This is what I was faced with in October of last year. Whilst slowly collecting and piling up the leaves I looked up this bank and started to plan. The fence that runs up the bank created a dead end for anybody walking along the bank from the house. Your only option was to turn around and walk back. The area as you can see was completely overrun with brambles. It was difficult to manage and maintain due to the steep bank and was uninviting and uninteresting. So once the seemingly never-ending task of collecting up the leaves was completed, everything was slowing down and the lawn had stopped growing, I set to work on this bank.
I cleared and grubbed out the brambles, removed broken branches and nettles until you could stand back and start to appreciate the space. What it needed was a safe way up and down, and a new planting scheme.
On Saturday we set to work – a root very fortuitously prevented us from going straight up and allowed us to create a bit of a ‘journey’ and interest. This was my colleague Mitch Webb’s idea and it was a great shout. It’s even better than I first thought and I now can’t wait to get planting. This area is going to be mostly an area of winter and spring interest. With fragrant shrubs such as Edgeworthia and Sarcococca, and scented ground cover including Viola odorata, maybe some wild garlic, or Lily of the valley. The area isn’t completely shaded in the summer, but there are a number of big trees that will create some shade. I am going to hold off the summer planting plan until I can see what happens with the light levels and how much moisture the soil retains.
I also ought to give a quick mention to my friend Emma Woollett who spent a day helping me clear the brambles. Emma was over from Northern Ireland at the beginning of December to spend a few days with me and visit friends in London. I had to work, and she was happy to join in. Once the two of us got started we were determined to clear the brambles to the top of the bank. It was pretty dark when we finished but we did it.
Saturday 17th February – The steps go in…