The eventual Secret Garden at PumpjackPiddlewick

As the eventual secret garden lies dormant it is time to get to work. Already the days are lengthening. Bed time for the ducks is now 5:30 pm, compared to 4pm in just before Christmas. And days are getting warmer. Sort of. Depending on the sun, or not.

Yesterday was a beautifully mild, sunny day. The first real ‘oh my goodness what a gorgeous day’ day. The garden couldn’t be ignored, but the day made sure it stayed the focus.

It started out with simple plans for the honeysuckle. A little haircut just to make it feel like new. Some of the cuttings were dipped in root powder and tucked into strategic places around the duck enclosure. My hopes are to enclose its corners in honeysuckle so that when I sit inside not just the duck enclosure but my (eventual) secret garden to write (like now), I am surrounded by scent.

The honeysuckle led to the overgrown tree, that is sort of willow like and flowers yellow flowers in spring. Many of its swaying branches were blocking the sunlight to the honeysuckle. So it needed a really good topping and tailing.

On then to the interior of the duck enclosure, aka the secret garden, itself, which has two rows of trees creating a cool corridor and a shaded seating area in summer. I have been loathe to prune the seating area as the branches curve over beautifully, almost enclosing it completely. But as the bird netting top to the enclosure is attached to these hanging boughs, it is proving a bit low for Pumpjack to move around in.

Last winter I put up old trampoline netting in one section as I had run out of bird netting. It sufficed, but was also heavier. With leaves coming down in autumn this black netting started to sag. Time for it to go and be replaced by the proper light weight, can barely see it stuff.

The trampoline netting won’t go to waste though. Along the bottom quarter of the enclosure walls we had had to put up ugly black cloth (also left over from the trampoline). Why put up something ugly? Well, the walls are made of large holed chicken wire. We had chosen it so little birds could get in and out of the enclosed space (a must when topping it with bird netting). But, we had forgotten about spring and ducklings. They too could pop in and out of the enclosure through the walls. Not very safe for them. So up went a swift barrier, with what was to hand. Ugly, but serviceable.

This past month has been about replacing the black cloth with the trampoline netting. What was too solid and noticeable above, is almost invisible along the walls. With the solid cloth gone, the trees pruned back and the new, tidy bird netting over the top, the enclosure has a much more airy, light and open feeling.

This will change as spring comes on and greenery starts to grow, creating shade and filling in the gaps. Meanwhile it is and has been about sitting in the space, looking and thinking about what we know from the past and planning its future. With each year our duck enclosure will slowly turn into theirs and our secret garden. I for one, can’t wait. But, with gardening, I am learning to practice patience.

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We store our restoration garden (and house) pictures, updating reasonably regularly, on Flickr if you wish to see.

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