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 New garden 
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 6:38 pm
Posts: 370
Location: NE Ireland
Post New garden
Mo mentioned that we don't post enough pictures, so feeling suitably shamed I thought I'd come out of hiding and post something about what I've been at for the past few months.

Back in December we moved house to this new plot:
Image20161120_091813[2] by Ponga_Ponga, on Flickr
It's easily twice the size of my pervious shady garden, and being south facing has opened up a whole new range of possibilities in terms of the plants I can try.

Beyond a few existing plants there wasn't much in the garden, save two wooden decks, a big shed and a seating area.
I knew that they would all have to be removed to make best use of the space but before that I had some plants to dig up from the old garden that I didn't want to leave behind.
Image20170122_155323 by Ponga_Ponga, on Flickr
Borinda papyrifera took quite a bit of work to wrangle it out of the ground.

Image20170128_164228 by Ponga_Ponga, on Flickr
Luckily the new garden wasn't too far away, so the wheelbarrow was called into action, it performed valiantly in shifting a great many plants including this Borinda lushuensis

Some plants heeled in and others spending winter in pots, it was time to start a bit of wrecking.
The two slippery decks were the first to go.
Image20170219_144751 by Ponga_Ponga, on Flickr

Next up was the shed, which took a couple of weekends to take down. I've never seen so many screws holding something together in my life!
Except for the fact that rot was starting in one corner this thing would have been hurricane proof!
Image20170403_065719 by Ponga_Ponga, on Flickr

Shed gone, it was time to get to work on the soil. Sticky, heavy and wet clay.
Any areas of ground that weren't put down to lawn had spent the last decade suffocating under a layer of thick black plastic, with a weed riddled gravel mulch on top. Anerobic, compacted and without an earthworm in sight, it really needed some love!
Many, many, many cubic meters of municipal compost, horse manure and coarse sand have been incorporated, with yet more needed.
Image20170419_122341 by Ponga_Ponga, on Flickr

As the soil is so heavy I'd decided to raise some of the planting areas to give a good foot depth of free draining material, which will make all the difference to the establishment and long term survival of the more tender plantings.
ImageIMG_20170617_175026_815 by Ponga_Ponga, on Flickr
But that won't be enough on its own, so I'm currently installing drains which should help to get some of that water moving and improve conditions a bit more.

I'd intended to leave the seating area until the autumn before tacking it, but somehow found myself, sledge hammer in hand, knocking down the wall. It was so satisfying to see it tumble, as well as giving the opportunity to vent some aggression. ;-)
ImageIMG_20170702_182615 by Ponga_Ponga, on Flickr

Planting has begun, with a mixture of both tender and hardy succulents being bedded out for the summer.
ImageIMG_20170710_215130 by Ponga_Ponga, on Flickr

ImageIMG_20170611_123354 by Ponga_Ponga, on Flickr

ImageIMG_20170802_160633_232 by Ponga_Ponga, on Flickr
Two of the four Leylandii have been felled, but the remaining couple are staying for the moment as they do provide good shelter, at least until I come up with an alternative. The garden's fully open to the east, but I don't want to block the sunlight so any planting to break the wind can't be too high.

When the drainage is installed I will then be able to get on with planting out the more permanent shrubs that'll form the year round structure. Oh and the fence needs painted, and a new patio installed, and hopefully a greenhouse added at some point...


Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:25 am
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 3:55 pm
Posts: 1556
Location: North Thames delta UK
Post Re: New garden
By the look of things this garden will be every bit as creative as your last - or even more so. One to watch!

You seem to have changed a bit since I last saw a picture...

Whilst you are here, do you recall the name of that Rubus you sent me a bit of yonks ago?

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Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:44 pm
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Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:57 pm
Posts: 290
Location: Stonemountains
Post Re: New garden
The raised beds look very promising. I really like what you've done so far.
My garden had the same issues as yours it seems: heavy clay which was compacted under a large sheet of thick plastic and gravel on top. The former owners had French drains placed at some time but the pea gravel got saturated with clay and the whole system of pipes got clogged. I decided to dig 3 ft deep and drilled holes another 4 ft deep with a post hole digger (by hand) about a feet and a half or so apart. I filled the holes with lava gravel and added about 3 inches of the same gravel on top. Mixed the remaining clay with compost, coco peat and cow manure and put it all back in. the whole garden was raised about a foot doing this but it leveled itself in the last 3 years.
Water drains rapidly now, I haven't got any drainage problems and the soil is very fertile and full of worms.


Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:59 pm
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:59 pm
Posts: 7576
Location: Loughborough, Leics, central UK
Post Re: New garden
Nice Conrad its good to see what you have been up to and wow what an improvement you have made already.
If you can get the groundwork done properly everything else should fall into place when planting out and your hard work is showing already.

Loving the raised beds they look fab u lous, the outlook across the fields is to die for, a good move I believe please keep us up to date with further progress.


Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:35 pm
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Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:06 pm
Posts: 564
Location: Telford UK
Post Re: New garden
Already stunning!


Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:50 pm
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 6:38 pm
Posts: 370
Location: NE Ireland
Post Re: New garden
Paul, Hmm changed? How? Is it the sticky up ears? (French bulldog) :lol:
Did I send you a Rubus? I can't remember! I wonder if you're confusing me with Bruno in Cork? Somewhere in the foggy recesses of the back of my mind there's something about you two discussing Rubus irenaeus, I wonder if he sent you a piece of it?

I thought I'd put in a lot of work so far Thuur, but it sounds like it pales in comaparison to what you did!!

That's what I'm hoping for Kev, that time and effort invested now will pay dividends in the future.

Thanks Martin, when I look at it I just see all that has to be done! :)


Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:03 pm
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 3:55 pm
Posts: 1556
Location: North Thames delta UK
Post Re: New garden
Conrad - thank heavens once of us has a brain that works! You are totally right on all counts. Humblest apologies (and thank you, too).

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Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:52 pm
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:42 am
Posts: 1692
Location: birmingham, UK
Post Re: New garden
It's great to see a thread like this. Lifts the spirits. It's so exciting when you are just starting a garden or doing a project. I find it quite useful to get feedback from people on this forum . They act like a tempering influence on me (as I can gung ho). I hope you've taken the rhododendrons with you!

I am loving the brickwork and raised beds which will help with drainage. Some of the planting reminds me of Troydonovan garden. He had his pictures on photobucket :roll:

Please keep the photos and the posts coming :D

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Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:58 pm
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 6:38 pm
Posts: 370
Location: NE Ireland
Post Re: New garden
Thanks for your comments Mo, I'll add to this thread as things go on and the garden develops over the next while.

All Rhodos made the move and haven't blinked an eyelid. :D


Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:33 am
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Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:58 pm
Posts: 783
Location: Oxford UK
Post Re: New garden
Conrad ... a very enjoyable thread. I can see that you have put an enormous amount of energy into the project. Your dog looks bemused by it all. The wall blocking for the borders looks really good and I might look at doing something similar in my garden. Your planting looks great. What's your Winter temps there?

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Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:02 pm
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:17 pm
Posts: 840
Location: Scotland
Post Re: New garden
Hi Conrad,

Thanks for posting these shots of the work that you have done so far on your garden, you have been very busy!

Who is your little black and white helper?

Good news about your Rhodies making the move okay :)


Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:45 pm
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 6:38 pm
Posts: 370
Location: NE Ireland
Post Re: New garden
Thanks Andy, with so many plants brought from my previous garden its a balancing act between wanting to get the into the ground sooner rather than later but also making sure that I don't jump the gun and plant them before conditions are right.
Generally frosts are light, -1°C to -2°C ish with an occasional -3°C temperatures falling much below that is pretty exceptional. More summer heat/sunlight would be welcomed as it'd help ripen material and toughen it up for winter.

Hi Adam, my able assistant is Benson, he's a real asset. :lol:
With their shallow fiberous roots Rhodos are so easy to move, I've shifted them at all the 'wrong' times in the past and they've never seemed to show any stress.

Work continues.
Yesterday evening was spent tackling the foundations of the seating area, darkness overtook me and the head fell off my sledge hammer but I will not be beaten.
Image


Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:31 am
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Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:37 pm
Posts: 200
Location: Halifax, NS
Post Re: New garden
Conrad - A cracking thread, a hard slog but it will pay off in spades. And a handsome assistant there as well.

john


Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:53 pm
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Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 5:52 pm
Posts: 7527
Location: Hayward- S.F. Bay area Ca.
Post Re: New garden
What a start..been there smashing concrete and seeing more growing area by the swing.

Congrats on the curving beds..so much better then straight lines any day.

Keep up the posts...looking great and obviously great exercise. :wink:


Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:02 pm
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