The soft fruit orchard

I think the phrase God Loves A Trier came to mind here.

I have a very trying and tricky part of this garden.

And for the past fifteen years I have been trying to sort it. It has been ‘interesting’.

Well, it’s marvellous sport every winter when I make time to weed and landscape and come up with ideas. Because that’s the best bit about taming a wilderness. You get some great satisfaction when it works.

I’ve just been having a scroll back through my folders. Because surely I win a prize for trying to keep the rampant weeds out and let the soft fruit bushes thrive.

We pause for the floods which took the whole bank down in 2013.

And my reinforcing with very heavy metal poles. Then spending a year lobbing on logs and branches and generally turning this back into a terrace bank.

Still trying to sort those weeds. This time the lining fabric from the swimming pool.

That was 2014 I think.

And on through the years we roll.

In 2016 I tired of the deer eating the fruit and actually put up a fence.


And had spent enough years building up the edge of the huge terrace with weedy matter to make it almost but not quite stable.

And all the while we were hauling kilos and kilos of gorgeous fruit every June and July.

Okay I am tiring of these shots.

Here is a picture gallery of all the attempts I have made to keep this rich fertile part of the potager under some semblance of control.

Red clover, grass, lawn clippings, valuable chipping mulch (hours and hours of work and material).

Wildflowers (what on earth was I thinking? This soil is the only rich part of soil on the whole mountain!)

It looked amazing for about six weeks. And then became a jungle.

So out it came. And then I added rubbishy bits of old tarp and fabric, pallets to level up the rather steep slope after the septic tank was removed. And a carpet of thick leaves over the top of the whole sorry mess.

It worked, until the growing season.

And finally.

I know, I’m flagging too…

Neat at last.

But the downside is that the plants were not as nourished. Or watered. Even though rainfall should have gone into the bushes by my deft slight slope heading downhill.

You can see that I was pretty darn pleased with how orderly things bccame at last.

Or you might be thinking, jeez, all that work for just a small space.

It’s about 12 metres long and only about two metres wide.

And still I kept tinkering. More redcurrants (from Lisa) planted up.

And then the new drama of heatwaves and drought and scorched leaves these past two summers.

So I rolled back the fabric last winter and graded the rather good soil underneath. And sowed red clover again.

Why didn’t I just look back on these pictures in around 2014 when I tried this mad experiment?

Verdict? It failed. Again.

Well it was great for a few months as is this part of the garden’s habit. But then the clover grew too lustily. Fell in a heap. Looked dreadful in summer and was frankly unmaneabable. Oh and then resprouted after the heavy autumn rain.

Yes, it may have been a thick carpet of fantastic red clover.

But all the annual nasties pushed up through the carpet and drove me nuts.

I should have invited a botany student over to name how many species are under here. But the answer is… too many.

And the whole point of this blog post was to show you this one shot.

I’m appalled that I didn’t record a single shot of the soft fruit orchard between these two pictures in June.

And now.

Which just goes to show that if it ain’t photogenic you never see it.

I had to scroll all the way back trough my entire repertoire to find when I pulled back the weed proof and sowed the clover. March.

You can tell I’m waiting inside for a plumber who is now over an hour behind the promised time.

So next time you see this long skinny bed it will be back under fabric (taut this time) and I will rig up some sort of pergola to save the poor plants from their now annual scorch. And water.

And if I can make it pretty enough… why, you might just see pictures next year.

Right now, it’s still a bomb site.