Some projects are such that I spend an extraordinary amount of time thinking about them before they happen. Depending on project, the amount of time can vary from weeks to years, before I finally take the plunge and do it. This is why I started this blog as a kind of diary, keeping a record of my gardening adventures and the development of my gardens.
One such space that I have been mulling over is the triangle between the driveway to my house and the path to the sauna, backed by the lawn infront of the shed. It is a big space, almost the size of a small town garden, where the soil is so poor that only coarse grass will grow. This grass is a big problem in itself - it spreads by seeds and roots and crowds out anything else - and if I wanted to do anything with this area it would need to be dealt with.
With the combination of having a bad back and knowing the soil underneath is very poor on my mind, I decided to build upwards instead. The first thing to do was to cover the grass with a weed suppressing yet biodegradable fabric. Theoretically it should last for about three years, which is time enough to suffocate the grass underneath. On top of this I lay a thin layer of straw, dried reeds and thin woody branches to create a base for the new ecosystem. Afterwards the area was filled with a mix of soil and composted horse manure in peat.
I started the project in the beginning of May, and it took most of the month to complete. Just filling up the space with soil on top of the fabric was a mammoth job, and luckily having my little tractor to moved the soil around with really helped! But in order not to compact the soil by driving on it with heavy machinery, we spread out the heaps of soil by hand and raked it even. Only then it was time to start planting it with a combination of perennials and shrubs.
Obviously there were other gardening chores to do at the same time, such as preparing the kitchen garden for the season and replanting seedlings, so it took to the end of May before most of the planting was done. As the area is big and differently affected by the trees around it, I needed to adjust the planting according to the amount of sun it gets. In the shadier part I planted Cornus alba Ivory halo and perennials such as Astrantia major Roma, Pulmonaria sacharata Mrs Moon and geranium Johnsons blue.
In the sunny part of it I planted a small rose garden with three colours pink roses; Morden Ruby, Morden Blush and Morden Fireglow. Underneath and around the roses I planted some of my favourite perennials: Catmint (Nepeta faassenii), creeping Jacobs ladder (Polemonium reptans), Coral bells (Heuchera sanguinea), columbines (aquilegia Songbird Cardinal), geraniums (Geranium himalayense Plenum).
Now, just as spring turns into summer, my woodland garden is almost ready, but it will take its own time to mature and grow beautiful. I'm sure I shall have much fun tweaking the planting and adding bulbs in the autumn, so I shall keep up posting all the new developments as the garden evolves over time.