Two days from last week were spent getting some of the landscaping work out of the way before the summer kicks in properly. The first day needed to be spent getting all of the plants together, and so a round of nurseries were beckoning. We both left the house rather excited, as it's a part of the work we love. We get to catch up with the various nursery people we have grown to know over the years, and once again have our faces licked by the various dogs that chase about amongst the plants. We closed the front door, and one of our Camellias just beckoned to have a picture taken before we got in the van.
Our first places were near the town of Wimborne, and so, still not quite awake yet, we headed into Coffee Saloon.
We chatted with Christian while we drank some fantastic coffee. He was both interesting and interested to talk to, telling us a little about what brought him to where he is now. We in turn chatted about landscape gardening, and left having had a really nice half hour or so.
But we couldn't just relax the day away, however nice, and buried ourselves in the first nursery, a huge place filled with more plants than one could shake a stick at.
We met Dolly again. This picture was taken a couple of winters ago, and she was quite rightly huddled in the warmth of the office. This time however, she is no longer a puppy, and was racing about the whole place for all she was worth. At one point we were both completely on our own, tucked away in a distant corner of the nursery about a quarter of a mile from the office, when this gorgeous little bombshell came racing for all she was worth towards us. A brief jump and lick to the face and she was off again, as it turns out chasing another dog also there.
The nurseries were cold, as usual at this time of year, and there were sporadic heavy showers, and so it was nice to occasionally spend time under the cover of the poly-tunnels.
It had been a long but enjoyable day, and the side of the house ended up looking a little like a nursery standing out ground itself, but we had what we needed for the work the following day. Earlier in the week we had also had ten cubic metres of compost delivered to site, and 8 reclaimed railway sleepers dumped in our own front drive. The main area to be sorted was this in the picture below. The border itself had long since been taken over by tree roots, making it impossible to turn the soil or plant anything to make it look better. Our suggestion for a simple 'fix' was to raise the whole planting area using the sleepers, infill with fresh soil, and plant directly into the new depth available.
We needed a crew of five for this, as there was also part of the Leylandii hedge line that needed to be removed and replanted with Laurels, and the general maintenance of the garden was going to be done also. While our two guys started to barrow the compost into place, I continued to haul the sleepers into a line. Amanda raked and compacted the compost as it came, and Rebecca started to mow the grassed areas of the property.
Once the sleepers were all in place, I could leave Amanda and the guys with the compost, and set about removing the old Leylandii, and also clear the ivy and sapling growth etc.
The trees had been planted a number of years ago, and upon digging down to find the roots it quickly became apparent why this particular hedge line had died in the first place. Rather than dig holes deep enough, the 'landscapers' had simply dug shallow holes and then banked soil up not only around the root ball, but also to such a depth that a good 12 inches of stem had been buried! Very poor work.
It was hard work taking it all out, but the new Laurels will look much better as they grow and get formatively pruned over the coming years.
Meanwhile, the guys were still hauling those wheel barrows. It was heavy and laborious work, but they stayed positive and cheerful nonetheless.
By lunchtime most of it had been put in place, and the mowing almost done.
We went our various ways for an hour, and met up on site again after lunch to finish the work. The plants were brought out and set down, and the guys started to clear up the grass area that was caked in soil.
All finished, but as we had a good chunk of the afternoon still to go, we all did a bit of chopping and pruning.
Rebecca was shown how to prune all of the Cornus around the garden, while I helped Amanda with some general snipping and dead heading. The two guys were given a saw each, and set about reducing a very big shrub in rediness for the next piece of border renovation that will happen in a week or so.
We all left very tired indeed, but not too tired for a quick pint in the pub before going home. A really productive day, and thanks to everyone for their help.