"A blank slate"

The removal of some trees has created a new garden area.
Sunday, 11 November 2012     

The main tree that was removed from our garden

In an established garden, such as mine is now, one rarely gets the chance to create a whole new section. New plants must be shoe-horned into small spaces or one waits for another plant to die before something else can be added to a border. Whilst it is a relief to me in many ways to know I will probably never dig another garden border in my garden (my mattock-wielding days are well and truly over), it can be frustrating when there are plants one longs to try (especially shrubs) but there is simply isn't any room.

However, I suddenly do have the opportunity for a new garden area, thanks to the removal this week of four half-dead conifers from our boundary. The trees met the council requirements for removal and the fateful day arrived. These trees were never particularly attractive, and in recent times had started dropping limbs onto our neighbours' roof (hence the instigation of the tree-removal application); however, there is always something quite sad about any tree being felled. One can only dwell on the years and years the tree took to grow to its massive height, the wildlife it harboured, the storms it weathered and the microclimate of shade it created in my garden. It seems incredible that in one morning, 50 or more years of growth can be undone and turned into woodchips.

We were very lucky that the men who took our trees down were very careful not to tromp all over adjacent garden beds and did a very neat job. It certainly is a shock to see a huge empty space where the trees were. However, it is exciting to plan what could go there. As this is not an ideal time to plant, I am hoping not to rush into it but think about it pretty carefully and spend some time improving the soil in the new border. It has been starved for many years by the greedy roots of the conifers and has had little organic matter added to it for decades.

After my epiphany with the recent garden ramble - when I realised I should have more plantings for spring - my thoughts are turning towards including at least a couple of spring-flowering shrubs (perhaps some deciduous Viburnum) and some long-flowering Camellia that bloom into spring. But I have also realised that I now have a place for some of those massive Salvia specimens that have been ousted for smaller areas due to their wide girth. The position is also ideal for some of the old, larger-sized marguerite daisies (which seem to be the best doers in our climate compared to the smaller hybrids) and Pelargonium varieties, which struggle in other areas of my garden. I got cuttings of these this spring when I visited some lovely gardens and would love to have a spot to plant them.

It might seem from my ramblings as if this border is of Jekyllian proportions of 100 metres or more in length: in reality it is about 5 metres in length and 2 metres wide! In my mind, I have already filled the area over a dozen times or more! It's fun to dream and I look forward to autumn when I will put my dreams into practice!

 Reader Comments

1/6  Anne - 2518 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Sunday, 11 November 2012

sounds as though you will be busy! I think the older marguerite daisies do so much better than the new ones too and picked up a lovely double pink one at Epping a couple of months ago. good luck with the "new" area. Thanks, Anne, I have always loved daisies but never had the right spot for them in my current garden. i have some cuttings of the one pictured in the blog so hope to plant one of them in the new section. Deirdre

2/6  Beverley - 2113 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Sunday, 11 November 2012

How wonderful !! I get excited if I have one vacant space and can happily lie awake at night think what I could plant there. Of course I change my mind a dozen times. Such fun. I will be thinking of you. Beverley. Thanks, Beverley.It is great fun to ponder on it! Deirdre

3/6  Jan - 2582 (Zone:9 - Cool Temperate) Sunday, 11 November 2012

While out of area for you - I"m cool climate gardening in Yass - I first got onto your blog through Salvia searches. I"m a big Salvia fan and with 33 acres am only limited by frost and my ability to dig new gardens in a granite landscape. They"re not to everyone"s taste, but when I look at my massive Salvia"s I"m especially grateful I have room for them. Enjoy your new plot of possibilities! (And thank for the well documented pictures and information about Salvias!). Thamks. Jan. It must be wonderful having all that space! Deirdre

4/6  Jennifer - 3796 (Zone:10 - Mediteranean) Sunday, 11 November 2012

We are also in the process of retaining a sloping bank that has been unusable. It"s opening up a whole new garden bed approx 15m X 2m. Half of which is complete, the other half still a wonderful dream waiting to unfold. Choosing the plants is as much, if not more, fun as watching them grow. Enjoy making your choice. And please let us know what you decide on. I"d love hear how your new garden unfolds. Thanks, Jennifer. Good luck wih your new area too. I"ll report back once the bed is planted up! Deirdre

5/6  Madeline - 2145 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 12 November 2012

Lambley Nursery is a really good mail order nursery, they sell all sorts of dry climate plants (not natives), and heaps of lovely salvias. Their service is excellent, and their plants are big and healthy,not those tiny things that die as soon as you plant them.They also have a really good set of DVD"s that I can highly recommend. They will send you a catalogue if you ask, but their website is really good. Thanks for that information, Madeline. Always good to know where to get healthy plants, and the DVDs sound great too. Deirdre

6/6  Margaret - 2122 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Saturday, 24 November 2012

Can relate to your feelings about cutting down trees, it is sad, but exciting to have the opportunity to plant other things. I recently had a camellia cut back really hard, and in the space have planted some Iresene. brown Nicotiana, quite a few zinnias, some hippeastrums, ivy geraniums, penstemons and some small begonia canes, as well as some petunias. I am really pleased with the new space; the camellia will grow back, although it won"t occupy the same amount of space!

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