A Closer Look at: the Streamside and Shrub Border

IMG_5356A closer look at these areas today is very different from 12 months ago, when the shrub border didn’t exist and the area to the right of the path was also grassed. Returning from a few days away at the end of July last year to find our neighbour filling a skip with topsoil was too good an opportunity to miss – I rescued the topsoil but then had to find a use for it! Stripping some of the turf and heaping the soil into piles as I barrowed it from the front of the house, it didn’t take long for the idea of another border here to take shape – into which I could add, amongst other things, shrubs I had admired on another blogs but which would have looked out of place in other borders.

I had intended to wait till the spring before starting to fill the newly gained planted space, allowing for some forward planning, but inevitably that didn’t happen. First to go in were the 3 Cs – Cornus, Callicarpa and  Chaenomeles – all moved from pots and more than happy to get some additional legroom. A peony, hardy fuchsia and crab apple were also moved from elsewhere, and two yellow roses and three different rugosas were ordered from David Austin. Various bargain grasses were added to the front of the border with plans made for taller varieties to follow. Other shrubs have been added over the months, but with the back of the bed being cleared of mature ivy to make room for the new fence promised by our neighbour there is space for more. I am sure I will find something!

The following views are from left to right, starting at the far end of the top photograph.

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Crocus and ‘Tête a Tête’ were planted in the grass before the border was created and surprisingly many survived the turf stripping, digging over and addition of top soil and compost. The grass on the left of the path, sloping down from the steam is similarly planted. The stream is an artificial one, emerging at the top of the slope just out of picture in the foreground of the main photo, flowing between the pergola at the edge of the paved area and this streamside grass before heading down a gentle slope towards the apple trees in the distance. Here it turns back on itself and disappears into a reservoir where it is pumped underground and back up to its ‘source’. The stream is lined with butyl and edged with sandstone rocks, some found from within the garden and some from our local reclamation yard. After several years of battling leaks, I am fairly confident the stream is watertight but still inevitably suffers from  evaporation and now runs on a timer for just 6 hours a day to reduce this. It is only ever topped up with rainwater, the best way of keeping blanket weed away.

Several ferns are alongside the stream, planted as tiny specimens about 12 years ago but now mature and in some cases readily self-seeding, as does Geum rivale. Some of my witch hazels are here too, two in the grass and four under the apple trees, the latter location one they will be a long time outgrowing but which may well happen. The path here continues toward the sheds but steps through the grass lead to a crossing point of the stream and onto the paved area by the Tai Chi grass. Confused by these directions? Don’t forget there is a map under ‘The Garden’ tab above, so you can see where this part of the garden fits into the bigger picture. You can have a closer look at another part of the garden soon!


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4 Responses to A Closer Look at: the Streamside and Shrub Border

  1. Brian Skeys says:

    The stream side looks completely natural, I didn’t know that using rain water would keep blanket weed at bay, is that due to nitrogen levels in tap water? Looking again at your garden map I noticed an area marked chickens,do you still have them?

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Brian – although I realised I didn’t actually show much of the stream itself. It was one of those projects I put off for a long time before I started it because it wasn’t a done deal like building a wall – but in the end it did look good, and realistic too which is the main thing. I guess it must be to do with the minerals in tap water – I have been using rain water for so long I can’t remember but it made an instant difference to the blanket weed. Alas, no chickens at the moment, but having been chickenless for nearly a year now it would be nice to restock so I shall start sourcing more – I do miss the fresh eggs!

  2. Gina says:

    Another great visit, thank you. Tap water has far too many chemicals in it for clear water in ponds and streams, that’s why you should always wait for a new pond to fill with rain water before planting up. On the rare occasion we top our ponds up with the hosepipe they go cloudy with algae practically straight away

  3. rusty duck says:

    I remember this area when it was still bare earth, the new border has filled out so well in a year!

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