We have always known that they would not like Rosemoor’s heavy clay, so over the years the soil has been improved to promote drainage, but it has never been enough to allow the plants to thrive (although many made a valiant effort!).
In November 2012 we took the bull by the horns and began a programme of improvements to the existing beds. We removed the soil from three of the beds and replaced it with a freer draining medium with lots of stone and grit. Many of the plants we want to grow come from arid, rocky places, so David Perry (Garden Maganer) went along to Newbridge quarry near Dolton to pick out a range of boulders so that we can mimic these habitats.
We removed the old claggy clay soil and put in a layer of quarry floor stone to act as a sump for water to drain into. The biggest boulders were then placed and a layer of grit, sand, soil and leaf mould was added. The medium-sized boulders were then placed and then another layer of the soil mix, followed by the smallest boulders, and, you’ve guessed it, another layer of soil mix! The beds were topped off by a layer of grit.
These beds were planted in the spring and summer of 2013 and the plants are much happier and beginning to establish well. All that stone is doing its job, as even after all the heavy rain we had during the winter, the beds are still just nicely moist and not waterlogged!
The remainder of the beds were improved at the beginning of this year and the team will be planting up in May.
The area is looking great now; all the planning and hard work has certainly paid off, all we need now is some Mediterranean sunshine!