As you guys know, we have a bit of a nightmare with trees in our garden. There are a couple of reasons, firstly the wind just seems to burn so much of the new, more delicate growth and secondly, we just suck at the whole tree in a container thing. Honestly, we are awful. So to help, after a really disappointing year with our two prunis, we decided to give them all the love they could possible need – obviously by that I mean a massive deep and super rich bed rather than confine them to a pot.
Up until now the two trees were in pots at the end of the garden, granted big pots, but it still meant they were completely reliant on us for food and water and all their general well being and I think we suck as tree parents. Last year, very early into summer, both trees lost all their leaves and no matter what we did, we couldn’t encourage them to grow any more.
So this year we have moved the trees out of their pots and into a huge bed, really deep and super nutritious filled with our lovely homemade compost. Not gonna lie, it was a big job and really took it out of us. We were shattered by the end of the day, but I really think it was worth it, the trees have blossomed and are looking happy. Fingers crossed.
Now we had a bed there before but hadn’t tried to plant the trees directly into the soil because the bed wasn’t very deep and it was pretty chock-full of plants already.
So we did have to think about that and decide on what stayed and what went. Which turned out to be easier than we expected. That snow we had last month pretty much trashed the phormiums, they had gone pretty brown and sorry looking. So taking them out meant we had a lot of space for the trees. It wasn’t easy to get them out of there though, they were huge and very deeply rooted.
The other plants in the bed were pretty small, just some bedding plants and an awful lot of aubrietia which was past. There were however a couple of established clematis and a small Acer. So we were going to have to be very careful not to damage those. So basically, we dismantled the old bed, leaving just the soil in its shape making it easier to dig out everything we could.
I also shovelled as much of the existing soil as I could onto a tarpaulin to try to keep as much as possible. The new bed was going to be an awful lot deeper and was going to need a lot of soil, so keeping this stuff was essential.
It turned out that we needed way, way more soil than we realised. 883 litres to be precise.
The new bed was built from some railway sleepers, so it’s pretty substantial. Much, much bigger than your normal flower bed would be, it’s more like one of my veg beds, but given this was pretty much for the trees, we wanted to give them the best possible home we could. So it is two railway sleepers deep, more than twice as deep as before.
Off the top of my head, I think it is roughly 8ft wide, 3ft deep and just under 2ft high, roughly.
So, yeah we had the old soil from the bed, but we had to break out the big guns, so to speak. Luckily, I’ve been hoarding homemade compost this year, because with Scotland being locked down, and us living in a small town, there have been times where it has been difficult to get gardening supplies or it really wasn’t appropriate to be visiting garden shops. So I’ve been bagging up my homemade compost and storing it. Well as you can imagine, this pretty much used all of that… and I still had to empty my bin for more. That was a lot of physical shovelling and moving of compost. Boy did I hurt afterwards.
We’re really chuffed though. We now have a really good, deep bed and the trees seem happy. We’ll obviously keep an eye on them over the year, but hopefully this should mean watering and feeding should be much more even and more pleasant for them. The next job is to add more cover plants as at the minute it looks a bit bare, but I’ve got a pile of things growing on in the greenhouse just now, so fingers crossed I get a good crop of aubretia, mimulus, petunia, crocosmia, sea holly and rudbeckia etc and it should be looking full and colourful in no time.
As always, we tried to capture as much as we could on video, including the actual building the bed and generally us being knackered.