Although there were a couple of problems at the start, with plants being dug up this is a really successful project. The mulberry tree looks extremely comfortable - keeping its leaves well into December
in the first year - and the herbs have established nicely: thyme, lavender, bay and savoury. We added some garlic bulbs in December and other plants have just appeared randomly. Strawberries seem to be doing well here so we'll add some more.
By September 2010, the tree had two first leaders and we decided to prune it back so that just one would survive. This is to make sure the trunk is stronger and isn't split right down the middle should one break away. The branch didn't bleed very much at all when cut. It's raised the canopy of the tree which now looks like it could do with staking.
One thing we've struggled with is recurrent brambles and a mysterious but pernicious plant that seems undeterred by repetitive weeding. We think it might be prickly ash which is growing from the other side of Green Lanes from a tree that was cut down - identical shoots are growing from it's base. It's amazing how far this plant can spread and how determined it is!. In September 2010 we added a cardboard and woodchip mulch in between the plants to try and keep these in check.
BACK IN JULY 2009
Since most of our projects are rather long-term, we thought we'd get busy and do some gardening in the raised bed at the junction of Gloucester Drive and Green lanes. Just over a year ago, an enormous ash tree was removed, and the flowerbed has become overgrown with thistles and brambles. It's now home to a lovely young mulberry tree and several hardy herbs.
While gardening, we were heartened by the stream of supportive comments from our neighbours, one of whom stepped in (literally) to help out. The ex-Egyptian farmer had been complaining about the overgrown patch for a while and was very keen to get his hands dirty.
We also fixed the broken bench and hope our fellow residents will pause to enjoy the fruits of our labour and maybe slip in a couple of their favourite herbs.
One of the gardeners, Laura, writes a blog and has written about our planting day here.