Tag Archives: pennisetum

Dwarf Ornamental Grasses set in slate chips

I always feel better after completing a gardening stint. I think because what happens involves so many parts of me. There’s the obvious physical exertion and movement side and I do love that. There’s the on-the-spot planning that often supersedes the more formal planning that I do before going outside.
The tools – get them all together – you know what you will need (sort of). Don’t forget the gloves, compost, sand, weed container and something to kneel on. There is a type of ritual that goes with a garden session and I enjoy that as well. I always forget something (of course) but the shed, summer house and tool storage box are in close proximity.

Modern looking finish

Modern looking finish

All this preamble preceded yesterday’s little excursion. It has been a dreich week; I had been waiting for some sun and the weather man wasn’t forthcoming soon enough for me. However yesterday dawned – bright, light, clear and sunny. It wasn’t chilly either – about 9ºC – and no wind. The sun, having gone with some geese down south doesn’t shine on the south side of my back garden so everything, being damp from the down-pourings this week or so, doesn’t get to dry out.
The developers, greedy little buggers that they often are, removed all the topsoil and sold it off (ha!) and over the years, although previous owners have added compost, sand and some topsoil, it is still clayey and, in its present damp state, claggy. There were conifers at the bottom of the garden that shaded far too much so I chopped them down. The soil is still pretty mucky with old lateral tree roots spreading out into the lawn – ahem – some grass and moss with weedy stuff – buttercups and daisies (the whole development was once fields), clover and smaller ground covering weeds. So removing the need to mow this ‘grass’ bit by bit has been the best solution.

My mate John and his son Jon have just finished the final construction in the garden for this year. Here is what it looks like – I think it finishes off the decking complex admirably.

Looking to the back fence and crocus bed

Looking to the back fence and crocus bed

The grasses are alternating Pennisetum setaceum Sky Rocket and Pennisetum x advena Fireworks. Poor things – I found them in Homebase as end-of-stock and have kept them watered and in their pots for about 6 weeks.

This is what they will look like in summer - nice!

This is what they will look like in summer – nice!

Mind you, they die back during the colder months anyway and won’t pick up until summer. And now they are in the ground in planting holes that have slate, gravel and sand at the base for drainage with compost to bed them in. I had 6 Senecio cineraria silver (I think). Ragworts are difficult to identify. Anyway I planted three at each end of the slate garden.

Looking east over the decks

Looking east from the Heuchera bed through to the decks

At the bottom of the grass garden and stretching across to the rhododendron is a narrowish strip that has been cleared of old tree roots, grass and dug over. This is the sticky, claggy and clayey bed. There was some sand left over from cementing the pavers in place and added to the clag! Still …
I had already planted all the bulbs at the beginning of September (pat on back!) and now had to fill this bed. I had some 40 mixed crocus and dwarf irises left over and finding bulbs at the end of November wasn’t all that easy. I found 300 crocuses finally at the Garden Centre in Kirkcaldy and spent yesterday dibbing in 340 wee bulbs that are shooting. Covering the holes was difficult because everything was so claggy and damp – took several goes with the backside of the rake.

Long & winding crocus bed - 340 of them

Long & winding crocus bed – 340 of them

The bulb planting in September has started to yield shoots. It has been a lovely summer and a mild autumn so far.

Hence the feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment and weariness. And the joy of sitting down with some wine and Pâté on crackers. Aaah. Very nice too.

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