Looking at my little front garden patch, there’s nothing horribly wrong with the layout. It has a wavy pathway that leads you gently to the front door and a curving semi-circle of garden beds to the south. The beds just lack substance, interest and most of all, cohesion. Remember, the garden is not technically mine, so I must go gently.
There is however one layout opportunity that I can’t ignore – a section of lawn is not surviving and in its place is bare earth. To a greedy plants-enthusiast like me, a bare patch of earth is like gold. It begs to be absorbed into the existing garden bed to give me a couple of precious extra square metres of planting space to play with. I mentioned previously my dangerous hankering for perennials, and here is the perfect, north-facing spot to let loose!
This might sound like a flimsy design strategy, but by pure chance, the outline of this patch of dead grass reflects the wavy curve of the garden path on the other side. It’s clearly meant to be.
So my first task is to remove all the rotting timber edging, re-define all the garden bed edges, dig through some organic material, lay some new timber edging and mulch, mulch, mulch.
Simply digging over and refreshing the beds makes them look instantly better. Old plants ‘pop’ and the soil suddenly looks like water would actually soak into it.
If this garden was my own, I would remove the lawn altogether. My next preference would be to separate the garden beds from the lawn with a neat spade edge – job done. But I have ‘the mowing men’. These guys are ruthless with their whipper snipper and I worry that if they don’t have something solid to snip against I could be offering my new plants up as sacrificial lambs to machinery. What is it about this brand of garden maintenance person? It’s like there is an invisible vertical line rising up from the edge of a lawn and no living thing shall hang or lazily dangle its foliage over it! So I am settling for the timber edging as a buffer.
So now it’s ready to plant. I have a hodgepodge collection of new and old plants to install – probably too many. I’ve thought through some sections quite well, but my new deeper bed is my ‘lab experiment’ plot – the space for me to go a little silly and muck about with all those impulse mail-order purchases.
Next instalment I’ll take you through my plant selection. Hint: there is a lot of – ‘pink’, which is unfamiliar and slightly uncomfortable colour territory for me…