Filling a space

Once upon a time I had a new garden
empty of everything except grass.
But it didn’t take me very long to fill it
and now I have no more space!

What fantastic weather we had for our Spring Bank Holiday this year. Not that I like heat much, I prefer to sit under a sunshade looking at my garden bathed in sunshine. My visiting son and I were able to spend most of the weekend outside though, and for a change my son didn’t have to spend the whole time working on my landscaping and we were able to go out walking together on the cliffs and beaches of Newquay.

I hadn’t planned that my son should have to do anything other than mend my lawn mower, screw a few trellises to the pergola and drill a few holes in some pots I had bought. I am not allowed to use his drill and electric screwdriver.

However, during my daughter’s three week visit we had bought some paving that was not delivered until the day before my son arrived. The slabs actually are supposed to form a circular patio, like the circle under my gazebo, but I wanted to use them differently. I spent a fair bit of time in the heat lugging the paving stones around the garden, trying to work out the best place to lay them. After rejecting several different designs I finally ended up with a pattern I liked, but having slept on it, I decided that my Friday evening’s design was too regular. I started again on Saturday morning, completely changing the pattern. That was better, much more my style.

When my son arrived he noticed what I had done and sighed. He hadn’t bargained for doing landscaping, he told me. I told him that he didn’t have to as I was quite capable of doing it myself. It just needed the turf skimming from the centre of the paving stones and a membrane laying, then some gravel filled in. I could easily manage that myself, couldn’t I? He obviously thought not, because he started skimming off the turf that afternoon, soon after he had arrived and settled in. The next day he suggested we went to the garden centre to get the gravel. Of course, once in the garden centre I just had to buy some plants:- six Alpines, three grasses and six Semperviviums to plant in the gravel.

Although we had purchased more than the recommended amount of bags of gravel for the area, my son wasn’t happy and said that we needed another two bags, but I thought it looked fine as it was, as soon the plants I would be putting in would spread and partly cover the area anyway. I plonked the plants in their pots where I thought I would plant them and said that the next day we would go out for the day and maybe pick up another couple of bags of gravel on the way home.

In the event, we were far too hot to even think about going to the garden centre after our day out, having walked across Fistral beach, stopping for fish and chips at Rick Stein’s, then walking on around the cliffs and back down onto Towan beach, across Great Western and Tolcarne beaches and then hurrying back to the car through the town before our four hour parking ticket expired. So we never got any more gravel and my plants never got planted.

Having said goodbye to my son on Tuesday morning, I got stuck in with the potting up and planting I needed to do. I filled with compost the two new planters, in which my son had now drilled holes, with a honeysuckle for the low fence and a couple of purple clematis plants for one leg of the pergola. I planted in the gravel the three grasses and two Ajuga plants. I decided that was enough, as I know they will spread. I will find a space somewhere for the other four Alpines, I’m sure.

The lengths I go to to reduce my lawn mowing!  I am not sure what I am going to do with the remainder of the lawn. The grass is a little better there than it was where I have put the stone and gravel area so I will probably live with the grass for the time being, but as I need to expand the bed to the right hand side, there soon won’t be much left. I don’t have a photo from the exact same angle before all this landscaping took place, but here is a photo of what the garden looked like this time last year. What a difference!
At the garden centre I had also bought three tomato plants:- Gardeners’ Delight, Beefmaster and Shirley F1. Today I planted them into three big pots. The Gardeners’ Delight is on the gravel by the decking area, facing south. The other two are still in my potting shed, which gets the morning, lunchtime and evening sun. I will see which makes the most progress.

We have had very little rain in the past few weeks and I have almost emptied my water butt and had to use a hosepipe for the garden the last few days, conserving what water is left in my butt for my seedlings and pots. Today it is raining, giving the garden a welcome soaking. That’s why I am writing.

However, despite the rain, I spent a fair bit of time in my potting shed earlier, pottering around. I don’t have much left of the two new bags of compost I bought that were delivered on Friday with the paving stones. My potting bench is full. I planted out some little Busy Lizzies yesterday but the bedding Begonias, Petunias and Fuchsias which I bought from Thomson & Morgan as plug plants are not really ready to go out yet. I still have seed trays of Sweet William, Aquilegia and Antirrhinum coming on but the tray of Candytuft is ready to go into the garden now. I potted on the few Cosmos seedlings that I had sowed in a seed tray, but there seems to be no sign of any seedlings growing in the garden and window box where I sowed the rest.  Today I also found a packet of Nasturtian seeds that I forgot which I shall sow somewhere if I can find any space for more flowers. So, if it stops raining tomorrow, it looks like I will be busy making room for my bedding plants.

Who could believe that I could fill this space in less than a year and a half!

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