30 Days Wild: Day 28

Landscaping in my mother-in-law's garden

For day 28 of 30 Days Wild, I started some hard landscaping in my mother-in-law's garden. It's a project that I'll be undertaking over the course of a few days - I'm going back tomorrow and the for a couple of days next week, fitting it in between all the other commitments I have at the moment.

Her garden is a mixture of lawn, paving, hedges and herbaceous plants, with a bit of wildlife thrown in too. The hard landscaped areas are looking worn and in desperate need of a bit of love. My mother-in-law can't manage this amount of physical work, so asked me to help. The idea is that, once the garden has been tidied and renovated a little, she'll be able to handle the existing plants easier. This means that they'll be nice and healthy, with lots of flowers for pollinators and plenty of new areas of soil for the birds to dig for worms and other creatures.

As you can see in the photo below, the weeds are growing through the paving. The problem with this is that, at the moment, they find their way into the pots and take over the plants. For some reason, these weeds don't seem to produce flowers either, so they really aren't serving any purpose at all.

Another issue with renovating this area is that the peony's are currently in bloom. If I move them at this time of the year and in this heat, they'll most likely never recover, so they need to stay put.

I removed the slabs first. This was hard work! They are the old 3x2' granite slabs which were common in houses of this period. They are very heavy, and in near 30 degree temperatures, this was no fun at all!

I put the log roll down to see if there was enough, and I needed one more roll. Then we discussed the layout and change it slightly, so that there wouldn't be an awkward patch of lawn to cut between the steps and the border. With the brick edging removed and the log roll in place, we had a footprint:

The next job was to make the area weed free. This meant putting weed membrane down. Now, ordinarily, I'd be against this however it is necessary here. There will be gravel going on top, then the existing large plant pots will be put on top of the gravelled area. When you think about it, the only change is from one style of hard landscaping to a different style.

Then I had to put the gravel to the edges to hold the weed membrane in place. We only had a few bags, and will need lots more, so this is still very much a work in progress!

By 3pm it was too hot to continue, and I'd been planning, lifting and digging since 9am, barely stopping. All day the sparrows, blackbirds and starling were whizzing around the garden watching me. The blackbirds loved exploring the new soil I'd uncovered - until I covered it back up of course! But there will be a new area of exposed soil for them to explore soon! I'll be coming back tomorrow to carry on.

When I returned home I went inside to keep out of the heat. I'm fair haired and skinned, so there's only so much I can take! Once the darkness had started to descend, I went outside to check how the pond was doing. Yesterday, I'd spent some time cleaning it and removing the algae that was taking over. The pond is teaming with tiny life again (which is too small to photograph!) and the female frog seemed happier in her cleaner home:

Although today's 30 Days Wild activity might seem counter-intuitive, there is a plan! It's an ongoing project though, and I think it'll go on into next week (as I'm only able to spend a couple of days a week on it

You can read all of my 30 Days Wild posts here!

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