At the end of 2014 I began to formulate our ideas for the new Garden onto paper. We were going to create a completely new layout for the ground at the rear of the property.
On my/our wish list for the New Garden was
- Raised Beds
- Fruit trees
- Vegetable garden
- Compost area
- Lawn – a level lawn!
What I ended up with was a year of very hard work as we, mostly I, hand filled 28 Dumpy Bags with subsoil and rubble to be lifted out by the Hi-ab Lorry. We started by demolishing the raised square bed in the centre of the lawn, which meant I was faced with disposing of the rubble we had ‘hidden’ in the bottom of it years before! The Acer had been felled, it was a lovely tree but had really grown too big for the garden. I had had the crown reduced twice and only really drastic work would have kept it within reasonable bounds but would probably have spoilt its shape.
As the plot slopes downwards east to west as well as on the diagonal towards the northwest corner we had agreed that the plot would need levelling. We realised too that we had wasted land on the northern boundary, and decided to have the shrubs grubbed out, and the fence moved as safely as possible nearer the top edge of the wall. That gained us another 3 feet/1 metre of ground. That might have seemed like a big expense for little gain but when you have a small garden every extra bit of ground is worth it. Then I levelled a 12 foot /3 metre strip right across the garden, along side the fence, to create the raised veg beds, compost area and a base for the Greenhouse. Of course had we known that there would be SO much spoil we might have approached the job differently and got a micro digger in with a trailer on the roadside but it’s easy to be wise with hindsight. Some Dumpy bags had to be filled, emptied and re-filled as we moved materials around, and the couple of bags of materials we brought in, spread, so I probably moved 30+ tonnes of stuff during 2015/2016.
I hand dug 23 post holes for the uprights of the Park rail fencing, the fruit cage supports, and the oak posts of the Orchard beds. I levelled the paths, and dug the trench for the electric cable to the greenhouse, to a depth of 3-4 feet at one point. The digging for this garden was much harder than the three days I took to dig the ground out for the Pond and Stream in the Norwegian garden but I just kept pegging away at it. However, I was running out of steam by the time it came to levelling the lawn, which was to be achieved by dropping the level of soil on one side of the proposed area and bringing it up on the other. However, I did lifted all the turf. Then some family friends kindly came to the rescue and we had a mammoth Saturday workout as they all helped to rotavate and level the soil.
This new lawn area is surrounded by raised beds to not only make my future gardening easier (at my husband’s suggestion) but also to retain the soil where the levels are different. We have used some old park railing for dividing the beds from the paths to the east and west of the lawn. My husband kindly built a framework of oak posts and copper pipes to the north side to divide the lawn from what has become the lower part of the garden, and against this we have planted fruit tree cordons. So what we have ended up with is
- a level lawn surrounded by raised beds
- a woodland garden bed
- a fruit cage
- a three-bin compost area
- four raised beds:- two for veggies, one for Loganberries and one for Asparagus
- an Orchard (apparently 10 fruit trees = an orchard, and we have planted 12!)
- a Greenhouse with a cold frame/hardening off area
- raised beds for mixed herbaceous planting
- a seating area
- and a utility area with a garden sink!
The details of each area will no doubt appear in future posts. One thing that has become apparent though, is the different aspects of the planting areas will give me the opportunity to grow a diverse range of plants. Which all goes to prove that you can have your cake and eat it!