The Butchery Garden – 2

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OB 1 before and after and with used coffee grounds spread.
Next Wednesday’s task OB2 – 3 which will be a right challenge for sure.

The Butchery Garden – Brown = Ornamental Beds, Green = Lawns and Orange = Patio Stones.

To protect the grass on the lawn we worked on cardboard. We could easily tear grass roots out by treading on the grass when it is this damp. Many winter lawns can cope with it because they are thicker, but courtyard gardens in Sandwich have thinner lawns and more so if they have limited winter sunshine like this one does.

This is one of the main wild roses in the garden, it stretches all the way up the wall of the next door house on trellis. it needs an aggressive trim and serious mulching. The spurs [offshoots] you can see at the base need to be removed so as to redirect the energy and the growth to the main plant. In addition to that it has black spot blight which will also have to be addressed.

The Butchery Garden

Friday 06th January
Last Friday, Suze and l managed to get back to the Butchery Garden to start the overdue but greatly needed undergrowth clear-up. As far as garden layouts go, the Butchery is pretty straightforward. It comprises two small lawns, and four walk-in raised ornamental beds. [By walk-in, l mean that you can walk onto them directly from the lawn]

Suze and l split the garden into four quarters to make the tasks more accessible. Last Friday, whilst Suze worked on clearing out OB1, l worked on scarifying the lawns, digging out weeds, brushing the moss from the flagstone areas, raking and brushing the leaves up, and finishing off with a small initial de-weeding of OB3. Next Wednesday, we will start OB2.

There is a lot of preparatory undergrowth clearing work in this garden before we can progress appropriately to the significant pruning. However, due to the weather delaying us last month, some trimmings must be done over the next ten days to ensure we are not cutting back too late or too early in the new season, pending interpretation to where we are in the late winter season.

The roses, which the garden has many, desperately need an aggressive trimming over a more straight cut. We need to cut 85% of the roses shrubs down to 15 cm above the ground, although the central trellis wild rose needs only be cut down to 60 cm above the ground, provided we remove the surplus spurs. Then all we need to do is heavily feed the base with excellent mulch. I have suggested they buy in a brand l used a few years ago called Strulch.

I will also feed their soil with used coffee grounds so that the straw-based mulch will sit on the coffee and inside the beds very well. We initially wanted to have the clearing finished by December, but this is the reality of gardening and sometimes being at the mercy of the climate.

So now we must achieve the clear-out and the late winter prunings before the end of this month. It’s not impossible, but with the stages, we need to perform on the allotment, it will be tight.

They have opted to keep the moss present on the flagstone patio, but with all the rains and ice and frosts we have experienced, the moss is ready to leave with the slightest brushstroke. At least it made the removal of the weeds within the cracks easier to lift, and of course, the leaves were eager to be swept up.

After three hours of work, we left in the garden with three bags of fallen leaves, scarified mosses and thatchings from the lawns and all the cuttings and clear-out greens from OB1.

Just in case you are unfamiliar with the terming ‘scarified’, this relates to raking the lawn and freeing off dead organic matter. Materials like moss and thatching, dead grasses, weeds, and leaves always make me think of it as like getting a haircut for grass as it encourages more growth.

The lawn is relatively weak there. Many courtyard gardens in Sandwich, especially those with lawns, need better grass structuring. So I suggest we broadcast grass and clover seed mixes in the spring. The clover which l wrote about the other day would make for a more solid footing underfoot, encourage and aid pollinators, and more so if the lawns were not cut as frequently.

With Suze clearing out the undergrowth, we could see more clearly the task ahead of us for the next few months. Next week when beginning to work with OB2, we shall have our work cut out for us with the trimming down the many rose bushes and cutting back the canna lilies. OB2 is in a much denser condition waste-wise than OB1 was.

The Butchery Garden is a real challenge, and both Suze and l are looking forwards to that time when we can take a step back and admire the work we have done to take it from the state it was before to the condition it will be when we are done.

There is a tremendous sense of joy with something like this – a natural euphoric feeling when you have worked on a project from raw basics to completion and a sense of pride, anticipation, and enthusiasm. We are bringing a garden back from the dead in some respects and breathing new life into it, something Suze and l have a genuine passion for.

I feel this way with the allotment – we both do; l felt it with Gazen Salts and many of the projects l am involved with. You sense it is worthwhile – you are actually making something count. That has become important to me in the last twelve months, especially in making things count and matter.

Freshly scarified lawns – not much to look at even afterwards on account of the grass being so thin and the ground being so wet. In the months to come you will see a significant change in these two lawns as we sow seed mixes in and the lawns thicken up.

I will write about the plants in more detail in future publishings, but in the meantime, thanks for reading and l’ll catch you next time.

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15 thoughts on “The Butchery Garden – 2

  1. You left the castor-oil plant in the ground? It’s worth checking out how dangerous this plants toxin can be before leaving it in a garden.
    Ricinus communis, the castor bean or castor oil plant, is a species of perennial flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. It is the sole species in the monotypic genus, Ricinus, and subtribe, Ricininae.
    The genus Ricinus equals Ricin, a very dangerous poison which can be inhaled when the seeds are broken or crushed, when the seeds have a cover of whitish powder, etc. That’s a plant I’d be moving out of an area where people or animals can breathe it, touch it, or swallow it (kids or animals).
    I know the plant is beautiful, but is it worth keeping such a toxic and dangerous plant?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cage,

      If you are referring to the fig leaf palm at the back of the bed in the corner, l believe this is actually a Fatsia japonica, aka False Castor Oil Plant. A popular garden plant in the UK and seen by the RHS as a highly beneficial plant for pollinators. From my understanding, Castor Oil Plant is the common name for Ricinus communis, whilst fig leaf palm and false castor oil is the common name for fatsia japonica.

      I have handled the plant at the back numerous times without gloves; l will further examine this plant in closer detail when we are there again on Wednesday. However, from what l know of our clients, they would not have purchased toxic plants for the garden, and the last gardener here would have highlighted potential dangers in the garden. I will take a sample cutting and ask the nursery to confirm the species.

      I ‘ll let you know the outcome 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! From your detailed description, we can just imagine the beautiful end result, Rory! I think of you and Suze as rejuvenators. You are the ones making ready for the pollinators, come Spring. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have to do what we can Betty – as often and as much as we can. I thi nk many people need to contemplate this fact l learned today which was quite profound and l already do lots for bees and so on ..every third mouthful we eat in the day wouldn’t be possible if not for the bees …. it’s somewhat mindblowing when you ponder upon it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, Rory, I do understand what you mean! It’s not a quote and I could be wrong, but it seems I remember reading that Einstein said if we lost the bees the human race would perish within a year.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hey Betty 🙂 I am aware of the supposition that Einstein said something like that and many so called experts have poo pooed him saying it although let’s be honest it does sound like something he might’ve said.

        I remember reading a science article that said that the human race would possibly decline in four years if all the bees died. Other since have said we might not all die, but human nutrition most assuredly would be affected seriously.

        Our choices of food would suffer but we probably wouldn’t go extinct – but it is so absolutely vexing how governments seem not to think twice about allowing pesticides and the chemical herbicides to be used knowing it kills the bees 😦

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I have noticed in many of the courtyard gardens here in Sandwich that many are as you describe. Village gardens can be slightly different and yet if you visit some of the city gardens they are very different again.

      Many courtyard gardens hold l think a certain fairytale charm to them that displays the quirks of the architecture more whereas broad expanse gardens in the country are more of a blend into nature whilst city gardens are more of a statement.

      Liked by 1 person

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