The bed to the right of our pond used to look like the photo on the left.
It was dominated by a gunnera growing behind it is a sort of brick trough.
I had never been totally satisfied with but hadn’t really had the time to give it much thought.
Then the very cold winter of 2010 killed off the phormium and seemed to have also put paid to the gunnera. This presented us with an ideal opportunity to rethink.
Surviving plants were moved elsewhere in the garden or in the case of the hundreds of self sown hardy cyclamen given to friends. The only plant retained for this are was Astilbe chinensis- pumila.
I them decided that as the bed is raised to almost eye level (my eye level) to one side that low growing rockery style plants would be an ideal solution.
With this in mind I started collecting suitable plants visiting the garden centres and nurseries at different times to ensure that I didn’t buy plants that would be at there best at just one time of the year.
A list of the plants that I bought can be viewed here.
At one time a conifer grew in this bed so we did try to remove the root was still embedded and had been hidden by plant growth. Even wielding a pick-axe this proved to be impossible and so it has been left in place. Hopefully eventually the plants will obscure it.
The bed had been a rockery in a previous life and so the soil was gritty. A few stones that had also had several previous ‘lives’ in the garden were used to create a small raised area to add interest
Once the soil level had been ‘topped up’ the plants were arranged and planted. Plants likely to sprawl have been planted along the back of the wall. I hope that eventually they will grow across the coping stones to break up the edge a little.
A few more purchases were needed to fill the gaps and we also needed to choose a mulch of some sort of pebbles to finish off.
I also moved the hardy cyclamen on a ledge below and replaced these with more small plants to keep the theme going.
29 May 2012 - A mulch of Golden Flint pebbles had been spread around the plants.
October 2012 - Some miniature narcissus - Minnow - had been planted in between the plants.
May 2013 - Whilst some plant were growing really well others seem not to have survived the winter. There is only a clump of Minnow narcissus showing signs of life on the top layer
The Living Lid
We replaced and relocated the pond filter. This is now housed in a brick ‘box’ which adjoins the pebble garden. In order to disguise the filter but allow access for cleaning we created a living lid. This idea developed from living roofs that I had seen on various gardening programmes and featured in gardening magazines.
We seated three strong plastic trays into a wooden framework which rests on top of the brick ‘box’ that surrounds the filter.
Each tray has been planted up with sempervivums and sedum which will hopefully spread to almost cover the tray if the birds allow. We ended up covering the lid with a net frame.
A mulch of the same type of gravel as we have used for the pebble garden was applied.
June 2013 - More plants have been added to fill some of the gaps in the planting and I have also planted up some lewisias and a delosperma in terracotta containers on the edge of the pebble garden.
May 2014 - The lower shelf of the pebble garden was planted up with Achillea Tormentosa, Erodium Bishops Form, Geranium Vision Violet, Mimulus Highland Red, Pulsatilla Vulgans White and Saponaria Ocymoides.
I posted about this on my blog here.
The Living Lid is also filling out in spite of activities of wood pigeons that seem to think sedum looks to be a tasty treat. They are reorganising the planting.