Monday, 27 September 2010

Dry Garden - the Finale

Back in July, I mentioned my plans for a dry garden here.

The soon to be converted piece of lawn grows in five inches or so of topsoil that sits over gravel and builders spoil. Not exactly fertile territory for growing much. The obvious solution was to raise the bed and hold it together with the local stone. Rather than spend weeks recovering pieces from fields and around as I did when making the car park steps, an altogether simpler solution was to buy some and as luck would have it, Monsieur Roy, who owns the lawn mower shop close by was selling recovered stone. So, two Saturdays ago I became the proud owner of a cubic metre, not bad for seventy euros and decent stuff it is.

Satisfying putting a dry stone wall together. I'm using the term 'dry stone' loosely, but it ain't a bad attempt and one things for sure, when you see skilled trades people creating such structures deftly, each piece fitting perfectly together, then you realise that they're exactly that, skilled trades people.

After placing the stones, it was just a simple case of digging over the old lawn before importing four cubic metres of top soil. I say just a simple case, that's a laugh, my back still hasn't recovered! I still have a further two cubes of topsoil to shift as the enterprise I bought it from would only sell a minimum of six.

The next stage was my favourite bit, laying out the plants. Everything I purchased came from the truly wonderful Pépinière du Lac des Joncs owned and tended by the amiable Monsieur Willy de Wilde who I have mentioned before here.

I did my level best to tread carefully so as not to compact the soil, nimbly balancing on old laminate flooring planks as I set out over a hundred plants as sympathetically as I could.

The plant list is as follows;


Panicum virgatum 'Squaw'

Pennisetum orientale 'Tall tails'

Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose'

Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'

Stipa calamagrostis

Schizachyrium scoparium

Flowers/sub shrubs

Achillea 'Sammertriese'

'Hella glashof'

Agastache mexicana
'Painted Lady'

Aster cordyfolius 'Little carlow'

Coreopsis 'Limerock ruby'

Gaura lindheimeri
'Siskiyou pink'

Lavandula x intermedia 'Edelweiss'

Blue Lavender (Iv'e forgotten which)

'Six hills giant'

Nepeta 'Transcaucasia'

'Autumn Joy'

Sedum 'Matrona'

Thymus serpyllum

Veronica trifurcata

Stipa calamagrostis growing along the pergola. I'll simply chop pieces out with a spade and add this to the new garden. It does spread quite easily so it'll need managing.

So there it is finished. I'll mulch it over in the coming weeks and then all I need is for a couple of years to pass until it becomes fully established and not a scrap of soil is visible, ah patience, but you know how it is.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

In The Dark

Excuse my recent absence, it's been the busiest period ever for me, but now things are calming down I can ease back into a gentler routine and pick up where I left off. Of course with it being so hectic recently, needless to say there's been been a good deal of, errrm, healthy neglect. That's me below, tying in the roses along the pergola. The Stipa calamagrostis has been an absolute star. I can't reccommend this grass enough, if you don't mind managing it from time to time. It spreads easily so a little garden editing avec a spade keeps it in check!

Below are three tubs of Bacopa - a tender perennial which I'm treating as an annual - and which has grown so profusely that the pots are simply smothered now. I like this plant. The small white blooms are subtle, the foliage gently spreading, if there's one drawback, it likes water, but then I'm pretty much resigned to a watering regime during Summer, so nay bother.

The Hollyhocks look just lovely right now. I posted about them here but unfortunately not one of the 'Nigra' have flowered, hopefully next year. As insurance, I purchased six ficifolia types which as I understand are more resistant to rust, they've flowered and flowered well.

The Cosmos below is 'Versailles Tetra' and it's a self seeder from last year. I seem to have lost a lot of Cosmos plants this year, but lo and behold, the volunteers have romped away. Isn't that always the case?

Always a welcome sight, the Autumn anemones, I think the darker pink is 'September Charm' but am not a hundred percent. I like them down by the steps, there was Borage growing in amongst earlier, but that went 'over' and has been pulled.

The grass growing in the pot is 'Feather grass', stipa tenuissima, it looks great between the Verbena bonariensis and the yellow rose, 'Golden showers'.

So there you have it, a bit 'o' this and a bit 'o' that, but I'm back in circulation now and will be visiting soon. Be afraid, be very afraid!