Here we have it, from hole in the ground to feature tree seat!
I’ve learnt that a ‘standard’ in gardening is basically anything that if it grew naturally by itself then it would be a bush (a shrub). But if every year the lower branches are lopped off it then it can be trained to look, in effect, like a tree.
Here we have a white wisteria standard that is about 5-7 years old. It did flower this spring but unfortunately that was before I got to put it in the ground. It has about 5 foot of clear stem before the branches begin so that when you can sit on the seat under it with a bit of headroom.
Underneath the wisteria I’ve used Spanish white pebbles (large) and we’ve planted 2 albus (white) thyme plants and 2 black dragon ornamental grasses. Over time the thyme will creep over and around the pebbles. So when you tread on it to sit on the bench, you’ll release it’s scent.
The colour of the black dragon grass contrasts nicely with the white thyme and stone. It will provide movement also when there is a breeze. After the wisteria flowers I will have green leaves that will drop during autumn, but hopefully the weeping shape of the branches will hold to catch the frost gracefully in winter. Finally, when the flowers are out in spring time, there’ll be a lovely perfume when you take a seat.
Today is the day for the planting! I had some wonderful people come round and visit my garden to quote on the planting. All were very enthusiastic about the direction it was going in. After quotes and ideas were tendered I took some time to consider a) whether I really wanted to spend money getting a contactor to do the job (doubt is forever present!) and b) who to go with.
I had an expensive quote, a reasonable quote, a quote that never arrived as the contractor had such a lot on and also a contractor that politely declined the job as they felt it was a bit beyond their knowledge level, given that I had quite a defined list of ‘wants’/vision for the garden.
I have to admit that I also did take some time post quotes also to really consider whether this was a job that I could not manage myself. I did a lot of gardening book work and reading to see if I could suss it out … but every time I went to take myself to the nursery to order plants, I found I just had more questions than I did before.
So I went with the contracting. I am so pleased I did! I found that my new and improved plant knowledge meant that I could much more meaningfully engage with my plantsman when agreeing the planting list – which was a wonderful, enjoyable process. We discussed ideas for plants and he made lots of great suggestions before submitting planting lists for me to check through and agree.
It was time spent just going through colours, shapes and textures of plants. A process being coordinated *just for me*. Much as with RTL (the landscaper), this process of bringing in expertise has been a creative one – much like commissioning artists – you want to employ someone you can work with on a practical level (including the ability to have a constructive disagreement), someone you can afford/who is prepared to work to your budget, and also someone who ‘gets you’. Someone who is prepared to work to your style, provide insight and expertly shape your plans along the way.
As you know I’ve asked a few plants people and gardeners to come round and provide me with some quotes on the cost of planting up my new garden. They’ve got a great base to work from. Here is the quote spec and some drawings of the garden (overall plan is the one that is to scale) that I’m sharing to pull in the quotes:
Who said planning was boring – or that colouring pencils are for kids?!
Well, we are going over on the timescale, but every day something new comes together.
Today the weed suppressant matting went down (black stuff in the photo) and part of the trellis that will screen the washing line and utility area from view in the garden was up.
We also seem to have just about nailed where the curve of the brick path will go to at the cabin end. We’ve literally been playing with the lines of the bricks for days to try and get something that visually makes sense and has it’s own kind of logic for the direction of the end of the path. You’d be surprised how much difference a few inches this way or that looks – I.e. when the outside lines of the path did not go either side of doors by a similar number of inches on either side, it didn’t make sense. But I think we’ve got it now (sorry you can’t see it in the pix above, where the are rags on the floor it is because they are protecting the cement footings that have gone down. It will all become apparent tomorrow). So with thanks to my dad, who supplied another 80 reclaimed bricks from his brick collection (true!) we are ready to roll with the next step.
Elsewhere in the garden, the fencing along the side return is now up. Will have a nice time picking climbers to grow up to the trellis there one day – perhaps roses to look out of the kitchen windows at. It’ll all look so different once the shingle is down…
Also, my other half made an interesting suggestion – how about we put a tree to the left (if you are looking at it from outside) of the cabin? It would add necessary height to that side of the garden. We don’t really need another patio there after all as we already have an ample one before the lawn.
So, clearly the next logical step for me to take was to order a romantic semi circle tree bench or ‘kissing seat’ to go around whatever tree we plant in the circle. It cost £80… but anyway: Yay Ebay! 🙂
Half circle tree seat