I think I mentioned a while back that 2 Cotoneaster shrubs that had formed a hedge in the back garden for the last 25yrs, had suddenly, for no apparent reason, died.
A few weeks ago,while we had a spell of dry weather, I made a start on sorting the border out.
The following few photos were taken in December before I started work, the whole area is covered with ivy which quite a few brambles have seeded through.
Finding the yew bush was quite exciting as I’m going to need a hedge to shelter the Meconopsis once they are planted. We have lots of yew seedlings around the garden, courtesy of the birds, so I must dig them up, pot them on and then move them here once the soil has been improved. Behind the yew is the ditch that separates the back garden from the woodland.
I pulled the ivy up from the front half of the border to start with, yards and yards was coming up, I wonder how many miles I have pulled!
I remember planting this as a little plant about 20 yrs ago. I don’t think I’ve seen it for such a long time, it had been over grown by the Cotoneaster. This is the little Arisarum proboscideum, that has the common name of the Mouse Tailed Arum as its flowers look just like the backsides of mice jumping into the foliage, the long tip of the flower forming the mouse tail. It has certainly spread over the years, even though it must have been very dark.
I have about another 6ft to clear from the front half, before I’ll tackle the back half. Unfortunately the back half has the 2 Cotoneaster stumps and masses of brambles – oh joy! I think the area will eventually be about 20ft x8ft.
Without the Cotoneasters, I can see how the Rhododendron at the back and the hydrangea to the left have been straining for light. I think I will take cuttings of the hydrangea, as if I try to move the shrub, I’m sure it will die. I will try cutting back the rhododendron as they usually sprout from stumps, I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed.
This is where I found the hibernating dormouse, while I was attacking the stump, its a wonder I didn’t kill the poor thing with the big garden fork or by standing on it while assessing the stump!
This is where I moved it to, underneath the blue conifer, where it would be safe amongst the low branches and I tucked it under the ivy covering the soil, it is also in the shelter of a huge ash tree which will protect it from any rain coming from the west, plus, most important of all , where nobody will be digging! I have also covered it with loads of leaf litter so hopefully it will be safe and cosy once more. The undergardener says that when it wakes up and comes out into the world again, it will think, “what’s happened, this isn’t where I went to sleep 6 months ago, my world has changed!”
We have lots of compost and leaf mould that can be dug in and also lots of plants waiting in the wings. Meconopsis hybrids have been bought ( you might remember that I was sent 3 primulas by mistake!). A few Hellebores are waiting to be planted and 7 “Special” snowdrops, also lots of white foxgloves which have seeded in the veggie area can come here – well it can’t be just meconopsis can it? I can see that it will become another shady woodland bed, but this time with the meconopsis as the star turn. When it is finally prepared and the new plants in their places, I will do a catch up post. I hope it won’t be too long before everything is in place.
It sounds marvellous Pauline. I’d have a go at moving the hydrangea, I’ve just relocated another two, having had two out of two previous successes. It’s quite a job though, we did have to winch them out.
Last time I moved a hydrangea Jessica, it died! I would have to do the job of moving it myself so that isn’t an option unfortunately with my muscle problem, so it will have to be cuttings.
Wow, all that ivy, what a lot of hard work! But so satisfying to make such a large new area. I am looking forward to seeing it all finished with the meconoposis in bloom. I will have to enjoy yours vicariously as I can’ t grow them here.
I suppose the ivy has just been growing under the shrubs where I couldn’t see it Chloris! Today I was clearing a bit more and when I reached the second Cotoneaster stump, I was ever so careful removing everything round it, just in case there was another tiny friend hibernating! My plants are all ready to go in so I must get on with finishing the tidying.
The undergardener and I were thinking the same thing about the mouse….I think we both give it too much intellectual credit!
All that ivy! Fran and I spent two days in her garden, ripping out Vinca that took over. It’s amazing how much healthier the other plants were the following year!
I’m looking forward to pictures of the progress of your Meconopsis bed. What fun to find all the plants growing that you weren’t sure were there!
I think it’s amazing Sally, how plants grow underneath other plants, without us gardeners realising! Ivy seems to be able to grow without any light, yet still has wonderfully shiny dark green leaves. My problem is going to be how to stop it growing back again!.
It is going to be a completely different garden Pauline. I look forward to seeing the results in future posts.
It is just a small section of that border Alain, the rest will be staying the same. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished results too!
You have quite the stretch of new real estate available for your meconopsis. I’m always surprised by how much planting space slowly disappears under spreading shrubs. They seem so slow at first, but over the years their nibbling does take over quite some area.
The shrubs had certainly spread over the years Frank, not something I had really noticed until now. I’m having to try and fit other gardening jobs around pulling up the ivy and brambles, trying to find jobs that use different muscles!