The blank canvas

artur in sand pitIt’s done. For now. And I’m very pleased to have a blank canvas again.   I started early just endlessly moving soil. Into bags, onto the flat part of the bank, and up to the top.   Tonnes of the stuff. And I am counting my blessings that it’s bone dry and the soil is sandy.

Artur in fact thought it was the perfect sand pit and kept bouncing down and leaping along the lengths while I worked.   I found the boulder extended a foot or so more to the right, so that was where I first started, and then it was out with the bucket and spade and off I went. fence

Eventually I realised I need to get the little fence in place. I have to hold back all the soil I’m moving. Now it’s only stage one and it’s decidedly wonky. But it will do for now.

final plum gardenI just used lots of old leftover sticks which I had stacked in a corner of the house awaiting inspiration. And here it is.   First in went some thick metal rods which I hammered down to make the uprights. And then I wove (well, unwieldy weaving, but you get the idea) the long sticks into place.   I needed to hide the metal rods, so I put in some short uprights just to make it more of a chestnut look and less of a building site. The rods are used in concrete structures.

boulderIt’s ten metres or so long here, so I needed to make sure I had enough to create about two feet of height so I could stack the soil behind the barrier.

Later I will weave some more attractive thin sticks, but I was determined to keep on hauling soil and getting it done.   I want to have as much of a flat surface as possible on the bottom layer, so I decided to add more to my already growing soil pile and cut away the steep bank.   I’ll have to either plant those up with eragrostis grasses or cover it with weed proof fabric. artur test driving

I actually went as far as to bring down a long length of the fabric. But it just looks too stark right now. Grasses perhaps.   But it feels cruel to be planting during this dry spell without a hint of rain in sight.   So I think I’ll just leave it as it is.

detailWell, I’m not having a weed here! Not after three days of work getting the darn things out. So I think I will put it down to newspapers and then go and have a good long mow of all the lawns and place grass cuttings over the top. That ought to keep things quiet for a while.   And give me some lovely walking exercise, rather than stooping over a fork and spade which I feel like I’ve done for days.

sedums and astersThen as soon as Andrew’s bulb order arrives I will plant it up with lots and lots of daffodils and tulips, sow wildflower seeds and consider what to do with the top little terrace.   I see a lovely evergreen mound of lavenders, cistus, santolinas and thyme.   But for now I have to leave the two olive trees there as a promise of things to come. The plants need to propagate and multiply first. the long view

As an encore and a relief from all the relentless brown, I deadheaded all the asters in the east garden. Job done.