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At the end of the 'Great Wall'...


I started writing this blog before we got engulfed, so I’ve only just got round to finishing it!

What’s at the end of the Great Wall of Somerset? Well, there’s a small wall about 2’ high, an ancient apple tree, and an area where our predecessors laid a membrane. I haven’t been able to do much there, so it’s been a bit of an eyesore if I’m honest. Weeds still managed to grow there, and two large Sedums somehow survived.

When Mark was building ‘The Great Wall of Somerset’, the fence at the back was removed to allow access to the field behind, so it looked even worse with debris and trampled soil. OH dug up the Sedums, and two friends in the village welcomed them, as I really hadn’t got space for them.

This is the area after Mark went.

It was looking really trampled as well as rubbishy. The gap in the fence at the back had a temporary panel placed, to stop Henry getting into the field.

A bit of muscle was called for, and we got in touch with a local man who does odd jobs, including gardening. He cleared it, dug it over, and removed umpteen stones. Then he brought up several barrow loads of compost and leaf mould.

Looking a lot better now!
I sprinkled blood, fish and bone all over the area and raked it in. I found yet more stones, so I did a quick and light fork-over. I suspect there are plenty more stones in there still!

Then I started to plan how to plant it up. It’s ideal for Hellebores and ferns, and I made a list of other possible shade lovers. I had an order in with a Nursery in Essex, and I was able to add a Hydrangea seemannii to it, to clothe the wall. (It’s the evergreen version of H.petiolaris, and luckily, it likes shade!)

Garden Centres are so Christmas-orientated that they don’t really cater for gardeners from November onwards. However, I found three lovely Hellebores – called ‘Candy Love’. Ferns seemed to be readily available, so I had a good selection to choose from.

They only had one Asplenium angustifolium, but it’s such a pretty little fern, it came home with me.

This one is Asplenium scolopendrium ‘Cristatum’ and it’s really attractive, with its curly fronds. I got three of these.

And three Dryopteris affinis ‘The King’ as well. It has little crown-like crests at the tip of the fronds!

I’d decided that Cyclamen coum would look great – they do spread, so I managed to track down a few.

It still looked sparse, but I had a brainwave…when I replanted my containers, I’d removed a Euonymus which had outgrown the container. It had split naturally into two, and I’d potted them up. They’d be good at the back of the area, where they can grow even bigger.

I decided that a Skimmia would ‘lift’ the centre. There are plenty of Skimmias around, so I had a choice.

This is Skimmia japonica ‘Emerald King’.

I also found some small Hellebore niger plants, so I added three. I have a lovely useful Carex elsewhere in the garden – Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’. It does spread, but isn’t invasive. It’s a real gem for shady places! I split off a piece and that went in.

What else? Oh yes – I was looking for plants with a contrasting form, and I found a lovely silvery Liriope.

Liriope spicata ‘Silver Dragon’

I want the bed to look good all the year round, so I transplanted all the foxglove seedlings from other places in the garden. They have a mind of their own, and they tend to appear in all sorts of inconvenient places! I found seven in all.

I shall propagate my Geranium macrorrhizum, which copes with shade.

That will still leave space for some summer flowering plants, but recent events stopped me from any further planning. The bed is up steps, so it wasn’t affected by the floods, thank goodness, otherwise the new plants might have floated out into the Bristol Channel!

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What a transformation Spritz.....I,m relieved for you that it didn't get flooded. :o))

6 Dec, 2012


How lovely! A new project to take your mind off the soggy carpets etc. :) I'm in the middle of doing something similar, but so far I've only planted a Fatsia and two ferns. The ground here has frozen now, so I don't know how long it will be before I can move forward. However, you've given me an idea, I shall add a couple of helleborus foetidus to my plant list! That Carex grass is super isn't it? That's the one you sent me I think? I have split and replanted it already, in a very dry, very shady area, and most of the babies took well. Nothing else except perhaps Ivy would grow there, so I am very pleased to have it! :) It's great when you manage to 'sort out' an area that you've felt has been an eyesore, or just not up to your usual standards!

6 Dec, 2012


I do like your plant choices. I had not been aware of an evergreen hydrangea. I do like the leaves on it.

6 Dec, 2012


What a transformation, and in addition to coping with all your flooding too!
Hydrangea seemannii has been added to my wish list too, I used H.petiolaris to brighten up a north facing wall but it isn't very interesting in winter.
What a lot of flowering plants you have incorporated too, it is going to look so good!

6 Dec, 2012


glad you've not lost your touch. there are some pretty ferns around arnt there. this will fill out beautifully.

6 Dec, 2012


Thats looking good Spritz, I`m pleased at least that part was saved from the flooding as the new bed and planting is still getting established,it will be all filled out in no time...

6 Dec, 2012


My allotment neighbour's wife is named 'Candy' so I will tell him about the Hellebore.

6 Dec, 2012


What a great selection you have chosen. What a massive difference you have made to that area Spritz.
Loving your Asleniums - I have a few of these and they are gorgeous - the Cristata is one of my favs.

6 Dec, 2012


It's looking great Spritz . . . and so good to hear that you've got your energy back :))

6 Dec, 2012


That's a great antidote to the flooding - a lovely selection of plants and it will be good to see a photo when they have matured a bit - should look fantastic.

6 Dec, 2012


Well done Spritz a lovely plant selection, will be very interested to see how this plot develops, hope you have dried out a little now ;0)

6 Dec, 2012


I haven't really got my 'mojo' back, but I did enjoy getting going on this corner. It'll be nice to get back to planning the next stage of planting when the spring comes - and when we're back to normal here!

Pp - all flood news is on the other blog - but things are progressing, slowly.

Snoopdog, Ashill isn't that far from here, but I'm afraid I don't know anyone from there.

Karen, yes, that's the one. It's very useful and attractive, isn't it! :-)

7 Dec, 2012


looks lovely Spritz. its always great to capture an untamed corner. :-)

7 Dec, 2012


Beautiful as usual, Spritz!! Fair warning on the Liriope, though: that species can become a fast spreader in soil that nice.

8 Dec, 2012


I know - the two plants I bought have great roots, and showed signs of more shoots. I don't mind - I'm sure I can split them!

The rose in the apple tree will brighten things up in the's Zepherine Drouhin, and it does well there. I haven't had time to think of other shade plants that flower in the summer. Any thoughts, GOY-ers? Tiarellas, Heucheras maybe...but something taller to go in the large gap along the wall.

8 Dec, 2012


You have really cheered that corner up; The ZD rose is lovely isnt it ; I have two now. And the hellebore foetidus is very colourful when it blooms. We are looking forward to hearing how your garden recovers next year. Parts of our garden flood regularly but it is amazing how quickly things go back to normal. But we dont have a raging torrent to deal with like you did! Hope you will be recovered by Christmas in the house?

8 Dec, 2012


How about one of the tall thalictrums. Thalictrum rochebruneanum eventual height 5'. or Sell one like this
Thalictrum delavayi 'Album' eventual height 3'. Both will survive in full or part shade or full sun. They both have light airy aquilegia type foliage.

8 Dec, 2012


Thalictrums would fit in well - good idea!:-) I've got one elsewhere in the garden - 'Hewitts' Double' I think.

Would Aquilegias cope with shade? I know they don't mind partial shade, but this is almost full shade when the apple tree gets its new leaves.

I want to stick with muted colours - or white - as the long wall border is planned to be quite bright.

9 Dec, 2012


There is a nice aquilegia on Touchwoods website. Its A. stellata 'Sweet Dreams. It should be fine in shade. They also have seeds for Galtonia candicans. It will take three years to flower from seed. Polemonium pauciflorum will flower anywhere. It is one of my favourites. It is a pale creamy yellow. How about white flowering borage. Borago officinalis Alba. There are several climbing Dicentra or Dactylicapnos which have beautiful seed pods. Dunmore Perennials have several different Tricyrtis. Its very exciting to be planning a whole new area of the garden.

9 Dec, 2012


That corner of your garden is beginning to look really great! :-)) Looking forward to seeing a few photos later during the summer so we can see how it has progressed!

9 Dec, 2012


I have aquilegia growing and taking over under the beech tree, so yes they will tolerate deep shade.
have you considered aconitum? there are some lovely creamy ones like 'ivorine'

9 Dec, 2012


I'll plant some in the spring, then. Thanks for the ideas! Keep-em gardening books are all over the place - not even sure where, so I'm relying on GOY at the moment!

R'smum - no chance. :-( The renovation work will last about 4 - 5 MONTHS.

11 Dec, 2012


Thank goodness you have a bit of garden than still looks wonderful.

9 Jan, 2013


Thank you - yes, it helps a lot. :-)

10 Jan, 2013


Thank you, Homebird. :-) I want it to look interesting all year round, so I'll be adding plants each season. I'm planning to keep the colours on the 'muted' side though - because it's next to the long wall border, which will be much more vibrant (I hope!)

13 Jan, 2013


I didn't see this Barbara as I was dying with flu! They are lovely, even from a distance. Which would you say is your favourite hellebore, taking into account the impact the plant has on the winter garden, not just the close up beauty? I can't have many in my little garden, but have fallen in love with them:-)

20 Jan, 2013


I have a couple of anemone-centred ones, which are later to flower, but beautiful - sort of 'semi' double. The other v.v.v. striking one is almost black, but you need to see that at close range. Hmmm...the one that always gives me the most pleasure is the cream-flowered one, really. That would stand out! I'm sure they're all on my 'garden' list, so you can have a look.

Poor you - are you all better now?

21 Jan, 2013


Yes thanks, just left with a cough. I'll go and try to find your list?:-)

22 Jan, 2013


I've been looking a the ericsmithiis? they look a rather good type, do you have any?:-)

22 Jan, 2013


Yes, the new one I bought for my big blue pot is called 'H. x ericsmithii 'Snow Love'. Somewhat ironic after the blizzards we've had over the last 24 hours!

It has lovely fat buds so I'll be posting a photo soon, I hope, once I've dug my way out. lol.

23 Jan, 2013


I look forward to that:-)

23 Jan, 2013

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