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 just before Christmas. And days are 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, nor shouldn’t, be ignored on such a day. A good excuse to alter plans and get out of my office.
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 that I am surrounded by scent. (I have done the same thing with rose cuttings.)
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. Peach and fig trees next. I am trying to espalier them along the walls of the enclosure.
On then to the interior of the duck enclosure, aka the secret garden itself. It has two rows of trees within creating a cool corridor and a shaded seating area in summer. My self named ‘Cafe du Canard‘. The best duck watching space in the village.
I have been loathe to prune the seating area as the branches curve over beautifully, almost enclosing it in 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.
With leaves coming down in autumn the netting is sagging in places where they have collected. Time for them to be turfed out. A messy job. Even with a hat on, I somehow always end up finding some in my hair days later. Once that is done, it will be time to replace the netting with new. This involves draping the fine netting over strategically placed wires over head. Without letting it get tangled or caught up on any branches. (Always happens no matter how carefully done.)
I still have sections of stone wall to repair and mortar. Warmer weather is called for, but hopefully to be tackled in a couple weeks. It’s also a time of checking the chicken wire walls. We have large holed mesh all around. Chosen so little birds could get in and out of the enclosed space (a must when topping it with bird netting). Then along the lower half is finer mesh, so if there are ducklings come spring they can’t slip outside the enclosure. And also to hinder larger type rodents getting in.
With the trees pruned back and the new, tidy bird netting over the top, the enclosure will have a much more airy, light and open feeling. This will change as spring comes on and greenery starts to grow, creating shade for myself and the ducks by summer.
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.
We store our restoration garden (and house) pictures, updating reasonably regularly, on Flickr if you wish to see its progress. The pictures are sorted into albums depending on which section of the garden.
Gardener Gifts from Our Shop
If you are interested in gardening, you will find a selection of gardener gifts in Our Shop.
If you are interested in ducks in particular, we also offer a quirky collection of duck lover gifts in the ducks and other Animals Section of Our Shop.
Simply click on any of the images above to see more.