25 May 2021

Improving the harmony of one of my raised beds

When I had put plants into my biggest raised bed, I had a design in mind. I imagined big shrubs in the middle, surrounded by intermediate shrubs, and then low plants around that. I still think that is a reasonable idea. But the problem is that if you go to the garden centre and buy plants, you tend to buy them fairly small, and have to predict how big they will become, and how much time that will take. And that doesn't always go well. I had bought some plants, and had looked on the labels how big they were supposed to get. And I had an idea, of course, from seeing them in other people's gardens. So I had a spindle bush in the middle (Euronymus japonicus "Ovatus Aureus") which was expected to get very big. And I had a cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa Wilma) a bit to the side. And then some smaller shrubs around. And I hoped everything would grow into a harmonious whole.

My spindle didn't turn out to grow very much. The cypress did! So the whole bed started to look a bit unbalanced. And I had pondered if I should interfere. Surely, these plants wouldn't like being moved around? But in the end I decided I was going to try it anyway. So one reasonably dry Saturday I took my spade to the raised bed, and moved the spindle to the side, and plonked the cypress into the middle. I hope they will recover! Digging out the cypress was easy. The spindle was putting up more resistance; it turned out to have a modest halo of small roots around the base, and one very big root going off to the other side of the world. I didn't even have to dig that out entirely! I just made it go around the corner to the new location of the shrub. And now I have to wait, and see if indeed the cypress keeps growing in its new role as the centrepiece. And whether the spindle will ever catch up.

Now I have done that, is the bed harmonious? Well, no. It is still clearly a raised bed filled by someone who has little gardening talent, little eye for design, and no plans of throwing a lot of money at the garden. And by someone whose poor soils might hinder the plants growing so big they fill the bed and make it look mature. But improvement has been achieved! As long as there is progress I'm okay…

before: the cypress to the side

 after: proudly in the middle!

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