A nice, slow, and interesting start to the new gardening year. There have been a couple of projects to get under way, the first of which is this place.
We have worked for several members of this family, at various locations, since we first ever started Four Seasons twenty years ago. The garden to this house was never really thought out properly when the place was built. The house itself is really quite beautiful, and set in a vast garden, mostly of which is to the rear, and 90% of which is itself sloping woodland. That area is getting some attention in the next four to five years, but for now we have upgraded the smaller front garden.
The main issue was with the original planting carried out by the builders during construction of the property, which given the ground and location were totally inappropriate. There is a surrounding wall, which, because of it's size meant that the concrete footings extended out into the garden about two and a half feet. Planted along this were Cupressus sempervirens, which in themselves are really quite stunning trees, that offer a formality that the whole site requires. One problem, and perhaps the main one is that they don't have a very large and strong root system, and so, what with the concrete being in the way only six inches under the surface of the soil, they grew, but were never going to be very secure in their new surroundings. Sure enough, last winter there were strong winds, and the already wobbly trees could take it no more and leaned all over the place.
Another issue we faced was the large trampoline needed by the family for their young children. It needed to remain, but we felt that it didn't need to dominate the garden such as it did.
A proposal was put forward, it was accepted, and last month we set about the work. The right hand border was lined with disused railway sleepers, and first we rearranged these to create a much larger border to the end of the garden. To prevent them from moving, we had to drive steel bars through them and into the ground.
Next, the corner area was built up, and the trampoline secured and levelled.
Any grass was sprayed off to prevent further growth......
....and then the soil and bark mulch were delivered, all fourteen tons of it. Rebecca handled the placing of it, while myself and Amanda discussed any complications that may occur during the day.
Everybody grabbed a spade, and soon enough the soil was in place to build up the new border.
We had taken out every single plant beforehand, and saved a selection of the existing shrubs according to their size and interest. Due to the fact that the house itself has a slightly oriental look to it because of it's shape and roof, we wanted to maintain the formality along the long white wall, and provide something that in appearance offered the same shape as the cupressus, had some colour throughout the year, but more importantly grew more securely.
We chose Prunus 'Amanogawa', a fastigiate Japanese flowering cherry tree that offers up fragrant flowers in the spring, and richly coloured leaves in the autumn. The root system is also more appropriate to where they are being planted, and given that they will be leafless during the wildest times of the year, should hold up better to any winds than their predecessors.
Under planted with a low hedge of Euonymus japonicus 'Aureo Marginata', the plan is for the formal line to lead the eye to the much less formal border at the end, which will in itself provide an array of colour and shapes throughout the year.
A timber edged path was created for access to the trampoline, which will be hidden by the use of some existing large shrubs that we transplanted, and will allow to grow even bigger.
It needs about three years to establish properly, but it should work.