The Borderland Garden is exactly that – a garden on the borders between Wales and England. It is a very wobbly, wavy border, hard to spot on the map and even harder to interpret on the ground sometimes as only the A roads mark the transition and most roads here are very minor indeed! One side of the house looks firmly towards Wales, but turn a corner on the decking and you are looking at both England and Wales in the same direction!
Today is St David’s Day or Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant. Thirty two years ago I moved from Reading (where I grew up) to Lampeter in Dyfed the day before and St David’s Day was my first experience of the “Welshness” of a small town in the west of this lovely country. I loved it then and I love it now. But that is a bit beside the point of the garden and plans for the coming year. There are three themes that I can identify :
- to plant more fruit trees;
- to add to the growing space;
- to organise the growing space differently.
The idea for more fruit trees only arrived in my head a couple of weeks ago. I’m not even sure how I came across it, but in wandering about the internet I found a book called “Grow a Little Fruit Tree” by Ann Ralph. I ordered it and am currently reading it. She uses a pruning method that keeps fruit trees very short – so that the gardener can easily reach into the top of it. She has been doing this for decades and the pictures in the book clearly show delightful small trees bearing delicious looking fruit. Adopting this method will enable me to include more fruit trees when I had previously thought it might not be possible. The border in the photo below will be extended outwards and the trees will go in there.
This will extend the growing space and the turfs removed will be put to use on an extension to the main vegetable polyculture. I began work on that today using organic materials left over from last year. Branches cut from the hedge in the autumn were stowed for the winter at the base of the hedge, in large clumpy piles. Today I moved those piles and spread them out over an area of grass.
I added some fennel stems which the birds have finally stripped of their seeds. It does look messy at present and won’t look any better for a few months to come. After the turfs are added some time this month I will be able to plant and sow into it.
I plan to organise the planting in all the areas of the garden by different edible themes. As there will be more space than before I hope that it won’t be necessary to grow plants rather closer together than I would like. Last year’s joyful mixtures of perennial vegetables, herbs, flowers and shrubs worked absolutely fine and looked really nice, but I would like to make the garden easier for other people to interpret and to that end it needs a bit more definition. I have plans for what will go where, so here’s hoping I manage to stick to them.
In the meantime from a damp, windy, wet and occasionally sunny Wales – Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant Hapus!