Recently we have been trying to help our neighbour, Dave K. identify where badgers are getting into his garden, before ripping up his lawn. We have had our ‘Outback Cam’ in his garden for night after night, and still have not identified their point/s of entry. It is beginning to look as though they patrol his garden on most nights. However it is only now and again that the lawn is devastated. One of his other neighbours put up special’ badger proof’ fencing against a short length of Dave’s boundary. The You Tube videos here show a badger scaling the fencing, and then walking along the top of the trellis on our shared fence line, then probably dropping into our garden.
We are having a Garden Open Weekend in order that interested gardeners can come and enjoy our National Collection of Epimediums.
Of course there will be many other plants to see including trees, shrubs and bamboos.
Unfortunately we do not have the space for raising many Epimedium plants for sale ourselves, but Dave Sisley of Straight Mile Nursery ( www.straightmilenursery.co.uk ) will be here with Epimediums for sale on both days. Over the last few years he has increased his range in stock to include some less common varieties.
Our address is;-
The Magnolias, 18 St John’s Avenue, Brentwood, Essex, CM14 5DF.
We look forward to meeting some of our website followers.
Today we have removed the root bowl of the Magnolia. We used a technique we have used on other fair sized tree stumps in the past.
We did this today without digging out the bowl by sawing the exposed half again lengthwise and splitting this in half again. We pulled each quarter away from the rest with a small hand winch.
This larger growing form of the ‘Willow Leaved Magnolia, Magnolia salicifolia var. arborea, was planted over forty years ago and was purchased from The Seville Garden. It had reached approximately thirty five feet in height and was carrying hundreds of flower buds.
With our son Paul and another neighbour, Dave’s help, Linda and I managed to clear next door’s garden, shred the smaller branches and cut up the trunk into splitable lengths.
The storm also blew a bird feeder out of a shrub just outside our kitchen window, spilling the seed on the path. A field mouse is pictured below, taking advantage of the sudden windfall, in broad daylight (2.00pm).
As in previous winters our gardening activities have been hampered by inclement weather, so work has been done to aquariums instead. They tend to get rather neglected in the other seasons of the year.
We stripped out everything and put an inch (2.5cm) of garden soil in the bottom followed by about three inches (7.5cm) of normal aquarium gravel. We then filled with Essex tap water.
It took very little time to demolish the old bridge as it was quite rotten. If I had known how bad it was I wouldn’t have continued walking over it until the last moment.
Abbotsbury Sub-tropical Gardens, Forde Abbey Gardens and Compton Acres. Using these pictures and online images from searching ‘oriental garden bridges’, I drew a fairly rough, A4 plan of what I thought might achieve an attractive result. We were to utilise the four iron bed-frame fixings from the old bridge and had decided on an arch bridge despite the difficulty in creating a pair of twelve foot long arches. I reckoned six inch by an inch and a half thick would be adequately strong and could be created from three pieces per arch. These could be cut from three 3 metre scaffold boards. In the end we went for slightly thicker and more expensive, treated timber in 3.6 metre lengths.
Our first job in creating the arches was to make a three piece template from scrap hardboard and battens, to be copied onto the timber. Using a peg, a piece of string and a pencil, a 13ft radius arc was drawn onto the hardboard.
The arches were duly bolted to the fixings with various spacers to make them parallel and vertical.
The deck was to be of 2×2” timber, and Paul suggested it would be good to cut slots in each, to let them sit over the arches.
When the glue had set, the screws were removed and a second strip of meranti was glued in place and clamped to the first with all the quick clamps and G clamps we possess.
We are keeping the pond empty until after the autumn’s leaves have fallen, before allowing it to fill up again naturally.
As my lower back problems continue, we again employed our builder friends to do a couple of hard landscaping projects in the garden. The major job was the construction of a concrete block wall to be a raised bed in the fairly utilitarian are of the ‘new garden’. This bed was for a number of purposes.
Their other tasks were to extend the York-stone paved area by the ‘bridge pond’ and to create a bamboo barrier with cut paving slabs.
For the last ten days I have been confined to barracks with a persistent cold/cough virus. I therefore thought it was time to put some effort into doing work on our new website, dedicated to our National Collection of Epimediums.
If you like Epimediums, click on the link below to go to the site. I hope you enjoy our efforts so far, and find the visit useful and interesting.
Our two friendly builders did much of the heavy work in recently converting the last of the three goldfish ponds into a raised bed for Epimediums etc.. They did most of the hard work of breaking out the bottom with my budget concrete breaker and demolishing the waterlily and marginal plant boxes. The stages were very similar to those already described to you, with the other two ponds.
We dug in a generous addition of our own garden compost and peat to the top spit for planting. This bed at the moment is more sunny than other places we have been growing Epimediums.
The whole concept is unlikely to work well in the long term, as when the maples grow they will probably make the bed too shady for the Dieramas, but time will tell. The bed may also be not ideal for the cyclamen as it may be too moisture retentive in the summer for the Cyclamen, we will see.
The bed has been planted with a dozen or so evergreen Epimediums.