The state of my garden is frankly a bit embarrassing, there’s a neglected air about it and too few plants for my liking. So after living here for five months, a plan has been devised.
Though there’s a lot to be said for not rushing into changes in a new, unfamiliar garden. It’s worth waiting to see what’s growing there if you move in winter like we did, and you need to know things like where the sunniest spots are.
With all this in mind, most of the work so far, has been done in my head. I’ve been mulling over ideas about changing the lay-out and how to deal with the issue of standing water in a couple of areas.
Pumps and other complicated solutions have been suggested, but I’m in favour of a more natural way of dealing with this. I’ve finally decided to have a soak-away installed in one area. The other soggy area will have a sunken plant strip, called a rain garden, it’s simply a way of capturing excess water, while it’s gradually absorbed by the plants and improved soil.
I’ve made a list of suitable plants, of course they have to be happy in damp soil for some of the time, and different types will be added to make sure there are flowers for as much of the year as possible to make it wild-life friendly.
Here’s the list so far:
clumps of bright yellow daisies in late summer, 60-75cm/2-2.5’ high
Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’ (michaelmas daisy):
more daisy flower shapes, lavender-blue with a yellow centre, from August-September.
Helenium Moerheim Beauty:
orange-copper flowers with a brown centre through the summer, 1m/3’high
Echinacea purpurea Arts Pride (cone-flower)
rusty-orange flowers from June-September, 60cm/3’ high
yellow funnel-shaped flowers and strappy leaves, 90cm/3′ high
Iris ensata (Japanese flag iris)
rich purple flowers and stiff. upright leaves, 60cm/2’ high
Euphorbia palustris (Spurge/milkweed)
bright green leaves with domes of lime-green flowers for weeks from early spring, 90-120cm/3-4’ high
Miscanthus Morning Light:
vertical, so good for a small space, reaching 90-120/3-4’ high.
a sedge with a low fountain shape of rusty-brown leaves, 60cm/2’
There was a brilliant example of a rain garden as part of the RHS ‘Greening Grey Britain’ at Hampton Court Flower Show earlier in the month.
Rain-water drains from the channel at the road-edge into this sunken area of plants, and stops it all swooshing down the street as we so often see after heavy rain, eventually it soaks into the soil rather than flooding drains.
I love the simplicity of this idea for dealing with excess rainwater, it’s one area of the garden that I won’t have to think about watering and choosing the right plants in the first place makes it sustainable.
Happy gardening, Jill
all photos: Jill Anderson.