Last year I made a start on a new ‘Gravel Garden‘ inspired by Beth Chatto’s garden in East Essex – a very grand name for basically removing half of my lawn in order to plant more flowers. It started well, but then I got bogged down because of my health (May) and then my son’s (July) who came to recuperate in Cornwall for 3 months, plus family visiting from Australia in September. By the time I was on my own again it was too wet and cold to do much in the garden. This spring I completed the final design, laid down cardboard on the areas that I wanted to remove the grass from and finally, last week, finished the project.
I had managed to remove the grass from along the low granite wall on the boundary and from around the large flat granite stone which serves as a bird bath. I planted hardy geraniums, several Carex grasses, a New Zealand shrub ‘Olearia Haastii‘ which has white daisy flowers in late summer (below), a rosemary cutting and ground-covering sedum around the edge of the stone then chucked a packet of mixed annual seeds into the black recycled plastic raised beds which I was using to kill off more lawn.
By the end of August 2017 it was looking like this.
In May / June this year (2018) I finally got around to marking out where I wanted the lawn to be, by tying strings across from one corner to the other. It creates an asymmetrical design which is a bit odd for me as I like things to be symmetrical usually, but it works. More cardboard was laid and some turf removed.
Now, mid August 2018 the area looks like this:
The gravel path has been widened somewhat so that the lawn now is mostly a grassed path from the shed to the patio. Plus extra width where the rotary drier is situated. The raised beds have been pushed together to create a 1m x 2m bed and planted up with bee and butterfly friendly plants all in the colour scheme of pink, blue and purple. I am hoping that next year this will be quite beautiful and edging plants like geranium and nepeta will hide the black. If not I may try removing the bed altogether once the plants have established themselves. The area under the Kilmarnock Willow tree has been enlarged and edged with rocks and pebbles with Heuchera, Heucherella and Tiarella plants along the edge, hoping these will spread out. They have done well under the Corkscrew Hazel so they should. The fence is still quite bare here, I had planted a couple of climbers last year, one, a Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) appeared to have died in the snowy weather, but I have recently noticed a shoot near the base of the plant so fingers crossed. The other climber is slowly making its way up the fence and I have completely forgotten what it is! Next year I might attempt to grow a few annual climbers here or possibly a white Passion Flower.
So, what’s next I hear you say…