A couple of weeks ago I walked up to Ruskin's Seat on the neighbouring Brantwood Estate at 9pm at night and cast a really analytical eye on the landscape. I have some new garden areas to plant up soon, and they are in what I term the Woodland Garden, so I am keen to keep it low-key and inspired by the surrounding landscape. The evening light was exquisite, the grasses and bilberries and mosses all distinct in shape still but woven into a dense low canopy. Each plant colony had a dense hub and then a broad, spreading mass of smaller satellite groups. The pale grass stems were highlighted against the dark moss, and the blueberry hummocks almost share the formality of box at this time of the year. The only colour was the beginnings of the bell heather in sparse rocky places. The few trees / shrubs - junipers and hollies up here are wizened and sculpted, multi-stemmed specimens.
Look and learn, I thought.
It's no secret that the Easter break can be a challenging time for us locals. I solve the inevitable road rage threat by not going out, and instead spend the weekend getting some bits of the garden ship shape. This doesn't entirely remove me from the tourists, as our garden is bisected by a bridle-way down to Brantwood, a favourite spot for speeding mountain cyclists to stop for a breather.
Terrible recent weather and a broken digger have severely delayed our new kitchen garden (I have had to pray for the fruit bushes to survive in their box, and packed the asparagus in damp sand), so instead I'm moving my ghastly wet bits of carpet around the new woodland garden (weed-removal the organic way) and planting some large areas around new trees with a mixture of Deschampsia cespitosa and Tellima grandiflora (both indestructible in other areas of the garden) in naturalistic swathes. I am hoping to avoid what sometimes afflicts woodland /shrub gardens here in the Lakes -a kind of bitty-ness where you clambour around steep ground dotted with specimen plants - by underplanting our new trees with very large numbers of a very limited palette of plants - mainly grasses which I have propagated.
I can't wait for the area to get growing so that the pathways I have left between the palnted areas can really take form - and I can see if what I think is going to work, will!