Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Nature as garden designer

It's been a while since we were down in Leitrim - for many reasons beyond our control. I'll confess that it's been a bit 'out of sight, out of mind'. As I haven't been able to be there, I've left nature in charge of garden design this year - and she's been VERY busy!

We took the poly tunnel down at the end of March and apart from one trip in the end of April (in which Sam had the accident with his finger) we didn't make it down until late August.

The first pictures below are of the blank canvas that we left nature with once we'd taken the tunnel down.

It's quite bare, with uncovered paths between the beds.

Here you can see where the trenches were.

Well, upon our return ... this is what we saw ...

Nature has been busy indeed.

Even though it may be a bit wilder than I would have chosen, some of it does look really pretty - the sunflowers are all self seeded - everything is.

The birds are really loving it (especially with no cats around). I love the combinations nature has made e.g. red orach, sunflowers and nasturtiums.

The sunflowers are really very cheerful and welcoming (and helped me face the inevitable job of weeding and clearing paths).

The kale nero, planted last September has survived and I collected some seed.

There was even a Russian Mammoth Sunflower, which had bent over to survive the winds (last year they reached to the top of the tunnel).

Here's more sunflowers - as I like them so much - and the natural variations that are springing up. I only planted Russian Mammoth and Red Velvet last year and these seem to be a mix of both.

My calendula and Melissa have survived well.

Here I am with a few weeds .. at the end I'll show you just how many!

A potted blueberry bravely gave us a few berries.

There were even two mystery giant swedes (and tomatoes!)

The mint has been having great fun - spreading like wildfire - under natures watchful eye.

The red orach has seeded well - I just LOVE the colour of it, so vibrant.

There was masses of seed from the Pentland Kale - and I collected a fair amount.

Some, touching the ground, had even started sprouting in their pods!

Here is a delight - some quinoa - ripening very well too.

Here I've done some clearing .. and Sally is helping.

More clearing.

Even more clearing .. I can see gravel again now.

Here's the side of the 'tunnel bed' reclaimed.

While I was busy weeding, next door, they were bailing the grass - and a great job they made of it too.

Unfortunately that wasn't an option for us up top, where natures scheme was a bit too wild for the likings of most people - so Sam had to get strimming.

We had a lovely red shy that evening.

But not before Sam had done more strimming ..

..and a but more strimming...

and made sure the frogs DIDN'T get strimmed.

So, here with are with a neater frontage again

and a serious pile of weedy stuff - all barrowed by yours truly.

We still don't know when the planning permission will come through, so have no idea when we can resume building. I must admit to being disappointed in losing the whole summer and facing the dropping temperatures and longer nights now. It can all seem a long way off - us being in our lovely warm home, but I know we will get there in the end - and it will be fantastic when we do.

In the meantime, we'll keep a better eye on the garden - and myself and nature may return to a joint gardening effort from now on.