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Climber suggestions for a dark(ish), postage-stamp yard. And some progress updates on the redesign

Discussion in 'NEW Gardeners !' started by Chris20, Aug 22, 2020.

  1. Victoria

    Victoria Lover of Exotic Flora

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    Looks good! Me, rightly or wrongly, I would have chopped half or more of the roots off! Well, that's what they do to Olive trees here.

     
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    • Chris20

      Chris20 Gardener

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      As the weather has returned to it's regular damp, overcast state, and I've spent most of the day procrastinating, I thought I'd add another update.

      So much for finishing the job in a week :rolleyespink: , although I have made some noticeable progress. All the plant tubs have been moved to the southern side of the yard while I work on the bigger section.
      The raised bed and table is slowly being dismantled. Once I got below the top, I realised the whole base unit is something I 'designed' and constructed myself. Simply a strong, solid platform for the raised bed. It's worked quite well, and should be easy enough to reduce from 90cm deep to 60cm deep. The hardest part will be getting the mitre joints correct when I cut down the ends of the raised bed. All the timber cutting will be done in the cellar, so not completely ruled by the weather, although I would like the wood to dry out a little before I take it inside.

      100_2805.JPG

      I left the top on a little longer as it was a useful platform for working on the walls.
      Talking of which, I decided to focus on the walls while the weather is good, as that's probably the part most dependant on it being dry. Most of the walls have now been cleaned and I've started painting the biggest one. A before & after of the right hand section. As the bottom of the wall doesn't get as much sunlight, or air circulation, I want to let it dry out a bit longer before I paint it. The small wall at the end will need even longer to dry out!
      100_2808-9.JPG

      I've also managed to get a layer of undercoat on the neighbour's fascia board. It's quite rotten in places, but at least it will look better. I originally planned to paint it white, I'm now considering painting it black for a little contrast. It will depend partly whether I've a tin of black gloss anywhere, as I don't plan to buy some especially.


      Another issue I've noticed, when it rains there's a big puddle in the middle of the yard. It can be seen in the top photo. It's not a big problem as it does seem to soak away in a couple of hours once the rain has stopped, and I won't be going out much while it's raining. It may clear up even quicker under normal circumstances, but the ground has had a good drenching recently with all the cleaning I've been doing, along the any rain we've had.
      I've yet to try lifting & re-sitting any of the flags, so don't know how easy it will be, but this is going on the list of jobs to do. I may leave it until next year when I've hopefully more time, or if I decide it's simple, then something to do this summer.

      Also, connected to moving the flags, I've been thinking about the position of the climbers that first brought me here. While I'm still working toward @Selleri's suggestion about moving a flag, or at least knocking a chunk out of one to allow the roots to grow deeper, I'm wondering if it would work just as well planting on top of the flags, and letting the roots find their own way through the cracks. The hazel had already done this, as the root I had to cut off was over half an inch in diameter at ground level. The Spirea also had a few small roots that had worked their way under. Any thoughts on whether that's a good, or bad idea welcomed.
       
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      • noisette47

        noisette47 Total Gardener

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        Bad idea. Would you put babies on the floor in a kitchen and leave them to see if they survive? :nonofinger:
         
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        • Perki

          Perki Total Gardener

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          Surprising what a bit of paint can do . And no remove part of a flag for a climber not all rot systems are equal. A hazel is a tree it will put out strong thick roots to stabilize the plant , a lot of climbers I can think of have a fibrous root system.
           
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          • Chris20

            Chris20 Gardener

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            Another self motivational (hopefully) update, and more requests for ideas.
            The weather has been something of a hindrance lately, and with no sign of any big changes, the task is going to take even longer. Not that I mind. I'm enjoying it when I can get out, and may even be a little disappointed when it's all finished, but I'm already having thoughts about what I could do next year.

            I managed to finish painting the main wall. I was waiting for the lower part to dry out as much as possible, and when I heard the forecast on Friday, I decided not to wait any longer. The cut-down raised bed is also re-built, although I've not filled it yet. I was leaving it in case I wanted to move it again, but I think it's okay there now.
            100_2826.JPG

            I've also moved the cherry & holly to their 'final' positions. I'll need to move them again when I want to make a hole for whatever I plant against the wall, but that's easy enough.
            100_2833.JPG

            I think I mentioned before that the cherry blossom tree isn't in great shape. I've cut off as much of the dead branches as I could, so it's a bit tidier now, and when I get back out there, I'm planning to give it some TLC, or at least a bit of plant food. A quick search suggests that a general purpose slow release product is good enough, so I'll dig some in.

            On the subject of the cherry, I've had nothing more than some cat-grass and weeds in the pot with it previously, but as it now has a prime position in the sunshine, it looks an ideal spot for a little more decoration. Any suggestions on something that would hopefully grow well with it? Or maybe just letting some grass grow & planting a few bulbs would be a better idea.:scratch:

            Next job on the list, which I'd like a little dry weather for, is moving and re-laying the paving. Just on the south side of the gate there are 2 large slabs. The one against the wall is intact, the one next to it is broken at one end. I'm hoping to swap the 2 slabs around, then the gap left by the broken off piece will make an ideal opening in the ground to plant the ivy, when I get it.

            One idea I've had to abandon, at least for now, is including my small grow-house in the plans. I'd been thinking it would go between the raised bed & the water butt on the north wall, but other factors make that impractical, so for now it's homeless.
             
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            • noisette47

              noisette47 Total Gardener

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              The progress so far is very attractive :) Could I just mention, though, that cherries are prone to suckering if their roots are damaged, so it might be an idea just to sow some hardy annual seeds on top, and give them a light covering of compost. That way, you'll have flowers without having to dig!
               
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              • Chris20

                Chris20 Gardener

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                Another quick one, to help keep the mind focussed.
                Progress has been extremely slow, mostly down to the weather, but I have managed to get a bit more done.
                Swapping the concrete paving slabs was easier than expected, and this provided a hole in the paving for one of climbers. On the left side of the gate I had been planning to sit the climber in the middle of the wall, but then I noticed the paving in front of the gate already had a crack in it, so I decided to make use of it. Now there's a hole either side of the gate just waiting to be filled. I've also put together a couple of log-rolls, with the intention of placing them on top of the holes, although I'll need to find a good way to keep them in place. I'm sure I can find some metal bars or something to use as stakes, or maybe just small wooden stakes will suffice.

                The raised bed is filled again. So far all I've planted is the tea-rose, in the far corner, and some rosemary closer to the house. It's been on the kitchen worktop for a couple of months, so hopefully it will like it's new home. What else to put in it, besides a few herbs, I've not thought about much yet (hoping for a few suggestions :fingers crossed: ). The lavender (in the tub) is quite leggy, so I may just get another small one if I still want some. I may still try & find a home for this one as I'm loathe to throw away good plants.

                The hazel is in roughly the position I expect it to be once everything's finished. A small pile of rocks just to the right of it marks the approximate position where the corner of the bike shed will be, once I re-build it. I considered swapping positions if the hazel & holly, but decided I quite like the idea if the hazel in the middle of the yard. They're easy enough to move, so practicality, and how much I get poked & scratched, will probably be the final decider.

                The photo was taken through the window, so there's a slight reflection, especially on the butt containing the hazel, and a little less so in the lower centre (blurring the Spirea).
                100_2835.JPG

                Most of the original remaining work-plan is cleaning & painting in the part not visible in this photo. Luckily the forecast is promising some better (at least warmer) weather, so I may get a chance over this bank holiday weekend.

                Or for more fun stuff I think I'm about ready to visit the garden centre and have a look at some plants.
                Top of the list are the climbers. Ivy on one side; I'll see if there is anything that I find particularly appealing before deciding.
                And there's Honeysuckle, I think, on the other. You've given me a few suggestions, so I'll see if those are available, or if there's any other variety that may work.

                Then there's something to go with the cherry. noisette47 suggested scattering some seeds, but there's plenty of room in the tub for another an inch or two of soil, so I could add some young plants on top, rather than just seeds, if only to give it a head start. (prepares to be told off again)
                I may just get a few annuals for the raised bed too, until I decide what to do with it.
                 
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                • Perki

                  Perki Total Gardener

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                  You' have to be careful with ivy its a give it an inch it will take a mile kind of plant sometimes not all species are over vigorous . Have a think about jasmine Trachelospermum still a vigorous plant but with some flowers and autumn foliage colouring, it will not like full shade so will require around 4 hours at least of sun light .
                   
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                  • Chris20

                    Chris20 Gardener

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                    @Perki Can I take that under advisement? I've been reading some comments about growing ivy on, or near the house and there's quite a split between 'it's lovely' and 'don't touch it'.
                    I've already forewarned my neighbour, as the ivy would be sure to stray her way given a chance, but she's not bothered. In fact she's already growing, or trying to grow some herself. I'd be inclined to stop it spreading to her property though, as once it escapes my control, it may not be easy to regain, and I don't want it spreading toward the houses.

                    I read somewhere that 'some ivies don't have clinging roots', instead just twining through supports, but the one example they gave does, at least according to the RHS.
                    This is going to need some careful thought.:frown: If the information in the garden centre is good, I may just choose one from what's available, but if not, I'll be making a list for further research.
                     
                  • Chris20

                    Chris20 Gardener

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                    Impatience has taken hold. I started rushing, and that rarely ends well, so I decided to have a relaxing wander around the garden centre.

                    Armed with the earlier warning
                    and the assistance of a helpful & quite knowledgable sounding employee at the centre, I ended up getting some ivy after all. Hopefully I've chosen some easily manageable varieties. If I turn up in a few years shouting 'Help', feel free to refer me to earlier warnings, along with comments such as 'I told you so'.:doh:

                    Lonicera japonica 'Halliana', and Hedera helix 'Green Ripple' were my choices. The honeysuckle is supposedly evergreen, and the ivy, a slower grower than other varieties suggested. Both are now planted, so I'm just watering & waiting.
                    100_2842 - Copy.JPG

                    Reading the label on the honeysuckle, I may have other problems with it in the future. It's advised to plant it 40cm from the support, but it's only planted about 20cm from the wall. More of an issue could be opening the gate, if it's left to grow unchecked for a long time.

                    I also decided to get a few bedding plants to fill the raised bed, at least until I decide what else I'd like to grow in it. As usual, I got carried away, picking up far more plants than I've got room for.
                    100_2841.JPG I filled the raised bed, then decided to add some compost to the pot with the cherry, and add some colour to it. With a couple of plants in another small trough, and more in an old hanging basket I found in the cellar, most are now replanted. At least The surroundings are more pleasant while I'm trying to rebuild the shed.
                    Another change I've tried, is to squeeze the Spirea between the raised bed & the cherry. It was taking up so much space in it's previous position. I'll have to give it some time to see if I'm happy with it there.

                    100_2852 - Copy.JPG

                    Another problem I may have is over ownership of the pot with the cherry. Not sure how well it shows on this image, but on the left is the tub as it is now. On the right, as it was before I started. The cats consider all sunny spots to be theirs for the taking, and even after I'd partially blocked it off with some trellis, they still get in.
                    100_2849 - Copy.JPG
                     

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