Major renovations

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Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27
Major renovations

Major renovations in the garden! After putting it off as long as I could I have looked more closely at the damage wreaked by this winter on the 'Southern Hemisphere' part of the garden. A lot of plants have been killed which have been happy for many years - Thus Acacia pravissima, Myrtus luma, Pseudopanax ferox (I'm really sad about this, it was some 8 or 9ft high; another species, crassifolius is sprouting new buds all the way up the stem) and Grevillea 'Canberra Gem' (this has been in the garden for probably 20 years and was huge - its going to be uncomfortable to remove). Several Pittosporums have been badly damaged but are sprouting well low down. Pseudowintera colorata I don't think will but I have a soft spot for this very curious plant and saw a lovely form in Hester Forde's garden outside Cork, a much more sensible place to grow it. Crinodendron hookerianum lost all of its leaves but is growing out again well, even right at the tips of the branches. A friend with a plant higher up on the North Downs had no damage and her plant is flowering well. Its relative, the white C. patagua looks OK. Other plants haven't been damaged at all - Azara microphylla, which fills the garden with vanilla scent in late winter, is in rude health and my treasured rather gangly plant of Telopea truncata, the Tasmanian Waratah, has some strong vegetative buds (I think it may need some TLC to encourage it to flower but it grows well at Wakehurst Place, planted originally by Tony Schilling I think).

The piles of weeds and shreddings are growing alarmingly but hopefully at the end there will be lots of new places to replant. The winter was harsh (before Christmas) but didn't seem that much colder than at times we have had before - probably it was the fact that it stayed cold continuously and never warmed up during the day. Hopefully such conditions won't come again for a while!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Tim, what are your plans for garden renovation?  A total makeover?  Change course on types of plants being grown?

There have been times, due to life's demands (mostly WORK-related and forever being time-challenged), where parts of the garden have been totally lost to weeds and overgrowth.  It required wholesale uprooting, laboriously dig every square inch to remove invading tree saplings, poison ivy, brambles (wild raspberries and blackberries), piling the cleaned loam in high piles while continuing the salvage operation, finding sprigs of good plants still alive.  When the effort is done, I get to start over, sculpting garden beds and paths from scratch... boy is that the fun part!

While one laments the plants lost, regret is easily overcome by satisfaction and anticipation of a "new garden" started from scratch.  I have a couple such areas in my garden that have become a constant joy, all the while my sensibilities continue to be tested by other areas still in dire need of such an overhaul.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Mark - we have never had quite so much damage before, but the garden is pretty mature (30 years since we started) and after that time quite a lot of severe clearing is needed at times. I tend, like you, to go into specific areas and work on them really thoroughly, while leaving others to wait their turn. At the moment alpines are getting the attention, but I am also very interested in woodland species and ferns, like those that you grow, and from a nursery perspective these are the plants that generate most interest.

I shall probably replant with Southern Hemisphere species because this section of the garden has a different feel about it and I have always had a strong botanical/biogeographical interest in plants. It is sometimes good though to wield a machete rather than a scalpel!!

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Just to show some progress is being made (!) in another section of the garden, nearer the house and so more urgent, we have been replanting an area where some bottlebrushes and old cistus were badly damaged in the winter. This has provided space for quite a few interesting new plants. The callistemons are growing out from the base but probably won't flower again for a couple of years.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

It seems your garden is tidy compared to mine! The palm makes it look very exotic!

My garden is urgently in need of a major renovation too! I barely can walk in the woodland now, all the paths have disappeared under weed and huge shrubs (mostly rhododendrons).

I tried some southern hemisphere plants but they have all gone - the last two winters put an end to that experiment.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Trond - the untidy bits are out of view!! We have opened the garden for charity for the past 25 years plus so try to keep the more visible bits looking reasonable (just mowing the lawn makes all the difference!). I have friends with wonderfully overgrown gardens and find them very enjoyable - more like Nature.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

You have to get the bit between your teeth sometimes to really make progress. Parts of the garden out of view in the earlier shots are reverting to wilderness but we are slowly making headway and the shredder (a superb machine based on the American Kemp designs) is in constant service. The incentive is to begin propagating plants and re-opening the nursery next spring. Fortunately we have now had some reasonable rain and the conditions for taking cuttings are good. This is one of the curious features of a garden that one minute you are clearing vigorously with a strimmer and chainsaw, and the next delicately taking alpine cuttings or sowing seed!

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Yes, I've come to realize that reno's are needed every few years, whether for a major change of purpose or not (and I have many beds that need it!  :rolleyes:)

I envy you the chipper... our composters tend to fill with dry material every spring, when we cut off the perennials (though we can do without by stomping it all down).  It takes a long time for the material to break down here - cold, dry (usually) conditions don't help - plus, I have to admit we are not scientific composters at all (no layering/mixing/monitoring/mucking about).  We just chuck it all in there and let nature take its own slow time.

Will the reopened nursery have a particular focus, or will it be more general?

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Lori - I have always been especially interested in dryland plants which are well suited to our climate, but also a lot of woodland species that do their thing before the dry summer sets in. So we hope to go for mostly alpines and smaller perennials, umbellifers(!), which have generated a lot of interest amongst gardeners in the UK in recent years, and the sort of weird oddities that other gardeners don't grow - ie: new stuff from seed! Alpine nurseries have generally declined in the UK in recent years, but we do have a very fine local Show in the spring, and I think there is scope to renew gardener's interest in these wonderful plants. I have been greatly stimulated to see all your gardens in the States, since the AGS here has been much more Show orientated for a long time.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

We are steadily working to clear and reopen the nursery here, and I have to say I have found the NARGS and SRGC forums very stimulating and encouraging in an indirect way. Small scale specialist nurseries rely very much on other inspiring gardeners (not just to sell plants too!). There is quite a way to go but a few pictures.

The long raised bed is earmarked for a tufa garden - it was the original alpine bed some 25 years ago(!). Will post pictures of our progress as we go (especially for anyone with similar intentions!).

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Love the little tabletop propagation houses in the last pic.  Is that a soil heating element control in the foreground one?  I imagine the houses are in the shade when in use...

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

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