Saturday, 27 March 2010

And so it began…

We started the border!! Woo hoo!!

I decided we ought to at least get the turf up this weekend, snow is apparently forecast next week and over Easter, so I will not be able to get it done.

Does anyone have tips on making loam? I don’t want to bin all the turf… The problem is, as you can see in the photos there’s lots of thick, golden clay, no doubt this is why the grass was so poor on this side of the garden.

Camera batteries were dead when we started… So I couldn’t get ‘before’ shots.

Hard at work!

But don’t let that fool you, it was me who did all that, after these shots I finished off the rest. Pete was really struggling. I believe he said something along the lines of:

“It looks really easy when you do it, does it look easy when I do?”
“No, it looks like you’re really struggling.”
“I am.”

The main body of turf is removed, I need to get a lawn edger tomorrow to cut the curves. I’ve left it relatively small, I can always extend it in future.

Clay, glorious clay.

I am not looking forward to turning that clay, pulling out the large hunks and finding some way to dispose of it all.

And now for something totally random… All my plant labels seem to be pulled out of the ground and scattered around the garden… What is doing it??? I think it’s likely to be Magpies or Jays… Seems odd, why have they done it? I leave them in the ground so I know where the plants are when they die back in winter. Strange and somewhat annoying.

Perhaps faeries are doing it? Pixies perhaps, it seems like something pixies, imps or brownies would do!


Lucy Corrander said...

Starlings? Saw a flock of Starlings swoop down on a garden and tear every plant in sight until chased off. They weren't looking for nesting materials or anything useful - they were just ripping bits off and throwing them around.

Have fun with your lawn. You could take up mini-tennis and make a clay court.


shirl said...

Interesting Liz, I was lifting turf today too :-D

I piled it beneath my hedge... at the most only two layers high. Grass side down it should make loam in time. I'm in no hurry... I've just reduced the sunbathing area for neighbourhood cats ;-)

Missed some of your postings... what's the plan for your new area?

Clay soil must be a nightmare when wet. I'm very lucky with my lovely loam soil I know :-D

I hear what Lucy is saying. The Blackbirds and Starlings can lift and throw away anything on the ground to get at bugs etc.

I usually hammer in bamboo cane pegs (about 24cm long) where I want to remember locations of plants. Generally I leave a few cms above the soil. That one works for me :-D

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I don't normally have enough compost, so I also add bags of composted manure and sometimes peat moss. I have a source for horse manure, but we haven't made it to the farm to get some.

I like your new area. Seeing bare ground is fun for me, and makes me want to plant it.

Cheryl said...

Hi can make loam by stacking the turf you have removed. Make a pile, stacking grass to grass and then soil to soil. Keep it moist (as much as you have time) and in 9 months or so you will have beautiful loam. I put a stack behind my garage and now have a pile of beautiful soil. Patience is the answer here. Nothing happens overnight.

I see in the photograph you are lifting turf with a fork. This is NOT a critism (just trying to help) a spade does make it easier because it slices through the dirt enabling you to lift it easily.

Anyway you have both done a great job. It is hard work without doubt....I have aching limbs at the moment from lifting things that are way too heavy for me. Oh the life of the gardener!!

Liz said...

Hi Lucy,

The mini tennis court sounds excellent... If only I wasn't quite so tired right now :D

I wonder if I can sell the clay, there must be a use for it!

Liz said...

Hi Shirl,

Mmmm, space to pile it may be an issue for me, I'll try to keep some at least and the rest may have to gradually go into the bin.

The new border is loosely based on Piet style planting with grasses and perennials... We'll see just how 'lose' it ends up!

It was a nightmare, friday we'd had rain, Saturday was dry but that corner of the lawn doesn't see muh sun thanks to the tier so it tends to stay boggy, which of course isn't helped by the solid clay underneath!

Liz said...

Hi Cheryl,

To be honest, we started with the spade and it was far more difficult to lift it as it was trying to cut through the solid clay, using the fork meant we could literally lift the turf away from that horrible yellow stuff.

I'll have a go at making the loam, I don't know how much I'll be able to make as space is a problem but hopefully we'll get something at least.

Today I ache in places I didn't realise were possible. Thankfully my legs and arms are fine because I did stretch before and after... Stomach muscles are pulled.

Today I've been busy all day and I'm now very tired... Barely got the patience to reply to people on here, need sleep.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Ugh! Clay!Not only is it terrible to grow in but heavy to shovel out. I have it here and the only thing it is good for is bricks when it dries out. You will have to let us know if you discover what is borrowing your plant stakes Liz.;-)

Liz said...

Hi Lona,

Tell me about it! I am not looking forward to digging all that clay out at all. We’ve borrowed a spare fork from my parents to help turn it all… I’m now beginning to doubt that I have enough compost/soil/sand to replace the amount we’re going to have to remove!

Little wonder the grass was in such poor condition, trying to grow on top of solid yellow clay. There are some stones mixed in, but not as many as I had originally feared. No signs of bricks, lengths of wood or concrete thus far!