The “English Cottage Garden” Begins to Take Shape…   4 comments

As many of you might know, Lynn’s been in planning mode for a while now, designing a quaint “English Cottage Garden” out in front of the Ballot Box, eventually consisting of beds of all kinds of perennial flowers on either side, a bench for sitting and reflecting, butterfly-friendly flowering shrubs along the front of the house, a meandering pathway of rustic, loosely-spaced pavers of some kind with grass and moss and little flowers in between, and a small café table and two chairs as a spot for two friends to sit and chat and enjoy a morning coffee or afternoon tea with a scone or two; all bordered by a white picket fence with rambling roses, and maybe an arbor.

During our very first garden discussions over a year ago, I recognized the fence as being the “cornerstone” for the garden, bounding it and giving visual definition to the project. So we started the previous spring (2011) by pounding wooden stakes into the ground out front as a “strawman” fence alignment. We needed to live with this faux fence for a while to see if it was placed correctly. Indeed, it wasn’t. We made at least two adjustments, one based on the visual symmetry with the house, and the other related to the view of the fence and the future garden from the dining area picture window.

Once we were satisfied with the placement and we had bought all the fence parts and pieces, I went to install the fence but my garden claw and clam-shell post-hole digger was no match for the summer-hardened clay that was hiding six inches below the imported topsoil that had been brought in for the lawn.  So we hired a local “fence installer” who was willing to dig the post holes and install the fence for about the cost of renting an auger. He and his son came last August and did the work, so the fence has been in place for about a year.

Digging the Trench

The Rose Trench

This summer Lynn decided to start the garden construction with the roses along the picket fence, so she contracted with a local landscaper to dig a 3-foot-wide trench in front of the fence about 18 inches deep, to get the clay out and replace it with composted topsoil to make a rose garden where the roots could flourish. This would be the REAL start of the English Cottage Garden (now looking more like a ten-year effort than a quick project!). I expected the landscaper to show up with a front-loader and dig the trench in an hour or two, but he evidently had an employee who needed punishment because one guy dug the trench by hand with a pick-axe, a shovel, and a wheel barrel.  All told, it took about 10 days to dig it by hand, with him showing up for 3-4 hours at a time every other day or so.

Dumping Topsoil

The Finished Garden

After the trench was dug they brought in in a dump truck of composted topsoil and filled it in, and planted the roses that Lynn had been buying at garden center sales and such. Voila! We have a rose garden!  It’s starting to look more refined and cultured around the place now!  My last project for this summer is to dig a trench from the corner of the house where the sillcock is over to the fence corner and bury a 3-inch PVC pipe in the trench so I can snake an extension of the dripper watering system over to the roses and the gardens along the fence.

Posted 17 August 2012 by Gene Vogt in Maine, Newcastle, Summer, The Ballot Box

4 responses to “The “English Cottage Garden” Begins to Take Shape…

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