We’re so thrilled today, to bring you an update on a guest post we shared with you last December, I know where does time go?
The days were much shorter, but bright and crisp with a frost in the air and bright blue skies overhead last time we checked in with blog buddie Liz Ridgway, from outdoor lifestyle company Denys & Fielding.
Liz had just documented for us the early stages of her raised bed apple bin project, so let’s just run through how the beds were prepared and planted, before bringing you a ‘hot off the press’ update.
Background to Liz’s Project
In her last post for us, back in the depths of winter, albeit a mild one as it turned out, Liz was making the most of the winter sun to create a couple of large, affordable raised beds. using old apple bins that she sourced locally from her native Kent countryside.
The bins were lined, holes were cut in the base and plenty of old bricks, broken pieces of terracotta pots and stones, were added to improve drainage and prevent the base of the bins rotting.
The bins were then filled with leaves from around the garden, the theory being that this would save on having to find or buy expensive top soil and utilise all the fallen autumn leaves.
Having let everything to settle for a week or so to decay a little more and drop in level, more leaves were added and finally the call was made to finish off with a layer of top soil.
And then the fun bit, when an assortment of seeds and bulbs was added.
The whole project to this stage cost a very thrifty £35.00, including the bulbs and seeds. And as every gardener knows, once everything’s planted up, especially in the winter months, you can do no more other than watch and wait.
The Late Spring Reveal
And now it’s time to catch up with Liz for the big spring reveal. Over to Liz to fill you in with how everything’s going.
The Original Plan
I can’t believe it is June already!? My last blog post for Michelle was about a little raised bed project I was concocting. The idea was to reuse two old apple bins as raised flower beds, adding what I hope would be height, colour and interest out of the direct target zone of bikes, footballs and frisbees.
When I last wrote, I’d merrily filled up the bins with leaves collected from around the garden and then, once they’d dropped a little, added a layer topsoil and popped in some bulbs. Er, well, I did that, but soon whipped out the bulbs and placed them into other parts of the garden.
The trouble was the soil level just kept on sinking down. The more I put leaves and homemade compost in, the more the bins seemed to greedily say ‘keep it coming!!’
All winter, I filled up the apple bins, until finally the sinking slowed down, and the holes disappeared. Back on again went a much bigger layer of topsoil which came from a really good friend of mine who is a landscaper, and had a ton to get rid of. Literally a ton!
Note to self – organic matter rots down in a matter of minutes! I’ll be insanely generous with quantities in future.
So, plan B. I planted several grasses, Verbena, Achillea and my favourite – Geum ‘Flaming Passion’ into each apple bin a couple of months ago. These were placed uniformly in both apple bins and the Geum has already given me a wonderful flash of colour.
I really love the wafty, airy way they intermingle and move with the grasses. Really lovely. Meanwhile the Achillea and Verbena are under starters orders and I think may well be in flower in the next couple of weeks. These are set to take over from the Geum which are now forming pretty, hairy little seed heads as their petals slowly disappear.
Along with colour, these perennials have also given the apple bins structure. In and around these plants, I’ve sown a fresh batch of wildflower seeds. These are a hot colour mix which I bought from the fab and very knowledgeable Paul at Meadow in my Garden.
I left the sowing of these pretty late – sowing just a couple of weeks ago during this mild, beautiful weather we have enjoyed. Within a week they had germinated and they are now literally galloping along, growing steadily. I’ve made a point of making sure they are watered regularly as we haven’t seen a huge amount of rain here at all this year. But the early signs are good and I am so excited about the show they are going to put on in the height of summer.
With finger’s firmly crossed, I hope to be back in the next couple of months with pics of a colourful extravaganza going on in the apple bins at the bottom of the garden!!! But for now, I hope you enjoy the update!
Guest Post, all images courtesy if Liz at Denys & Fielding