The first part of the garden to be planted, about five years ago, was a gravel strip running from the car park to the start of the woodland, in between the grass (I hesitate to call it a lawn as it is in such a terrible mess after having buried in chippings for years) and the vegetable patch. Over the last few years the plants have spread until such a point that people don’t realise that it is something that they can walk through – gravel garden, what gravel? Still, quite pretty no?
It might be slightly overgrown but Lola manages to find her way through somehow…
Even though its planting is far from perfect I have always liked it – especially in the late summer sunshine. This year I was particularly proud of the towering echiums that made it through last winter’s snows and flowering through much of this year. Fingers crossed that they self seed…
That narrow strip however was never intended to be the main part of the gravel garden – merely the entrance to it. This summer I finally embarked on the main project – to create a larger gravel garden that would also house a BBQ, fire pit and eating area away from the house (partly to provide a new space but also to ensure that any flames are as far away from the house as possible – especially after some guests decided to use a throw away BBQ on the room five deck and set it alight). I must have been in a very optimistic mood when I started out as I thought that it would only take me a month to create – even against the backdrop of a busy summer of guests.
Of course it was much more time-consuming than I expected, taking the best part of four or five months and it’s not quite finished even now. First the grass had to be lifted (manually of course – absolutely no point rotavating it all into the ground only for it to reappear in a few weeks), barrow and distribute about twelve bulk bags of gravel and of course plant the plants.
Budget means that most of the plants are necessarily small and they will take a while to mature. Wherever possible I have also grown from seed (with limited success I have to be honest) or transplanted self-sown seedlings from other parts of the garden. Even after a few weeks I am pretty pleased with how the plants are settling in.
The plants are pretty standard garden fare – Rudbeckia, Thalictrum, Artichoke, Hemerocalis, Agapanthus, Rosemary, various Euphorbia, Eryngium, Lilies – but hopefully over time I will add some more unusual plants.
We have added in some sun chairs and have finally added in the much promised fire pit.