A blank slate

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.

The new garden area

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.

Robust marguerite daisy in the garden of Masako Piper in Sydney

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!