it through - but good grief, I'm surprised the tree was still alive. It has now been lovingly topped with a little quality soil and some bark and I sent out a neighbourhood invitation to any bugs and worms who would care to over-winter there.
Remember I said I hated digging up turf to make more flower beds? Well, last year on my gardening course I learnt about something called "lasagna gardening". No, you don't tuck into the perennial borders with a knife and fork washed down with a large glass of Chianti, though sometimes I can see how that might appeal if there was a good enough veggie patch on the go.
No, it's an easy no-digging way of making new flower beds whereby (condensed version coming up) you layer newspaper and cardboard straight on top of your grass and then top it all off with compost or topsoil and/or mulch (and a little parmesan - OK, not really) and then wait for 5 or 6 months. Apparently this will all compost down and the newspaper, cardboard and turf will decompose and hey presto, one new flower bed. So I thought I'd give it a go. This had better work or it will be one heck of mess to un-do. And for some reason, half-rotten soggy Panago Pizza boxes are not what I wish to face next spring.
So the left hand side of the garden is pretty much done already and I am very pleased with the shape and the contrasts so far. Smudge is already heading for his all-new, purpose-built bark-floored outhouse.