The Straight Edge was Easy.

16 November 2018

A mild start to winter has allowed us to make good progress on the landscaping projects that we have lined up for the season.
The main ones that we will be doing this time around are putting metal lawn edges onto the oval drive followed by the same operation on the middle terrace where at the same time we will be replacing the path with fresh foundation, membrane and gravel.
The West Lodge will be having beech hedges lining the drive and Portugal Laurel screens on the main road side to reduce traffic noise. In addition, the extended garden in the woodland on the north side of the drive will have a ‘quiet garden clearing’ at the top which will have views across the fields towards Balcormo and Kellie Law.
The other main project this winter will be the planting of trees in the policies around the house.
The lawn edging on the Oval has started and having completed the easy straight bit! We are now trying to perfect the technique of gently curving the 6 metre lengths of steel which seem to have a mind of their own and a snake like ability to twist and warp.
To help hold them in place we have welded an 18’’ angle iron leg onto the back of the steel strips which we will be able to concrete in, the angle iron is welded on the back by both its edges to create a triangle which we can then slide a steel rod through and hammer deep into the clay below, this holds the edging strips in place and stops it twisting so we can concrete in.
By far the most challenging part of the operation has been digging out the holes for the supporting legs, the foundations for the drive were probably laid down well before the days of MOT type 1 and around the oval itself it is made up with rocks so controlling the auger on the digger has been to say the least quite tricky. We are hopeful that by the time we move down to the middle terrace, we will have perfected our technique and won’t face the same problems, it’s all straight lines and we don’t think there is any hardcore underneath!
The coloured flags that have appeared in the policies recently have caused quite a bit of speculation and rumour and as Gavin has been involved the most popular theory has been that we are about to develop an 18-hole golf course. Sadly, for some (not me I am not a golfer) the marking out flags are to show fence lines and planting positions of trees.
This season we will be planting around 130 specimen and major trees either stand alone or within roundels. The roundels will also contain a greater number of minor plantings like Hawthorn, Holly and Hazel. The areas to be planted this winter are to the south outside the main avenue carrying along the west side of the house to the west drive and either side of the Dreel then across to the North Lodge. The planting will start in the new year. Areas on the East side of the North drive have had strainers positioned in the fields where the roundels are to be, in readiness for fencing and planting to take place next winter.
Culturally in the garden having just done some splitting of perennials there’s not a great deal going on, but we have just ordered in some more winter protection fleece this will be wrapped around some of our more frost tender plants like the Daturas. The technique recommended by the RHS is to use canes and chicken wire to make a frame work around freestanding plants then wrap the fleece around this securing with string.
Let’s hope we don’t get another winter like last year; the cold spell came very late and the winds that followed went on forever resulting in a missed spring we went straight into a dry summer and a lot of plants really suffered a good example of this was my young beech hedge. The cold weather did not hurt it, but when the new growth eventually emerged in late April it was quickly scorched by the winds back to a frazzle, then was unable to put on any degree of new growth due to the drought. Any poor growth and leaves that it did produce were prematurely removed by the gales and storms that we had in September.
We won’t let it get us down though, enjoy your gardening.
Duncan and the gardening team

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