Saturday, 18 May 2013

Turf's Up!

monster excavator at work

This week the walled garden welcomed back the heavy machinery and its crew who have done so much of the groundwork for the restoration project. First, the monster 13 tonne excavator re-distributed the huge mound of soil from in front of the white house to the north western corner of the garden. The machine was then used to dig over and level the soil along the main path before it was hand-raked into a fine tilth for laying turf. The orange-tipped posts mark the centre of the 18th century planting plates (see this post), where we will be planting new apple trees at the end of May.
tractor and power-harrow
Once the excavator had moved the soil, a tractor and power-harrow were used to smooth it over, breaking-up any large clods of earth and leaving a nice level tilth ready for turfing.
turf spiral
After the serious earth-moving was completed, it was time to bring in the first load of turf: all 1300m2 of it. (Another 4000m2 of turf will be laid in the garden next week to complete the project.)
turfing in full swing
The turf is being laid along both edges of the main pathway, leaving room (as marked by the squares of wooden edging) for the apple trees to be planted. The contracting team did a great job and managed to finish laying this first batch of turf by end of play on Friday.
the emerald velvet of newly laid turf
Laying this first swathe of turf is only the beginning though, and keeping it well watered is essential in order for it to take root and establish itself. When such large areas are at stake, this is a serious operation: look out for the bowser, layflat pipe and gun sprinkler system that have just arrived and will be our watering weapons for the next few weeks.
turf's eye view
And whilst it may be a wash-out for us humans today, look at it from the turf's point of view ... 8 hours of rain is as good as it gets!

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