28/10/2014 12:44 PM
Autumn is well and truly here and those mellow, golden days of late September and October, that fool us into thinking the end of the summer isn’t quite as bad as feared, are dwindling. Being such a summer lover can make me a bit gloomy, as the nights draw in and the clocks go back.
We’ve been here before of course, I know I’m not alone in turning to “activities” as the antidote to the onset of winter blues. It follows quite naturally that as foliage dies down and leaves fall, having a bit of an autumn tidy up strikes you as the sensible thing to do, especially when you realise the temperature is about 10 degrees lower than you’ve been used to and it is more conducive to bursts of activities like scrubbing, jet-washing, raking up leaves etc., than relaxing on the lounger, with your Kindle.
Hopefully there is room amongst this cleaning frenzy to actually do a bit of constructive stuff. Take stock, as the garden’s shape and size is revealed, by clearing up the clutter and pruning the old growth. How about getting a project underway like creating some raised beds? These are becoming increasingly popular, with media exposure extolling the virtues of raising the level of your gardening, as seen in many gardening DIY and makeover programmes.
It certainly helps to make weeding and harvesting that much easier if you raise the height of the plants you are growing, especially if you have back problems or other physical conditions that limit bending. However there’s a lot more to them than convenience. Raised beds are being used as an integral part of garden design schemes, where they contain veg or flowers and shrubs creating separate growing areas. As shown in the photo at the top of the page, one of our raised bed kits has been incorporated, in the split-level decking next to the Zone shelter. The designer planned this, not just for aesthetic reasons, but to cater for the ericaceous (lime hating) plants he wanted to use in this part of the garden, like the beautiful red Maple (Acer), with the ferns.
So raised beds can give you the chance to keep soil types separate. They can also add interesting shape and structure.
The photo below is an impressive example, sent to me by David Padgham for the customer projects section on the website. Rather than using our raised beds kits he has used ungrooved Jakwall timbers in a very clever way, making beds for water features, some are Alpine beds and a nifty bench seat is included too.