Archive | May 2012

Finally: Lawn dry enough to mow, pond deeper!

We’ve had a few years of relative drought in the South-East of the UK, followed by the wettest April since records began (1910).

My heavy clay soil keeps the water and for the last few weeks (even though it hasn’t rained much), my feet have squelched through the lawn (as it would in previous years around january and February).

For that reason, it has been impossible to mow near to the pond (as the mower created tracks in the soil and could have got bogged down altogether) until this weekend.

Meanwhile, the pond keeps getting deeper as the level rises – showing how the water takes a few days or even a couple of weeks to drain into the pond itself. Here’s a photo of the pond level at the moment, you can compare it to the previous photo, showing the depth increasing over the last two months.

Pond - finally deeper

Pond – finally deeper


Planting out in the fern garden / petrified forest

My little corner fern garden is improving as the ferns grow larger each year.  The trunks of the trees are whitening with age, though like most beds, it could always do with more.

Last September I bought some leptinella Platt’s Black, you may remember that my blog entry from January showed the quick and easy way I propagated some more from the roots that simply fell off as I took them out of their pots and split them in half.  

Well, this is the photo from a couple of weeks ago and now I have planted them out between the ferns to increase the ground cover in my petrified forest.  I think the photos speak for themselves, the terms will continue to grow all summer, of course, and the fronds spread out and downwards, meanwhile if you look hard at the photo you can see the petrinella itself,

it is at ground level and some of them are already spreading, I hope over time they will create large mats of cover, matching in with the ferns.

By the way; if you are wondering where I got the trunks from, they are mainly cut branches from a few trees that had grown into interesting shapes along with a couple of trunks from the trees that were in this area of the garden when we moved in that Dave G and I chopped down around two years ago – thanks Dave,


Petrinella Platt’s Black


Petrified forest – March


Petrified Forest – May



Petrified trunks

Please welcome Bernadette

You wander around the garden centres and see a lovely pot or a great sculpture, take a look at the price tags, whistle through your teeth and wish it was half, or perhaps a quarter of the price.

Well, bargains can be had, try reclamation yards as they often have interesting bits and pieces. As many of their customers are looking for pieces for building, looking around with a gardener’s eye can get you interesting items to place in the garden at a low price – even what looks like a pile of bricks could be made into a small folly, just enough for a corner that looks like aged building can add to a flower bed that needs something different to liven it up.

And you don’t necessarily have to throw out old pots either. We had a greg pot on the patio that fell and the top was chipped, it now sites in a bed, half buried at an angle and the chip in the top goes along with its placement and looks fine to me.

So, to Bernadette. She was on eBay – I often look on eBay but the skill is not to get bidding for those items that everyone else is going for – be patient and you can grab a bargain. I saw Bernadette and sadly for the seller, no-one had bid for her – so in the last 30 seconds I put in a bid at the starting price (£30) and snapped her up. She’s over a metre high (3 feet) and though she probably won’t live in the grass forever, that’s where she is now. I took out part of the turf to be able to place a paving slab where the top is just under the height of the surrounding grass and there she sits.

One great thing about her is that she is already weathered, no doubt she was a bit bright when first bought, but now she’s older like all of us.  OK, so she’s lost a bit of an arm, well that no doubt put other people off buying her, but we’re none of us perfect.  One friend said “all she needs is a bit of a scrub up”, I’m not sure if that was meant as a joke, but “Nooooooo” – she’s better as she is, the dark patches of lichen etc all add to her beauty, emphasise her shape and show her age like an old wine bottle – “you’re paying for that dust, don’t clean it off!”  Let her mellow further and be careful not to destroy her beauty by over-zealous cleaning.

I have been asked “Why Bernadette?” – I’ve no idea really, it came to me as I drove her home – and I wasn’t listening to the Four Tops at the time, she just whispered in my ear “Call me Bernadette”, so I do.