Archive for April, 2011

Developments in the garden

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Although I still haven't found much time for dyeing since our move to Sussex, I have been making some changes in our rather small garden here.

We have been gradually digging out sections of lawn to make more flower beds and planting mainly perennials, including several roses interspersed with lavenders. My husband is concerned that if the beds are too large, this may make cutting the grass difficult, so I have made smallish beds, with a view to making them larger once he has got used to mowing round corners and in narrow areas. I am aiming to concentrate on useful plants, such as dye plants and herbs, and plants which will attract butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects. And I have also decided to get rid of any existing plants here that we simply don't like, as there just isn't room for anything other than plants that please us. So the yucca has gone and the next  plants to go will be a hedge of six small "Castlewellan Gold" conifers next to the Morello cherry tree in the front garden. We hope this will make space for one and possibly two small apple trees. And the war against the ground elder infesting one bed continues. At present this bed is full of daffodils but as soon as they have died down, everything will come out so that we can make another attempt to get rid of this invasive plant. If only it were the variegated ground elder we had in our last garden, which was actually rather nice, especially when in flower.

I have of course started a small dye garden, with second-year woad from my old dye garden growing well and woad and dyer's chamomile seedlings coming on in pots until they are ready to plant out. The dye garden also has a few weld plants, some lady's bedstraw, a rather pathetic-looking rhubarb plant, some perforate St. John's Wort and a very small purging buckthorn bush. The dyer's broom I bought last autumn by mail-order has its own spot in the grass in front of the dye garden and is looking promising. The madder plants I brought with me are at present in a corner of a raised bed destined to become a rose border, so they will have to be given a new home somewhere, possibly in yet another section dug out of the grass.

Here are some photos to give an idea of how the garden is developing.

 

Dye garden bed in front of my summer house, with woad and dyer's broom

 

Raised culinary herb bed with a raised bed for medicinal and other herbs just visible in the background

 

View of the back garden with new flower beds

 

View from the patio

Morello cherry tree in blossom in the front garden