garden

The sun finally came out late afternoon, so I started off watering all my plants in pots, and ended up spending an hour or two in the garden. I really did not make too much impact on the garden last year, so there is a lot to be done this year. The usual garden stuff like weeding, a lot of outdoors maintenance like painting stuff, and putting some more felt on a shed roof. I'd also like to plant up some bits, some bits are still empty, or underused, and some are newly vacated due to winter fatalities or I've just got fed up with them.

After the winter, there does not seem much point in going for anything too exotic, and after a few years of gardening I am starting to get a feel for what will grow with thuggish vigour and what is far more delicate. I would like to get the garden to be as low maintenance as it can be, while offering plenty of edibles, while still being nature friendly and attractive.

Because the soil is such heavy clay, jobs that might be quite simple with a lighter soil, are an absolute fight with the clay. It also takes a long time to get the heavy clay broken up enough to give most plants much of a chance.

Managed a bit of weeding, ground elder is creeping in from one corner, and there is something with thick roots in the vegetable patch. The best defence against weeds just seems to be getting in, pulling them out, breaking up the soil and getting stuff planted. I might be tempted to take the nuclear option and put down some weedkiller and some membrane, both of which I have resisted to date.

I have a little hedge of sorts along one side, with a mix of different shrubs. This sounds like a good idea, but in practice some grow very quickly, like the laurel and broom, while others are more sedate. There was a poorly rhodendron at one end, and it failed completely leaving a gap. I've got a blackcurrent to fill the gap, so that went in this afternoon. Because of the lawn on one side, and tree stumps, the soil has never really been broken up properly, so it is always a bit of a lottery putting anything in. The risk being that it will just sit in a cold wet bucket of compost, surrounded on all sides by clammy clay that won't let it drain.

I've also been ripping out a little border at the front. It consists of a honeysuckle, some lavender, some bulbs, a dill that comes back every year and an awful lot of lesser celandine. It is really a woodland edge type of habitat, the lavender was not happy it was struggling to get out into the sun. I'll leave in the dill and honeysuckle and clear out everything else. Time to hit the books and figure out what would be happy there. Something scented would be nice, as it is under a window. Some ferns have seeded themselves, always a clue as to what wants to be there. I might go for some more ferns.

Part of the pleasure of occassional gardening is the sheer joy of pottering. Having a look round and seeing something you could do here, and something that you could do there. Doing something here or there. Nothing terribly organised or systematic. If I manage to spend some more time in my garden this year, and move it forward then this will be a good year.