On being bored
I have come to realise that there is a strong correlation with me being bored and the appearance of new borders in my garden. Boredom is the bane of my life. It is the feeling of being unsatisfied by the normal daily actives and finding my surroundings dull and lacking in stimulation. Even though I have so much to do, I feel as if there is absolutely nothing to do. My mind is looking for a creative outlet, but it refuses to come. Life turns into mono-colour, and I complain as loudly as my chickens about the state of things.
Then suddenly inspiration hits me, and I'm happily trotting of to start a new project. I'm very much a project type of person. A project has a beginning and an end, a set of tasks to be performed to achieve completion. Of course my impatience demands that ideally any project would have been completed yesterday, but to be honest I do let projects take their time as the one thing I have learned is that the end result depends directly on how thoroughly the preparations have been made.
So, I decide on extending an existing border to make the approach to the front yard of the red house more interesting. The main work is clearing moss and grass from the designated area of the very old lawn. It is time-consuming work! Firstly the top 10 cm layer of grass mixed with moss needed to be removed, so we scraped it off with a spade and put it to the side. Then I picked up the pieces one by one and gently hacked them so the topsoil got freed from the roots. Now, this is not strictly necessary as you could just chuck it all on the compost, but the topsoil attached to lawn and moss is actually really good stuff so its worth the effort to save it.
I could have save the topsoil from the grass roots where the new border comes, but I had areas in my lawn that had gotten manhandled due to a water pipe being dug down, that I wanted to improve by adding a thin layer of topsoil onto. Once you dig down a spades depth the soil at Stensund is mostly rocky clay, so anytime there is digging involved and the deeper layers come up to the surface the end result involves poor quality soil. Invariably a lot of rocks come up, and these I heap into little pyramids for use as little bug houses. Where there has been lawn for many years there is a thick layer of good quality loam between the more meagre deep layers of soil and the grass.
Nature does this, you see. Where it is allowed to cover the ground permanently, each year the plantmaterials will waste and compost naturally, adding to soil fertility in deeper and deeper layers. The little critters you find running around your garden help in this endeavour, and below the soil there is a macrocosmos of microscopic life working to keep the soil healthy and feed the plants that you see above ground. In ancient forests you can find the most amazing really deep loamy soil and roots that go tens of meters down into the ground. Truth be told, it is only when us humans wreak havoc on the soil that it suffers... Therefore I always try to save the topsoil that nature has produced for me. It is a sign of respect to make use of all the gift it gives me, and try to waste as little of its recourses as possible.
Still, the topsoil is not as mushy dark and filled with hummus as shop bought organic compost, so to improve the soil I bought tree bags of the good stuff too. I usually add organic compost when planting anything whatsoever just to give the plants some nutritious food for the first season. When buying compost I make sure it is peat free and organically produced, and I have been chuffed to find there is quite a good selection of compost made from recycled household waste on the market. I try to be ethical in my choices, so finding that producers are listening to the environmentally conscious customers is really nice.
Before planting I space out the pots to see that the plants are well grouped, and then when I've dug a hole I make sure to water in the plants really thoroughly before filling in the soil. In this border I went for a very muted and restricted colour and plant scheme with only three different varieties of perennials; Alchemilla mollis, Aquilegia vulgaris and Geranium magnificum. It is not ment to be a show stopper border, but more of a friendly enhancement that complements the surroundings. Now, of course, I'm looking at the surrounding area and thinking about adding one more border to create the show stopper... I do love projects!