I’m late to the party this month, not that this is unusual for me! I’ve had a fun month. Doris (remember Doris) clobbered the fence on one side of the garden. Repairs were complicated by the fact that the chap who erected the fence for me must have welded the screws in place and I couldn’t separate panels from posts (the panels were fine; the posts had given up the ghost). What should have taken half a day extended into three whole days. Then replacing a vacuum cleaner turned into a week-plus long saga of wrong model being delivered several times and, when I got the right model, it was faulty (backtrack to wrong model being delivered ……). Then my printer broke down (repair cost more than replacement cost – typical!). Then my steam generator (posh iron) went kaput. Add a few minor problems to the mix and I’m getting bald!
As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve had an interloping flamingo to deal with (thanks Gill)!
But better late than never, or so they say. So, with thanks to Squirrelbasket for hosting this tree-following meme, oft we jolly well go.
After last month’s haircut, it was time for a pedicure. Cutting the grass back in a nice circle around the trunk wasn’t working because, despite the tree being planted some years ago at the right depth (if anything too deeply!) roots had extended out above ground level and these prevented me from inserting a ring around the tree to keep the grass away as I’d done with Colin (see link at the end of this post).
Meanwhile, the grass, and anything else that seized the opportunity, grew into the circle from outside.
Or, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat it, hide it.
And my saviour from grass incursion would be grass. Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, aka Golden Hakon Grass, to be exact.
This is a nice mound-forming clumpy sort of plant. When mature it’s a foot or so tall and spreads up to a couple of feet across. It’s undemanding care wise, just don’t let it dry out and clip it over in late winter before the new shoots appear. And it looks good too. The idea was to plant half-a-dozen of these around the trunk and let them grow out to camouflage the circle around the tree.
Step 1 was to clear the incoming growth.
Step 2 was to remove most of the existing heavy gravel around the trunk. Though I’d confined resident cat to the house (he has this habit of climbing into trees and then dropping onto my head when I least expect it), I still had to contend with Flora Flamingo, who’d been re-homed to my place by fellow blogger Gill Heavens. Flora’s really a little watering can with a mind of her own but she’s just the right size to hold a bottle of Southern Comfort to meet my fortification needs. Made her a bit legless though!
Step 3 was to plant the grass. I’d bought six plants from Greens Leaves Nursery, just up the road and over the border in Gloucestershire (in Wales, we think anything less than 100 miles is “just up the road”; the nearest Tesco is over 7 miles away and please don’t ask about Waitrose!). I’d chosen six because (a) six should expand in a reasonable amount of time and (b) I didn’t fancy digging more than six holes through the roots of the tree.
Step 4 was to mulch. The gravel I’d removed was rather large chunks but I needed something to discourage weed growth whilst not impeding Hakonechloa growth. A light coating of flint did the trick and makes things look quite nice.
At least Flora thinks so.