Friday, 6 September 2013

The Rose Garden - Groundworks Day 4 - digging, sweeping, scrubbing and planting

The Fourth Day of work on the Rose Garden Site started early on a quintessentially beautiful late-summer morning. As we turned up to start work for the day, it was nice to have a quick tour of the site and notice the greeting of the few remaining roses in bloom.

There are only four or five roses left in the space, all shrub plants, and mostly they have grown unwieldly, and a little diseased, after years of neglect and a lack of regular pruning. Roses benefit from some tough love, especially early in their lives, as without hard pruning, they can become leggy and a little top-heavy.

Despite this, it is a testament to the character of the plant that even though blackspot has taken hold, and parental neglect has led to wild and unruly growth, there is still enough energy to produce blooms as beautiful as these. They are acting as an allegory for the project - a will and determination to succeed despite previous travails. In our plan for the full restoration of the Rose Garden, which will see the re-population of the site with our new Spode China Rose, we will ensure that these existing roses will be cared for and a place found for them.

The work in earnest began with a delivery of high grade topsoil - 2 tonnes winched in to the space in 2 bags.
This was for filling the central circular planting bed, but before we could get round to that we needed to transfer some more of the high-clay content soil from the bed underneath the railings in to the circular bed.

Close attention was paid to ensuring a clear and distinct outline of our "wedge-shaped" zone - only areas within the zone are having attention paid.
We moved about 15 barrow loads from this area in to the circular flower bed, before transferring the
bagged top soil. Once in, we watered the soil and gave it some time to settle before planting later on.

In the meantime we concentrated on the floor of our zone. Systematic sweeping and scrubbing to spruce up the concrete surface and clear as much mud and dust before future jet washing. Clearing and digging over a shady area which will become a fern-bed. Readying walls for painting, and adding fresh gravel to the gravel-bed. All this was done to accentuate the area that we are renovating and re-activating. By the end of the day you could clearly see where we had been.

The final job of the day was to plant up the flower beds, in order to give the plants a maximum amount of time to acclimatise before the BCB and the Rose Garden opens on September 27th. The planting happens in two stages.

First, we have introduced a selection of Carex grasses to the central bed. The grasses will look beautiful all year round, easy to maintain and will create  a great architectural base and striking contrast to the bespoke ceramic rose which will be the centrepiece of the bed.

Further back, in the shady area there will be a family of
rich green coloured ferns, coping with the limited light, and creating a contrast with the bark floor cover.

The large flower bed under the railings, initially, has a line of Heuchera's. The plan for this area is a two-tone white and pink colour palette - the colours of the BCB and will point to the particular style of civic planting schemes.

Stage two of the planting will be completed in the last week before the exhibition opening. At this stage we will be introducing bloom-
filled bedding plants, in pinks and whites, mostly cyclamen, throughout the three main planting areas - among the ferns, the grasses and the heucheras.

The end of Day 4 of the groundworks saw us about halfway through the project. Still to come, we need to pay some attention to pruning existing trees and bushes, painting masonry and railings and fully cleaning the concrete ground surface.

Next, though, we are meeting with ceramicist Rita Ford who is going to be hand-making the ceramic version of our Spode China Rose.

No comments:

Post a comment