Garden blogging, Restoring a garden

Restoring a Hampshire Garden – Chapter 2

KEEPING IVY AND HER FRIEND HONEYSUCKLE IN THEIR PLACE

This latest task wasn’t so much a restoration job, but a ‘let’s see what we have here’ job. There are times when this is necessary to help see the bigger picture.

The garage, strangely built at the back of the house taking up some of the garden, is an ugly building. It is no surprise a trellis was built along the wall with climbers to camouflage it.

The planting here consisted of 3 climbing roses, believed to be ‘Albertine’, several ivies, a honeysuckle and a wisteria. The wisteria was well and truly dead so removing it was an easy task. Not surprising it had died, the raised bed was on top of the paving, so only about 6″ deep. I’m amazed anything grew, but ivy doesn’t care where she puts her roots as long as she is allowed to grow.

Everything had been allowed to run wild for a good few years and trying to untangle and remove twisted stems through the solid trellis proved impossible. We had to resort to taking it down, it had been built in situ nailed to batons and solidly made. It took three of us to remove it from the wall and it was extremely heavy, I can assure you! My Son in Law climbed on to the roof with trepidation to attack from above. The ivy and the honeysuckle had made its way across the garage roof and into and around the guttering, which made it a hard job to clear, a bit like untangling knitting wool. My daughter and I tackled the rampant plants from below, ducking at each shower of debris and dust that fell on us as we pulled stuff away from the wall – headscarves or hats should have been the order of the day. My head itched for hours afterwards.

As with all jobs, putting something back together again always proves much harder than dismantling. I mentioned earlier, this framework was very heavy and lining it up again to the correct batons was a feat. In view of its weight my back was beginning to complain so I was given the job of using the electric drill to screw it back into place. A much easier job and quite satisfying in a strange way.

With all the foot traffic and removal of roots, the weakened and somewhat rotting boards eventually collapsed, which is another job to sort out. This will be at a later date, there are other jobs taking priority on the garden to-do list.

We uncovered windows in the garage and the ivy had even crept its way through the window frames. However, at the end of what transpired to be a longer job than anticipated, there is now an area, a bit like a bare wall, asking to be filled up. The roses have been saved, despite not having a good dept of soil for their roots. They’ve been pruned and will be carefully trained to grow to splendid glory.

There are lots of planting ideas, but if any of you gardeners reading this have some suggestions, all ideas will be looked at. I have to remember I can only advise and help, it’s not my garden. Honeysuckle is always pretty as long as it is kept under control, a perfumed variety such as ‘Graham Thomas’ might be a possibility, you can never go wrong with clematis such as Montana ‘Elizabeth’ with its fabulous fragrance. I think ivy had her day, but we will have to keep an eye on any tiny roots left behind – we all know she is difficult to eradicate.

9 thoughts on “Restoring a Hampshire Garden – Chapter 2”

  1. Montanas should only be pruned immediately after flowering as otherwise you lose the flowers the following year. But (and it’s a big but), they don’t stop growing. A friend once spent a month and a lot of money removing a montana that had got under the roof and filled the attic area with a tangle of branches; few leaves but a skip-full of dry stuff that he only discovered when part of a ceiling came down under the weight! Lesson: Never grow a montana against a building!

    Hugh has asked some questions. I’d add one – in which direction does that wall face. The aspect can have a big impact on what you can successfully plant (e.g. if it faces east, you need to avoid plants that might be knocked by the early morning sun on dewy leaves).

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    1. >It is west facing, I think, definitely sun late afternoon and evening. Someone suggested a viticella. I only thought of a Montana on the proviso it is pruned properly but thinking sensibly about it, a Montana is not the best suggestion, and I should know that! A pretty viticella would look good with the roses. I dug up a bright pink echinacea from my garden and thought it might look nice in that bed, turning it into a country garden bed.

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  2. A Montana would be far too rampant for this project – you would be back to square one again. What about the verticelli clematis to go with the roses. V c get cut back to a foot ever Feb and then off they go

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    1. Not quite sure. The trellis work is a work of art and we will leave it there. The garage needs camouflage so it’s a question of what to put along that wall. The patio butts up to that area. We were surprised to discover the raised bed had been made on top of the paving so all the roots were growing horizontally! Ideas on what to plant to grow up the trellis (it’s west facing) would be great, bearing in mind the raised bed will effectively be the same as growing things in containers.

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      1. Interesting. Will you restrain the wood on the trellis or the shed? Can the paving flags be lifted under the bed?

        Effects wise, what picture are you pay bring with the plants? Formal, cottage style, etc. I know there’s a few questions there Ronnie,however always good to understand the vision before choosing the plants

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        1. I’ll have to discuss this with my SiL and daughter – they like quite formal gardens, whilst I like the cottage look. However, this is a large garden with lots of scope and, in my opinion, doesn’t lend itself to formality. A little gentle persuasion may be the order of the day plus a few garden visit for them to see what there is. Watch this space.

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