Western Isles Gardening
Webmaster note: Ela who writes our garden page is away just now but back very soon!
July is a time of abundance in the garden and all around the Western Isles. The machair is in full bloom with its heady scent of a multitude of wild flowers. The garden is flowering beautifully and giving its yield of fruits and vegetables. The greenhouse is full of delicious French beans and tomatoes that are not ripe yet, but hopefully they will with a bit of sun.
We seem to have had the best of the weather this last month, with all the rain being directed down south we have enjoyed the long warm sunny days.
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Ann's Garden Pond
I thought I would give you all a break from the ‘doings’ in my garden and give you a glimpse into my friend Ann’s garden, across the road. She has been busy over the last few years landscaping her garden to encompass her two greyhounds, which need a lot of room and her passion for growing flowers and sitting watching the birds in the garden and on the loch behind the house. She wanted a pond both for the aesthetic pleasure and for the wildlife. Given that part of the garden was sloped she thought a two-tier effect would be good, with a fountain and reservoir at the top level feeding into the lower pond. So finding a friend with a small digger was helpful in getting the sizeable hole she wanted. She lined the hole with old carpet, which is a good way to do a bit of recycling and cheaper than a whole load of sand before inserting the pond liner.
The fountain was made from a large rock that she had dug out of the garden previously and found someone who had a drill big enough and tough enough to drill a hole all the way through, and that formed the basis of her water feature, with a pipe inserted through it and attached to a pump it gives a natural looking water fountain. The water trickles over the rock with a pleasant and relaxing sound into the reservoir, which is planted with variegated grasses and glass chippings for decoration.
The pond itself has trays of floating plants and water lilies; she found shelves for plants around the edges were not a good idea, as strong winds would just knock then over. She filled pop socks with soil, pushed them in between the rocks leading down the pond and planted houseleeks and sedum in them.
Instead of having rocks around the edges of the pond she decided to bring the turf right to the edge covering the unsightly plastic liner and giving the pond a more natural look. It wasn’t long before the wildlife came to pay a visit. Frogs, water beetles pond skaters and birds all come for food, drink and to bathe.
Steps lead upwards to the sitting area, which is where the old peat stack used to sit but was grown over with grass and weeds. Ann covered that area with polythene for a couple of years allowing the growth underneath to die back and then it was really easy to dig over, and the soil was rich and fertile. Some of the area she paved with small stone tiles and then she enclosed the area with fishing net, which is much cheaper than wooden trellis and withstands the winds. Around the edges are an array of plants, aquilegia, hostas, alliums, crocosmia and tiger lilies to name but a few.
Ann now has a beautiful peaceful sitting area where she can watch the birds and the loch and the setting of the sun on our long summer nights.
I hope you are all enjoying the fruits of your labour! If you would like to share any garden stories or tips you can send them to me, firstname.lastname@example.org
Local horticultural groups or gardener's clubs can add details of meetings etc to the garden page - email webmaster.
Peaches, grapes, tomatoes and other salad crops are
grown on The Poly Croft on the Isle of Lewis
Visit the web site for growing tips and location details of the most North Westerly vineyard in the UK...