Purple haze - or how I made a garden from scraps of lavender

00:08, May 30 2013

At last, a weekend where it's not raining or I'm tucked up in bed with a lurg. At last, a weekend where I have enough energy to lift my trowel and fork and get into some of the chores I've had on my list for weeks. At last, my gardening mojo is back.

See this here? This is the strip in front of our patio, which used to be full of agapanthus. It might not look like much here, but this is triumph for me. It is a row of French lavenders, all of which I propogated from cuttings. Shirley, the orginal owner of Wild Estate, left us two French lavenders in the front garden closest to the street, which I call Shirley's garden. One of these, I made babies from. At last count, 8 babies. These four were the first. Another three are in pots on the patio, tucked up around a huge pot of coriander, and the last one is back in Shirley's garden, replacing its rather shagged out and leggy mother. These are the first plants I have ever propogated by cutting, so to see them doing so well makes my gardener's heart swell with pride.

When we first took out the agapanthus, I thoroughly weeded the strip, and dug in heaps of compost and leaf mould and gypsum. The soil round here is hard clay with barely a wisp of topsoil. My lavender cuttings were really only tiny, and being a newbie at this thing, I plonked them in the garden close up to the concrete behind it, filling in the gaps with all sorts of things like gazanias, dianthus and cornflowers. The lavenders soon grew tall and leggy and bent into the shape of the wind that comes through here sometimes. And my old pals montbretia, convulvulus, wandering willie and the odd sprout of agapanthus came up as well. They were feeling a little left out.

April 2012


May 2012

Other plants gatecrashed, like this parsley. The thing bolted and set seed and then turned a sickly yellow and fell over and the whole strip looked like a disaster.

August 2012

So yesterday I took action. I weeded the whole thing, then got really adventurous and pulled out the chamomile and parsley and other plants that had run out of steam. I was surprised to find that the soil felt light and friable - all that compost and goodies had broken up the clay a good foot deep. I was able to get my hand fork in and get some pesky montbretia corms out.

Then it was time to move the lavenders. I gave them all a good haircut, saved the trimmings to use as mulch, and repositioned the plants so that one day they will fill the space all by themselves. I gave them a dressing of blood and bone, watered them in with comfrey tea, and mulched the soil with year-old leaf mould, grass clippings and lavender trimmings. It smells divine.

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