Sunday, September 28, 2008

To stake or not to stake

Whether to stake or not? Or give it the Tracy Chop.
This is our so-called big border, with in the centre of the pic, the plant that everyone always asks about. It is a form of Eupatorium fistulosum, originally from North Carolina. It always grows to 3.4m every year and never blows over or flops - wonderful architectural plant. But the Sanguisorba tenuifolia to the left is embarassingly over - which it always does, and did in the last garden too. I have decided that it is one of those things for whom border conditions are simply too good, and it grows too well and cannot support its own weight. This winter I intend to dig it up and move into the meadow and see what happens; I assume competition will reduce its growth and height and it should stay upright.
The sanguisorba is probably not a candidate for the Tracy (DiSabato Aust) chop, as I think it would just produce lots of flower heads lower down and look a mess. The infamous flopper Campanula lactiflora however has done very well with a Tracy chop, bushing out and flowering for more than 2 months. But the rain will have helped.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Not really a gravel garden but a load of subsoil covered in gravel

Looking towards the Pavilion, across the so-called gravel garden. This was quite a nice gravel garden, installed by the previous owner, until the builders trashed it. Trouble is though, it had been installed over terrible heavy subsoil and a variety of weeds (horsetail, creeping thistle, bindweed). A classic example of ‘instant garden design’ – cover soil with geotextile, plant through holes, send in invoice, scarper. The weeds won’t appear for a year, and not become a real problem for 2 years. Which is when we bought the place.

It’s a slow process re-making a garden here. I’ve decided to rely on self-seeding. Stipa tenuissima just about does it, Verbena bonariensis does a great deal, Deschampsia cespitosa comes up from the soil seed bank (classic Welsh borderlands). California poppy does well, Knautia macedonica. Lot of other plants here just linger. So, I don’t really know how it’ll turn out. A case of slowly working with what works, if you know what I mean.