Uh-oh…There She goes Again…

IMG_7847Standing at the kitchen windows last night at about 10 o’clock (as you do) and looking out at the garden, I voiced a longstanding issue to the Golfer – that there was one area of the garden I have never been happy with. He knew exactly where I meant – The Rockery; with just a path between it and the house theoretically this is what you see when you look out of the windows but in reality I know I invariably look beyond it, choosing to ignore what has brought so little pleasure.

OK, I love the rocks which readily cover themselves in moss and the ferns that self seed into the crannies, but the dominance of geranium, saponaria and campanula and the reluctance of many other plants to settle there suggests that concept of it as a traditional rockery has never really worked successfully. And yes, I do like informality in my garden, but it needs to be an informality that I am satisfied with and that is certainly not the case here. The Golfer, admitting that it was he who originally mooted a rockery here, also accepts that it has never ‘worked’, although I don’t suppose either of us had a fixed idea of what we wanted it to achieve when it was first conceived.

Conception took place sometime after we built the extension, brought about by the necessary change in levels from the building work (winter 1997 – spring 1998) The garden slopes from back to front and also side to side, and digging the footings for the extension produced heaps of topsoil which were used in due course to level the part of the garden which became the paved area, with a distinct drop in level to the house and another to what became the streamside area. The photos below, looked at clockwise from top left, show the transition (over a two month period) from digging the trenches and moving the various spoil heaps to accommodate the building work, to grading the soil to its current level where it then remained untouched till 2000 when work began on hard surfacing of the paved area.

rockery.originScan-002A ‘rockery’ seemed an appropriate way of dealing with this change of level at the time and, as the garden already contained a number of large rocks, raw materials were readily available and in its infancy the project looked quite promising. However, this proved not to be the case, and although there have been pleasing splashes of long term colour from Geranium cinereum and Campanula portenschlagiana and the smaller and more subtle pleasures of a tiny rhododendron and an equally demure alchemilla, the predominant colour has been green – green moss and green ferns, and lots of both. I love how the ferns, all introduced into the garden -“How do you do?”; “Extremely well, thank you” – have self seeded, as this shows how much they are at home in the garden; now, embryonic ferns are especially sweet, but turn your back and they quickly turn into aggressive teenagers who gather in unruly gangs. Periodic overhauls have temporarily cleared them from the streets, but they are soon back to their loitering layabout ways…

So, on a whim, after a flash of inspiration whilst gazing out of the window at 10 o’clock last night, The Rockery is sentenced to death and is now on borrowed time… Does this mean a bricklaying project is in the offing? Hmm, although I am sure something will happen very soon there are plenty more turns of the cogs in my brain required before I know exactly what form it will take – so we will all just have to wait and see…

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24 Responses to Uh-oh…There She goes Again…

  1. An exciting new project!

  2. johnvic8 says:

    Sounds like a plan. I just hope that you spare the Golfer the heavy work 🙂

  3. rusty duck says:

    My goodness, things have changed a bit haven’t they??

  4. Barbara says:

    It would take me a lot longer to convince my golfer to make a dramatic change such as that one, well done to you both for deciding it was time for a change.

  5. Debra says:

    I understand the “looking beyond” the portions of our garden and outdoor space that don’t bring pleasure. And then those bursts of inspiration come and we’re off and running! Can’t wait to see what you do next! I love it when space is transformed to something new!

  6. After looking at an area you aren’t quite happy with it is exciting to have a vision. I can’t wait to see what this area turns into.

  7. AnnetteM says:

    Gosh, what a lot of disruption you had with your extension. I do like my rockery, but maybe yours is just a little narrow for the effect you envisaged? You have great imagination and resourcefulness so will be really interesting to see what you come up with to replace it.

    • Cathy says:

      I have to say, Annette, that it didn’t feel like a disruption to us at all – probably because we did it all ourselves and it was a labour of love. I look back on those few months with great fondness 😉

  8. A brick wall or vertical sleepers of differing heights? What fun planning!
    Btw I have just returned from a few days away to find a packet of seed. Thank you very much! How lovely x

    • Cathy says:

      The decision on how to revamp was quickly made, the sensible option to reuse existing materials. And you have Eliza to thank for the seeds, rather than me

  9. Brian Skeys says:

    There are some colourful flowering alpines Cathy which would do well within the rocks.

  10. Ooh, a new project! How exciting! Have you any ideas? We shall watch with interest!

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