Okay, so, last time I worked on the long skinny terrace I left off here:
So I was about ready to actually plant something in there. And pretty excited to do so since it’d be the first actual planting in this garden, as opposed to digging up. Yeah, I’m probably getting ahead of myself but I wanted to get something in the ground for motivation, and to avoid having to wait til next winter.
I ordered a pack of bare root wildlife hedging from Naturescape, which seemed to have the biggest variety for the price. I’ve ordered stuff from them before and they seemed pretty good! Now it was just a matter of waiting for the parcel to turn up. The weather was getting nicer so–
…well, it was getting nicer.
There was then a lot of swearing.
By some miracle though the snow didn’t last very long and melted in a couple of days. I was worried about how wet the ground would be, but the weather seemed to go from WINTER to SPRING in about five seconds so it dried out pretty fast- I didn’t find the swamp I expected when I uncovered the terrace, but I did find a lot of sneaky rocks and roots I’d missed the first time round. (apparently my grandfather used to say he was really good at ‘growing’ rocks. Now I see why. But then, the house is sitting on an old colliery site…)
Here’s the area marked out with bbq skewers and string because it was what I had on hand. Just in time for a GIANT BOX to show up on the doorstep! It looks like I got lucky with my timing, too- I was aware I was ordering right at the end of the season for bare root things, and as soon as they were dispatched the hedging packs went out of stock on the website. I guess I got one of the last lots!
Above is what I got! Everything looks alive/healthy, though I’m no expert. This is enough plants for the almost-exactly-10m terrace with a couple left over… I went with the 5-plants-per-metre advice but we’ll see if that was a good idea or not. It was certainly the only affordable idea- due to bulk pricing, 50 plants actually turned out £20 or so cheaper than 40 would have done…. huh…
Anyway, it’s a mixture of hawthorn, field maple and various other british shrubs/small trees.
I didn’t take any photos while actually planting, as I was too busy getting covered in mud and trying not to let the roots dry out in the wind. (see? I did my research :p) It was an ‘adventure’ though, and I learned a few things in the process…
-It’s really hard to convince yourself that pruning everything by half upon planting is a good idea despite reading otherwise. :( I did it, but arghhhhh poor things….
-Slit planting on a raised terrace is not as easy as they make it look.
-If like me you are a clumsy buh, you will fall off said terrace at least once. My bum has the bruises to prove it.
-You can measure and mark out the planting area as much as you like, it’s still gonna be wonky.
-Rootgrow gets everywhere. EVERYWHERE.
-You can plant 50 shrubs in an afternoon. But your body won’t thank you for it the next day, owww. I may or may not have had help with the last few…
-After planting, you will fret about the poor twigs forever.
And here’s what it looks like as of yesterday! ….It doesn’t look like much, honestly. But so far everything is showing buds or some other sign of life, so fingers crossed at least some of these will survive and establish.
Admittedly this was a bit of an experiment; I’m not sure how well it’s going to work in the long run. It could be that everything will die, or the opposite will happen and I won’t be able to keep it trimmed enough on the path side to not be a nuisance. But it’ll be interesting finding out! I really hope it does work, though, because if it does in a few years time it’ll be really good for the birds and insects. And it’ll help to make up for the bushes that’ve had to be removed because of dad’s garage (ugh).
Honestly I’m already wondering if more hedging along the boundary fences will be possible, but that’s a job for the distant future.