Ordinary Decent Gardener
This was not a weekend for gaming. I haven’t exactly been slacking recently in that department having completed Titanfall 2 while studying for my histopathology OSPE. This time I had my eyes set on a different prize. I started digging a bed in Sarah’s parents’ garden a few weeks ago, not fully aware of the challenges that would entail. The soil around is area contains a high percentage of clay. Clay soil is chocked full of minerals for plant growth. That’s good, right? It’s also extremely dense (not quite black hole density) and tends to clump together, making it difficult to work with. It’s all about drainage, something clay soil doesn’t excel at. If the water can’t drain through the soil easily it pools around the roots and can cause them to rot. On the flip side, it’s excellent soil for making natural ponds for precisely the same reason.
So what now? It’s time to add some organic matter in the form of compost, and sand and grit to improve drainage. This sounded easy in theory but in practice proved somewhat challenging. It took a lot of effort to break up the big pieces of clay and remove the intermixed rocks. Step one, remove big rocks. Step two, add small rocks. Eventually after a lot of digging and mixing and turning the soil starts to become easier to work. At a certain point I gave up and decided that would do, and it was time for the plants.
We took a trip to Monkton-Heathfield garden centre and were instantly spoiled for choice. The plan was to construct the corner herb garden with perennials and pick up some stepping stones to make accessing the herbs easier. Our small task quickly spiralled out of control, and we ended up with a trolley full of herbs, alpine flowers and border plants. The initial bed became three.
In with the masses of plants were small tumbled paving stones, which Sarah had the idea of using for a path to access the upper herbs and to create a feature of the corner. After a bout of characteristic skepticism, I grew to appreciate the effect created by the path. Not everyone is as tall as I am, and it’s more practical than pulling a muscle for a sprig of rosemary.
The herb garden finished up with three varieties of thyme, two of oregano, one rosemary plant, three types of mint, chives, parsley, and tarragon. The other beds have a variety of alpine plants including strawberries. It has been a long time since anything aside from grass grew in this garden. Next step is to put a few more plants in the stump bed, and dig out the wildlife pond. Wish us luck!