Saturday, 12 May 2012

The Coppice: time for a "TA DA" reveal

When we first came to view Bag End it wasn't possible to see into what we now call the Coppice.  Heck, it wasn't even easy to get into it without limbo-ing round some huge leylandii and risking life and broken ankles trying to cross uneven ground which had been used as a rubbish dump for goodness-knows-how-many-years.





Slowly we tried to clear the area but it became apparent that without the aid of grown-up Tonka toys we were going to have great difficulty turning this into part of the garden.  Enter heavy plant last September when Laa Laa and Tipsy-Dipsy spent the weekend moving soil and digging ponds for us.



A long holiday and the weather then conspired to ensure nothing happened for months, although I did manage to get hazel planted along the top bank.  It will take a while but we're aiming for 'grow your own Red Squirrel food'.



Not much happened again until March when LP was able to start digging over the soil to break up the compaction caused by several tons of big yellow digger.



After that I moved in and keeping-the-blog-up-to-date ground to a thorough halt.  How many times can you photograph bare soil and make it look interesting?  Over the last couple of months I have dug over all the bare areas removing the biggest stones, trying to take the comfrey out of the hazel bank and adding barrow after barrow of rotted compost. And then the magic began - all those plants I've been collecting over the months finally found a home in the soil. 

Starting to plant was more than a little daunting;  the area isn't much smaller than the back garden in Hampshire!  Fortunately* the plants I had were spring flowering so the left hand side of the path is destined to be the 'early' bed and I will put summer flowering shade lovers on the right. 



Since the photos were taken I have added some shrubs which will like the moist shade - mahonia, ozmanthus, and moved the Skimmia and Sarcococca from the Cottage Garden where they had far too much sun.





It needs more green, much more green - ground cover, ferns and lots of frothy cow parsley.  As soon as the bluebells have finished flowering a friend has offered me free rein in her small patch of woodland to dig up some bluebells and shuttlecock fern.





Looking back the other way it isn't quite so pretty.  The pony poo pile has been treated with activator and covered, hopefully in a month or so it will have 'matured' a little.  Right now it's as hot as hades and not ready to be used.  Irritatingly, I have a couple of fruit trees waiting to go against this fence and it would be better if they weren't in pots but it is what it is ... we'll get there, eventually.



And there you have it, the making of a Coppice in one blog post and 11 pictures.  In reality it has taken four years** and an awful lot of slog.  It will be another four years (maybe) until things have started to mature and look less Ground Force.  However long it takes I already love this area; it has come together pretty much exactly as I imagined it, which is fortunate seeing as no-one else had a clue what I was trying to create.

* by accident rather than astounding horticultural foresight :}

** for the software developers that's elapsed time, not actual time☺




11 comments:

  1. Just come inside to look up a Carex I bought this morning to see where best to plant it and couldn't resist a look at your blog. The coppice is looking pretty amazing, you must be so pleased with it. I love the path with the seat at the end. You are lucky to have some damp shade, most of my shade is bone dry most of the summer but also bought another fern this morning that should be able to cope with it. Found a gem of a nursery selling 1 litre ferns and grasses for £2.75. I seem to be having a grass fetish at the moment!

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    1. Thanks Jill, sounds like you have found a bargain, look forward to the next set of photos you publish.

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  2. It looks amazing Bilbo, I wish I had the foresight and imagination to create something like this.

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    1. Thank you Sewali, I am quite sure you could do this: your own garden is lovely, your quilts are beautiful, of course you can!

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  3. Well, Hobbit, no one could ever accuse you of shying away from the big, the bad and the ugly projects. Most would have closed up shop and hightailed it back to the couch in front of the fire. Not you. Loins girded, cap set and woe to those who stand in our way. Not even Ma Nature can do much more than slow you down. My lord what a transition in the coppice. What's even more amazing is that, behind the camera, your (ageless) brain is turning over faster than any bulldozer. We come. We look. We gasp. Then we wait for more.... Well done, girl.

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    1. Kris, now you're just being silly:} LOL!

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    2. Silly? No, sorry. Credit where credit is due.

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  4. Uh huh. What Kris said!!! It is truly looking wonderful. Such determination and perseverance. Want to send me some? :)

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    1. FFG, I'd love to share but it's not "determination and perseverance" (which sounds so noble, ha!) , it is bloody mindedness and not having the sense to know when to stop :}

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    1. Thanks Sue, hope you can see it for yourself on your next Cumbrian holiday.

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