Instant gardening

The heatwave persists and the last thing on anyone’s mind ought to be gardening. There is maintenance of course; that never ends. And lovely picking of salad, courgettes, herbs, peas and broad beans.


But planting? Transplanting? Mad woman alert. I’ve just done a spot of instant gardening.

The area I call Alice’s path bisects the top of the pool bank and the shade garden bank.

It’s one of two paths I use to get to the potting shed and to the compost bins.  The end point is the reward.


But only after it has been strimmed to ground level can I actually see what a nice path it is. Until Nicolas came by with his zippy machine, I have been cross with how scruffy the path has become.

Some euphorbia wulfennii’s had self seeded across the path, and I planted some rather smashing tulips which flowered and flowered. But that was the extent of aesthetic pleasure.

So rashly, I have decided to plant half of the path up with drought tolerant plants. I am tired of the weeds.

Mirabelles before

Way back in 2010 it used to be lush grass and easily mown. (Hmm, looks a bit straggly to me, but my 2010 folder is a bit bare of evidence of hard work.)

Grass, alas, can’t survive in this blast furnace heat with nary any moisture (chestnut tree and two large greengage plums in the way). And the hose doesn’t reach this bank and path without some serious hauling on the courtyard hose.

mulched path

I did try a massive job of covering the entire path (it’s long) with chipped branches.  That looked gorgeous for a year. 2015 being the highlight of control along this part of the garden.

Chipping that many branches to cover the path, I recall, took weeks. And logically, I should do that again.  But I’m resisting. Damn hot work.

And inexorably, the weeds snuck in.  Heaps of self-seeded eragrostis, they were gleefully leapt on and recycled. All happy and growing madly on the orchard bank.

alice pre weed

But by this spring I realized that I had to do something a bit more considered.


Luckily the solution came to me as I’m excavating soil from another area nearby (I’ll save that thrilling story for another day).

The path is wide. So as long as I can leave a narrow path along which I might be able to direct a wheelbarrow towards the compost, then I have some areas of path in which to plant up.

So I’ve added buckets and buckets of dreadful poor dust pretending to be soil, and poured over gravel.


I gave in and cut back some of the santolinas. (Rain was forecast. but it fizzled out to the 3mm and a desiccated fly in the rain gauge quantities one comes to expect with a deep sigh.) And I used the cuttings to mark out a path.  It’s deliciously scented.

And then I found a curving chestnut log in which to demarcate the ‘bed’ from the path. (With some of my planting schemes you can’t often tell.)


What to plant in a heatwave? Logic screams ‘nothing!’. But I have found that uprooting irises and planting out sedums and one propagated lavender grosso and I get to pretend I’m winning the battle against weeds. For a week.

I’m going to use irises to mark out the rest of the curve along the edge of the wall. I need to move lots anyway, but for now you can see I’ve created an instant garden up to the first greengage tree.  More to come. After the other two garden projects I have on the go.

ps – for Artur fans, here is his current spot. Two action shots to show he really does move. A bit.


Under the table on the terrace. Cool and close by. He is sleeping for about 16 hours a day.