Saturday, 15 June 2013

Turf, phacelia & tripods ...

Marley's, our contracting team, were back on site this week to finish off turfing the last area of the walled garden. The turf arrived by lorry and was forklifted off, one pallet at a time (each pallet of turf weighs close to a tonne) and was transferred into the garden. Meanwhile, the soil was cleared of sticks and stones (a whole skip's worth!) so that laying could begin. The absence of rain this week has meant that we've been using the bowser and gun sprinkler to water this large area, and we'll need to keep a close eye on it for the next few weeks to make sure it doesn't dry out. If the turf does dry out, it will start to shrink, creating gaps ... or, worse case scenario, areas of the grass will die. The work should be completed this weekend, and hopefully within a month, it will look as though it's always been here.

The walled garden team has also been working hard, opposite this new area of turf being layed, in the two large "L" shaped beds nearest the gate. Whilst they may look empty, we have in fact sown both of these beds with a green manure crop called phacelia. Phacelia is a wonderful plant that will fulfil a number of roles for us this year. It is quick to grow from seed, will reach between 30-50cm (12-20") in height, and will blanket cover these large areas to keep out weeds. When it flowers, and its lavender-blue blooms are themselves a delight to behold, bees, hoverflies and other insects will be irresistibly drawn to it: listen to a swathe of phacelia and it hums! As if all this were not reason enough to grow it, as a green manure this crop can be ploughed back into the soil to improve it, or be cut down and composted. Phacelia's attractive airy flowers and foliage mimic a meadow en masse, and with some intersowing of poppies this should be one of the prettiest corners of the garden this year.

Elsewhere in the walled garden, volunteers have been helping to prepare one of our annual plots. Liz and Helen were busy this week erecting two tripods and planting them up with sweet peas. As these tripods are in the centre of a bed that will be packed with flowers, we need a way for the sweet peas to train themselves up the tripods; hence, we've created a lattice-work of pea sticks around which the sweet peas will be able to wrap their tendrils and climb happily to the skies. These tripods add welcome height to this plot, and will be full of dramatic colour and delicious scent in a few weeks' time. Sweet peas also make perfect cut flowers, and the more you cut them the more blooms they'll reward you with. At their feet, we've sown (and transplanted) a wealth of annuals whose bright colours will draw the eye and thrill the senses over the summer months.

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A few more pictures of the people behind the magic happening in the walled garden at the moment:

Shaun Murray, top turfer
2 tonne forklift & driver
members of the CSA team
John, garden volunteer

1 comment:

  1. It looks lovely, and moving along so quickly now.