Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Monday 23 January 2012

Winter planting finished

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 12:01 pm

I have now moved the hibiscus and planted the buddleia near where the hibiscus used to be. This completes my deciduous shrub planting, and now I am at a point where I need to think what to do next.

Buddleia, Magnolia, Hibiscus

Left to right: Buddleia 'Black Knight', Magnolia, Hibiscus syriacus

I now think that I have not enough evergreen shrubs at the end of the lawn, so I need to put some in there. Also I need two more large shrubs to plant down the left hand border, by the fence. I have been noting down shrubs which I like and would like to put in the garden, but I cannot have them all, and also I would like to work out an arrangement which looks good as a whole. So I bought “The complete planting design course” by Hilary Thomas and Steven Wooster so I can learn about designing with plants. Or, even if I don’t learn anything, I can enjoy looking at the pictures when it is too dark/cold/rainy/windy to do any gardening.

Plant design is something I have never thought about before properly and it is very interesting but very obvious when you think about it. You have to consider plant form, like whether the plant sits in a fat complacent mound, or whether it sends out nervous pointy shoots straight up in the air. You also have to look at its texture – does it have lots of tiny little leaves, or great big ones? If you want to make your garden look longer, you should plant tiny-leaved plants, particularly at the back. Naturally you have to consider colour. And then you have to think of the function of the plants – are they there to provide structure or a focal point? Are they use or ornament (or both)? And so on.

I was hoping for a year without much gardening expense, but in the recent winds my back fence has taken a battering and two of the posts are loose. I drilled holes in the loose posts so I could attach wires to give them a bit of support, and the posts were very soft, so I think the fence is at the end of its life after sixteen years. I will get the whole thing replaced as soon as the fencing contractors have finished mending all the other fences that have blown down in the winds.

And finally, I have decided on my gardening New Year’s Resolution. Last year my NYR was to go to Wisley three times, which I did manage. This year my NYR is to water my compost heaps. I am sure that the reason that I am not getting any compost is that the mixture is too dry. The compost bins have lids, so little or no rain gets in. I will also water my leaf mould, but this is not as important because it is kept in open bags.

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