My parents helped me with the move and stayed for a couple of days to help with jobs. One of the first jobs mum wanted to do, even when we were still unpacking was to tackle a pile of rocks, mud, ferns and couch grass, which must have been a rockery in the past. The couch grass was long and out of control. And it was hard to see what it was meant to look like. This is in the more ornamental area of the garden.
So its the area in front of the brown shed, this is what it looked like before we moved in, so was already pretty overgrown.
Once we moved in, it was obvious that it hadn’t had any attention for a long time. My parents were only visiting for a few days, but mum was keen to get on with this area, so who was I to stop her?
So she began to remove stones, rocks, couch grass and various other bits. But still it looked like a muddy pile of nothing. She had to go back home and it got left.
I then tackled it some more, with the help of my neighbours cat. I took some of the excess mud and put it on the site we were clearing as growing space. But again it didn’t look much better, in fact it looked worse. It was a muddy slippery mess, and so slippery it was hard to do anything. So I just left it. Theres no more pictures of it at this point, lucky for me I guess. So then I had the idea of keeping the area raised and using bricks to edge it, so it will be a mini raised bed. I decided to try and salvage some of the plants that were growing in there. So I scrapped some mud up and got some bricks. I put the bricks on their ends and slightly dug them into the mud, and then compacted mud around them, to give them support. I cleared up the plants and levelled the soil in the raised bit, added in some soil that I had kept aside. I then added a huge amount of bulbs that I had bought on offer and not gotten around to planting in time, so I wasn’t sure if they would still grow.
So the raised bit looked great, very neat by my standards, but unfortunately it was surrounded by mud, at least half a meter of mud, that was leftover from the work. Not to worry I thought, I’ve seen some grass seeds in one of those sheds. Once I sorted through the shed I found the seed. And began to prepare the ground. I removed all the dock weeds which were growing in the area, if I was going to sow some grass, I may as well do it properly. I then dug it over, raked it and levelled it. I sowed the seed and watered it in.
It was at this point I thought how ironic it was that I spent all this time trying to grow grass here, and at the other side in the growing space I was spending a lot of time removing some grass that I didn’t want. Hmm surely theres a better solution here? So I left it a week, it wasn’t the sunniest week, but there was some sunshine and the only action from the grass seeds, was the blackbirds that came and pecked at them, presumably eating the seeds? I waited a few more days and then decided the best course of action was to move the unwanted grass into the position of where I needed the grass. So to do this I used a fork to make tufts of grass, I loosened in a straight line about a meter across. I then loosened it at 90 degress along the first line, about a fork width each. And then came back about a fork width distance from the original fork line and loosened here. In affect this made lots of square tufts. Each square was then duly checked for any weeds or any other nasties. I scrapped off the mud from the bottom. Often the tufts ended up in different shapes, but still worked just as well. I placed the tufts onto the bare soil, and pressed them in and gave each a good watering. Hopefully they will all take, but if not, there is still some grass that needs removing.
All in all I’m very pleased with this area, the bulbs seem to be growing, the grass matches in and it is no longer a big pile of mud, rocks and weeds. The bricks were left by the previous people, and everything else was things that I had already. The lavender plants had been at our allotment. It was very easy to do, but a bit time consuming, but very much worth it, as this is one of the first things you see in the garden, especially from the kitchen window.
We will have to give the shed some attention soon, and possibly replace some of the wood, as its got very damp in the winter. A gardeners work is never done!