Round the rugged rocks the rugged rascal ran. I wonder if he barked his knuckles and nails as often on the rugged rocks as I have this morning.
But it’s in a very good cause. Time for a good landscaping project. These rocks lie just beyond the barn and are en route for the potting shed. That means I trudge (or scud) up this track ten times a day at least. And look upon the rocks and weeds with a sense of exasperation.
I haven’t got them quite right. The first year I just ignored this area as I had so much else to do; but I did try to scatch off the worst of the weeds that grew on the exposed bit. The second year I exposed the rocks as much as I could. The third year I decided to make something of the small flat bit at the top of the rocks before the next terrace. (It is an excellent short cut from the top of the garden when you forget your secateurs and need to nip back to the potting shed.)
I planted bupleurum fruticosum in the aim of making a good evergreen hedge. They did not thrive. Mainly because the soil is rather thin; and also because the area is so exposed the plants suffered quite a fierce bout of wind burn during the worst of the winter. And I kept treading on them.
And it was too narrow for me to walk and grow plants at the same time.
So they came out and have gone up a terrace to the new hedge. And I have buckets and buckets of gravel to pick off and then soil, and more importantly, the weeds need to come out.
That is what I’ve been doing so far. I have been forced to start at the far right end as I disturbed a bull ant nest when I was picking up gravel at the far left end. And I can tell you that made me change my plans quick smart. Like a good archeologist I was going to expose the layers bit by bit; and the mulch of gravel was going to come off first.
I’m staying away until they disperse. Or stop trying to climb inside my moleskin trousers.
There are plenty of brambles hidden in among the festucas and achilleas. So far I have done about five feet wide and ten feet deep of soil and rock and weed. A great morning’s work.
There is an obvious place where I can fill the soil that is coming out. Half to go down to help earth up the potatoes; and the rest to fill in the area at the far right.
When I started excavating a few years ago I had hoped the rocks would travel all the way to the steps near the barn. But there are five feet where all I could find were crumbing stones, a steep descent into brambledom, and not much else. So I think I’ll plant this steep bit up with something. I have plenty of eragrostis grasses growing in the potting shed. And I have 15 lavenders. But I’m not rushing this. It has to be right as it’s so steep and will be hard to water.
And there is the vexed question of how much soil comes off the flat bit at the top. I won’t know until I start digging whether there is good solid rock underneath. I don’t want to remove too much, undermine the hillside and start a landslide that causes the huge rocks holding up the next terrace to plummet.
Does anyone else suffer these excitements in landcaping? I don’t think so. So I shall just dig and see. At least I’m removing the thick bramble roots. I bet they are holding up the mountain side, but there is a limit to how many one can tolerate in a country garden.