On the 20th of April we finally finished the wall which we started back in August 2017. Luckily for us the weather was fine over the Easter break which meant we were able to crack on and finish the beast! It feels great to look out on the garden and know that we never have to make another dry stone wall; although having said that, we did end up with quite a lot of stone left. We’re thinking that we might use it to line and surround the pond that we plan on building next to the pergola, although this will have to wait until 2020. We’ve still got plenty to do to finish this central area such as build the paths, lay the compacted gravel and also edge it all. Although we’re only part way through this section of the garden I don’t think anything else we do could be as arduous as it was to sift through, select and lift all of that stone into position. Well hopefully not anyway (!)
After clearing away the remaining stone, we got to work digging out the central planting bed. As the garden slopes upwards towards the far end, it was important that we check that the height of the bed would be level with the foundation stones. We also took some time to decide on the dimensions as we wanted to make sure the proportions were right for the size of the wall. We plan to put a small seating area in 2 of the corners, so we also checked there would be enough space to walk around those without stepping onto the bed.
We couldn’t resist on planting this multi-stem silver birch into the middle of this new bed. We’d been undecided for a long time and discussed the possibility of having some kind of water feature as the central focus. However, after finishing the wall and seeing its size, we felt that we needed height – so a tree it was. We splashed out a little on this specimen so that we could have instant impact and we are really happy with the result. We chose this tree as its relatively long lived, only provides dappled shade, and also because its multi-stem white bark will give year round interest. It also won’t grow massively tall which was a factor in our decision making. As you can see from the photos, we used strings connected to the corner foundation stones to ensure that we planted it centrally.
We planted lots of alchemilla mollis in a grid system around the tree – this is a really gorgeous ground covering plant and happily self-seeds. We thought that the silver bark of the birch would contrast nicely with the lush green circular leaves of this plant. We also mulched around them with bark to help suppress annual weeds and keep in moisture. I’m so looking forward to edging it all and laying the compacted gravel – it will look great when the alchemilla gets established and spills out over it.
Lots of the plants in the garden have started to develop over the course of this month. The allium ‘Caméléon‘ that we planted as bulbs last October are already in flower, as well as the fern fronds starting to unfurl. The peony ‘Krinkled White‘ is also looking great – I love its lush foliage and growth habit.