Woodland Garden – Timeline

2006

Getting Started

MARCH 2006

The fence and woodshed were constructed early in 2006 creating the backdrop for the garden-to-be. The cherry was quite small at this point in time. Neighboring trees contribute to the woodland feel of this space (Japanese cherry behind the woodshed and weeping willow to the right)

OAK RAISED BEDS

JUNE 2006

After spraying off the existing turf and roughly levelling the main lumps and bumps, the first things to go in were the timber beds. These were constructed from six inch wide oak planks fixed to oak stakes. Sourced from a local saw-mill they were more expensive than treated softwood, but would go on to last for fifteen years.

Temporary Crops

JUNE 2006

The new beds were planted up with vegetable and salad crops for the summer.

2007

Brick Paths

Bricks laid dry (like block paving) on a bed of tamped sharp sand created paths between the beds. The beds provide lateral support.

The advantage of this kind of construction (timber edging and dry-laid paving) is that it is easy to lift and reconfigure at a later date.

The bricks ‘flowed’ nicely around the beds.

MARCH 2007

Basic Layout complete

MARCH 2007

The main structure completed, showing the basic layout: three central rectangular beds with the cherry tree in the centre of the middle bed. Note the square zig-zag bed running towards the shed door, infront of the fence. Vegetables are slowly being replaced with woodland plants.

2008

Low fences

MAY 2008

Low fences with handrails were constructed along the beds separating the woodland garden from the drive. Tensioned support wires between the posts allow two ties espalier apples to be trained. Dwarf box hedging has been planted along the edge of some of the beds, and a range of woodland plants added. (See post: How to create quality wire supports for walls and fences)

Trained Fruit Bushes

1. Redcurrant fans trained on the fence
2. Tayberry canes trained on wires
3. Three-tier espalier apple ‘Sunset’ trained on end of woodshed
4. Two tier espalier apples trained on wires on low, open fences

(See info. page: Trained Forms Index)

Garden Layout 2008-2022

Here is a plan of the garden as it was by the end of 2008. It remained with this layout until 2022 when it was partially redesigned.

2010

May 2010 – Cherry blossom

Filling Out

During 2009 I didn’t work on the woodland garden much. The plants were growing and I kept them weeded.

The trained fruit bushes were goofing and I kept them pruned and trained.

By 2010, the garden had filled out. Nothing had out-grown its space and everything was looking beautiful.

The pink flowering cherry tree is in my garden, but behind my woodshed, Its branches hang over the top of the shed, creating a beautiful back drop in May. Petals fall on the path. Initially, these are very attractive, but in a few weeks they drop like snowfall, creating mushy mounds

Keeping the paths swept is a task that would ideally be done weekly. I only get round to it every month or two, so the garden does not always look its best..

The white cherry tree visible in the top-right of this picture is actually in my neighbour’s garden. Unfortunately, it was destined to die off in the near future.

2010 Woodland Posts

Inspired by my new garden, I started blogging about it regularly.

Finishing touches

In early 2011 we acquired two very nice white planters and a garden chair, made from acacia wood.

Permaculture

The woodland garden was always planned as a woodland fruit garden. The central cherry is an edible cultivar, and produces hundreds of gorgeous yellow/orange fruit every year (above right). 2011 was a good harvest, but usually, the birds take most of them. The red current fans are now productive too (above, left). Here is a full list of the fruit growing in 2011.

Fruits grown in the Woodland Garden

  • Cherries (x1 large tree)
  • Espalier apples (x4 varieties)
  • Fan-trained red currents (x2)
  • Bush grown black currents (x1)
  • Gooseberries (1x half standard + 3 x shrubs)
  • Rhubarb (x3)
  • Bayberries (x1)
  • Wild strawberries (x3)

Read more about Trained Fruit

2011-2019 Woodland Posts

For the rest of the decade there were very few structural changes.
Plants were added and plants were removed.
Plants were cut back and tidied up.
The garden provided a great deal of pleasure:
fruit, flowers & photography.

2020

Renovating the Woodshed

In early 2020, I used the free time afforded by lockdown to renovate the woodshed that forms the western boundary of the woodland garden. It was quite an undertaking, requiring one end of the building to be jacked up so rotten posts could be repaired. The whole structure was given Accoya “feet” to ensure the lower end of the posts were held clear of the ground. Then the outside was clad with new boards and the roof repaired and stained. Hopefully it will be good for another decade or two!

2020 Posts

2021

Fence renovation

During the lockdown of Spring 2020, I became aware that my boundary fence was looking old and tired, and needed replacing.

I set about replacing it with a black-stained modern design. I tried to design and build the new fence with longevity in mind. I wanted this one to last over twenty years. The black background has made the

2021 Posts

2022

Renovating the Woodland Beds, Paths + Tweaking the LAYOUT (2022)

After 15 years, the oak beds had rotted to the point where they were falling apart. I decided to replace them with rot-proof Accoya planks: expensive, but they should out live me. While I was at it, I reconfigured the long bed in front of the fence, creating new planting opportunities.

In many places the paths had become uneven, mainly caused by the roots of the central cherry tree. During the renovation, I relaid the paths making them nice and level. Overall the garden looks much better:

Read the full renovation article here…

2023

WATCH THIS SPACE

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