Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Gardening by design

I'm in a musing sort of mode today, musing over something which has been flitting through my mind for a few months now, namely a plan, so far unformed, to have a sideline enterprise related to gardening. Julie (as a professional gardener) and I have many discussions over this looking ahead to 2011 when I finish my stint on Saving Species. I have in effect a career blank canvass in front of me, so now is the time to make a few preliminary doodles. My idea is something along the lines of gardening for emotions, but so far a unique idea hasn't formulated itself, as many other people also are doing something similar to this. I know there is something there I'm looking at but un-observing. Time will tell me what this is. However today I thought where better to shape and form an enterprise than on the blank canvass of my own back garden.

All my life gardening has been present in some form or another. Last night we were kindly invited to a BBQ by a producer on Saving Species for an end of current run celebration. I've known this producer for many years but have not visited their wonderful wildlife friendly home before.

The path up to the front door sets the scene exactly for what the rest of the garden is like. Exotically stuffed with flowers to attract as many insects and other wildlife as possible. Everywhere are bug boxes and tubes. On the water barrel, some bug boxes were temporarily left there before finding a home for them, and these unsecured domiciles can not now be moved as they are occupied by leaf-cutter bees happily stuffing leaves into the tubes. In the middle of the above photo is a sign, warning visitors of a subterranean wasps nest by the door.

Equally the back garden is just a myriad of pleasure, vegetables mixed in with shrubs and wild flowers, and so on an evening like last night the humm and buzz of wildlife made the heart beat just that little bit quicker as the sun danced amongst the foliage.

Returning home I looked at my own uncluttered and wildlife impoverished back garden. I've only been in this house since December 2009 and due to work commitments haven't really had a chance to do anything meaningful to change the layout. When I bought the house it had no borders or shrubs, being laid out as only lawn and decking, with a single silver birch along one edge. This suited the young family who lived here as they didn't have time, or interest to garden. It was an extension of their house for parties inclusive of 40 electric lights and a hot tub. Very easy to maintain, but not my style at all.

In the spring I did have time to dig a small border, with a tiny pond and erected an archway, but that is about all. The pond may be small but already a friendly frog has taken up residence, proving that even a tiny amount of water will bring wildlife in. I've also noticed diving beetles in there, and blanket weed from somewhere.

However this morning I spent a bit of time in the garden wandering about and wondering. In the 7 months I've been here I've not really had a chance to work out a plan. I think because there is so much decking, I can't see the wood for the trees, literally. My instinct is to dig it up as it is laid on gravel. But for the moment the decking does provide an easy to maintain hard area to sit on.

While having a cup of tea and wandering about, because of recent heavy rain, the lawn has emerged emerald green and is growing at an alarming rate. It needs cutting. So I had a thought. Instead of cutting the entire lawn tonight, I will shape beds into the lawn by mowing only part of it, therefore letting some of the grass grow longer. It's too late in the year to produce a wildflower meadow this season, but if I use the lawn as a blank canvass to draw (mow) on, I can amend the design at will before making bigger commitments (and mistakes). I also have problems with creating a wildflower meadow as this is heavy clay soil. But a good rummage through the Bright Seeds website has given me hope and inspiration.

So that's my plan, such as it is. I'd also like to get movement into the garden, and sound. As such I'm also wondering if I can construct an aeolian wind harp. Nothing as elaborate as those on this website here, but I did read an article about Mohican Wind Harps which interested me. Sand Bay my local piece of coastline has many huge pieces of driftwood brought in..... are there the bones for a wind harp to be found out there I wonder?

And so it begins. I've no timeline or plan, but any results will be sure to waft through to the blog. In the meantime I shall marvel at the ripe tomato from my much neglected outdoor plants. I bought the grow-bags and plants a month ago then didn't have time to stake them, so they're sprawling over the decking. But they are turning red!

And finally this website also interested me over the weekend..... after all we all have a need to sit back and enjoy the garden too...... now where is that bottle of wine? I must do more thinking !!

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