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Plants in the Garden: Raised Bed or Rockery

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Started by: Jim McGregor

What to do with a large pile of clay?

Go to latest contribution by John Good, 17 October 2011, 19:42. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Jim McGregor 28 June 2011, 23:08top / bottom of page

Inspired by Tim Ingram's sand bed thread, we thought we would share our current garden dilemma - what to do with the spoil heap resulting from digging out a large pond.

The pond itself has been fairly successful - some pictures of that first. It has been a long term project - the digging out took place in 2007 with the help of Doug Joyce:

It was nearly two years later before it got filled - the AGS soaks up a lot of our time!

Another year, June 2010, and we started landscaping the surroundings:

The pebbles in the last picture are interesting - every one was dug out of the garden. Whenever we dug a hole for a new flowerbed or the conservatory foundations we filled a few more bags.

Another year on and the plantings round the edges are looking good:

Contribution from Jim McGregor 28 June 2011, 23:45top / bottom of page

The pond itself is looking better by the day since the large Eucalyptus tree nearby stopped shedding its leaves into it. A 70 or 80 foot tree - it died during the last winter and will be taken out shortly.

Now we come to the dilemma - the pile of clay that was dug out of the pond all those years ago.

The ground slopes away from the pond, so the spoil heap is not as obtrusive as it might have been. However, it has been referred to jokingly by a visitor as the Dog's Grave (Max is alive and well!).

Contribution from Jim McGregor 29 June 2011, 00:00top / bottom of page

We had accumulated a lot of plants without a home, so planted the edges up in a hurry! Here is the current state looking uphill and downhill:

We didn't plant the big Antirrhinum - it seeded itself and we liked the colour so we left it for now. The smaller ones are more in keeping: A. pulverulentum and A. molle.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 29 June 2011, 14:28top / bottom of page

Jim, I am quite envious of your pond - this is something we have never had in the garden and it does add so much, both in attracting wildlife and aesthetic terms. Do you have an overflow area which stays really moist where candelabra primulas, irises and the like would grow? Also plants like Lobelia cardinalis (which we have never kept for long) and rodgersias, which are such wonderfully dramatic plants. The lady fern, Athyrium felix-femina is one of the most beautiful where there is sufficient moisture. A friend has also succeeded well with Caltha by planting in a shallow hole in quite heavy clay soil, and this is one of the most striking plants in her garden in the spring. Finally in another garden I know there is a fine plant of Salix lanata planted next to the pond, and this is one of the loveliest of small willows.

Contribution from Jim McGregor 29 June 2011, 22:50top / bottom of page
Pond Overflow

Yes, there is an overflow into the pebbled area and from there into the bed. Here is another view of the planting there taken this weekend..

Pond Overflow

The overflow is somewhere under the nearest red-flowered Mimulus cardinalis. Attractive but it looks like becoming a bit of a thug - they were only tiny seedlinsg when we planted them last year.

In the foreground is Lobelia cardinalis, growing strongly and obviously getting enough moisture. Behind it is Primula wilsonii in flower:

Behind that are some Primula japonica with the form P.j.'Postford White' behind. They are over now but flowered well back in May:

The P. viallii at the front is the sole survivor from the three we planted. The overflow is channelled round the pond in the opposite direction and they may have got too dry.

Other plantings doing well further round are the Ligularias, a Filipendula ('Fanal' I think) and a Rodgersia, although we may come to regret the latter!

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