Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Queen of Carpets

When we bought our house many years ago it had two "silly" lawns at the front.  So we took them out and made a Sink Garden from the smaller one and a Sunken Garden from the larger.

The Sunken garden is just two steps down but that drop makes all the difference to the atmosphere and feel of the space.

We decided to plant Cotoneaster 'Queen of Carpets' at the front of each step and created narrow soil gaps between the steps to plant it in.

Queen of Carpets is wonderfully prostrate and requires only the slightest trim after its Spring flowering.  It has dainty white flowers in the Spring and bright red berries in the Autumn.  But its really special feature is just how prostrate it is.  It stays flat all the time.

Here it is in the Spring.  Each row is 15 metres long.

Is this the longest step underplanting in the UK?

More recently we noticed a new phenomenon.  The bottom row of Queen of Carpets was creeping along the cracks in the York Stone flags of the Sunken Garden.  Absolutely flat and only in the cracks.

We thought this was wonderful and decided to plant Queen of Carpets in spaces all over the Sunken Garden so that it would fill all the cracks.

Every Autumn we take cuttings and put them in pots of soil and grit.  We leave them all Winter under the North side of a hedge.  In the Spring these give us new plants, which we position in the earth holes which are scattered  over the Sunken Garden.

It  will take time.  But one day all the cracks in the Sunken Garden could be filled with Queen of Carpets.

That could be unique.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Ponds and Grandchildren

Ten years ago we decided that we wanted water in the garden.  A friend designed an elegant circular pond with granite sets round it and a very attractive curved bridge over it.  The bridge led from the large double doors of the Family Room into the garden.

It took an awful lot of digging out and when it was finally constructed it leaked!  So we spent even more time and money sealing it with bitumen.

Soon after it was completed our daughter announced the imminent arrival of her first baby.

We had to do something.  At first we thought we might mesh it over with strong steel bars  But they are ugly and make the pond difficult to maintain.  We thought we might fence it in.  But that would be even uglier.  Inevitably someone would leave the gate open.  And we wouldn't be able to use the bridge.

So we decided to turn it into a Bog Garden, leaving the granite sets and the bridge in place.

We hired a Kango Hammer and punched holes in our recently achieved waterproofing.  And filled it with several tons of gravel and compost.

Since then the bridge has been used all the time by the eventual five grandchildren.  They run back and forth over it with enormous pleasure.  Whilst there has been the occasional topple into the bog garden, there have been no ill effects to either the children or the plants.

It's their favourite spot and frankly we prefer it as a bog garden rather than a pond.

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