Monday, 13 September 2010

In my garden today

The latest fad in UK gardening seems to be called "rivers of colour" and I'm as susceptible as the next person to fads, so have started some rivers of colour of my own.  The idea, as if I needed to explain, is to plant a meandering strip of plants all the same colour, winding through your garden.

We already had some black grass  (Ophiopagon) growing in part of the area I wanted to treat this way, so I bought some more plants and also divided some that had established themselves and started to spread.

Sadly, there still aren't enough plants to look impressive,but I think you can get an impression of what I'm aiming at.  Next year, however, I expect it will look a lot better.  I'll add plants on an ad-hoc basis and broaden the strip until it looks OK.  There is another strip elsewhere in the garden, but that is even less impressive!

I've also taken about 40 cuttings of pinks, and if they all grow I'll plant them alongside the black grass, hopefully as a pleasing contrast.  Also, with that many pinks in flower, we might stand a chance of smelling their gorgeous scent without scrabbling around on hands and knees!

The other thing we've achieved over the past few weekends is to sort out the area around the ex-blue-cypress and under the silver birch.

As I mentioned a while ago, we had all the foliage stripped off the cypress because it was getting too big for the garden, and left it with just the trunk and main branches, forming an architectural feature in the garden.

Finally, we've planted stuff around the base of the trunk and repaved the area under the birch where we like to sit and watch the world go by sometimes.

The birch is not a happy bunny, with the branches closest to the blue cypress bearing rather small, sickly yellow leaves.  A few years ago we lifted the paving slabs immediately around the birch, thinking to improve the water supply, but that had no effect.

Part of our thinking in killing the cypress was that it might be exuding a toxin of some sort that was affecting the birch, since it's only the branches nearest that are affected.  Not completely making this up;  I have heard of trees giving off noxious vapours to keep the competition at bay, though never seen it in action.

Now that the cypress is dead, we hope the birch will recover.  We didn't kill the cypress until rather late in the year, so are not greatly surprised the birch hasn't perked up yet, but just to be on the safe side, the paving nearest it is concrete blocks rather than slabs, so the rain that falls there can soak through and get to its roots.  We'll have to withold judgement until next year, of course.  No idea what we'll do if it's still sick then.

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