Corylus contorta & the west side garden

I had set myself a gardening project for this season and hopefully I won’t let it extend into a neighbouring area. Mind you, it is hard to contain an initial project because gardens are larger than projects!

Towards the end of last year, I looked at the hedges that were planted on each of the two side dividing fences and saw that I would be trimming them for decades of which I have only a few left!

Last summer. Good lawn – everything else needing work!

They were tired looking hedges and not particularly attractive so, together with the conifers on the back fence that shaded the sunlight coming in, I had them all cut down.

Mind you a while later after a couple of the hedge trunks had dried, the Hunter Gatherer (now known as WW-the Woodworker) turned one on his lathe. It was the loveliest closest grained very light coloured wood and is at present on WW’s lathe. Here is a photo of it.

Don’t know the name of this wood. Very nice though!

So now I had a rather more inviting blank slate of fence line on which to develop my own idea of a garden that will see the end of what is called a lawn here – mainly moss, straggly grass, buttercups and daisies, dock and other weeds. The demise of the dandelion is nearly complete!

All ready to plant a new west side garden sans grass!

Then in mid December, Central Scotland had some tremendous westerly winds and the two side fences fell down having lost their hedge stays! Little had I realised that the roots and water and added top soil had rotted the fence uprights. I suppose they had been there for some twenty years. Anyway, down they came.

Apparently when this residential development progressed, the developer scraped all the topsoil and on-sold it leaving the development bereft of decent growing medium. Purchasers buying into the development had to ship in top soil (at further cost!). The clay being covered with moisture retentive topsoil and composted materials started to weaken the fence uprights. The uprights had just been thumped into the ground rather than set in cement to protect them from rot.

Sob, it cost quite a bit to replace the fences, however it did give me the incentive to start a garden from scratch. During the same storm a wooden trellis frame had also blown over and the Corylus contorta on one side desperately needed trimming and shaping.

Corylus contorta with some catkins

Now C. contorta is a beautiful tree that shows its catkins late winter and then starts to develop its beautiful leaves early in spring and is in full leaf in summer. It is a slow growing tree and I have a couple of recent photos of it. I suspect that the tree is about 15-20 years old. There is a Pieris japonica ‘Lily of the Valley’ next to the Corylus and I had removed an old neglected Buddleja tricolour bush.

The problem with having a front and back garden and trying to rejuvenate them without spending too much money is the transplanting and reorganising. I decided I would like a purplish look to the west side garden, so I replaced the Buddleja with a B. davidii and couldn’t resist another one – B. lochinch near the fence. They are still very young. But here’s C.contorta in leaf:

I really enjoy having C.contorta in the garden!

The small overgrown garden strip next to the garage was cleaned out to become the bin store and the Vinca minor was transplanted onto the open ground to (eventually) become a good ground cover and smother the weeds and grasses. I dug all the soil away from the new fence and spread the excess over the area I had decided to cultivate. The ground elder was rampant and required some back breaking work of forking and digging, cutting and pulling – and still the damned thing comes back. Talk about a successful plant! Its method of sending roots far down into the soil and bursting forth with healthy green shoots is a tried and true method of the plants we call invasive weeds. Tradescentia (wandering jew) is the same.

I had brought over from our last house two horizontal spreading Ceanothus and I bought a C.’Puget blue’. I have not been very successful with growing Ceanothus and in time C. ‘Puget blue’ flowered and then died.

Still looking bare but …

The two spreading ones are still alive. They all tend to be vigorous and short lived plants (up to 15 years max.) and I will persevere until I succeed!

I transplanted the Muscari latifolium bulbs that had proliferated in the front garden and a large pot bound group of the bulbs into the ground around the shrubs and along the tree border. They are so hardy and have survived the roughest of handling.

Same goes for the purple aquilegia that I hefted up from the front and transplanted around the base of the Pieris, Corylus and Buddlejas. I haven’t yet, but will transplant the purple/blue harebells and the bachelor buttons that are also in the front. Then my purple-themed west side garden will be complete (except for the constant weeding to eradicate the elder and grasses, buttercups and daisies.

Stop Lathe! Here is the finished goblet:



One response to “Corylus contorta & the west side garden

  1. Pingback: Red Root (Ceanothus americanus) | Find Me A Cure

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