At the end of 2010 we moved to a new home, giving up my first garden that I had worked on for over ten years. After years of trial and error, I had became confident dealing with hard, clay soil in a small garden space. Now, I felt completely daunted by this new, large, open space and sandy soil. Where to begin?
Overwhelmed by indecision, I decided to simply start somewhere, acknowledging that I could always move things around later.
I created six main beds with the path to the shed running down the center and just started adding plants. I had no idea how things would grow and wondered if they even could, since the previous occupants had done little gardening. When I say ‘sandy’, I do mean like sand at a beach—it just runs through my fingers and I rarely find worms.
In additional to the perennial beds, a small fish pond was added near the patio and several raised beds were installed for year round vegetable growing. I planted some dwarf fruit trees and fruit bushes as well. The good thing about sandy soil? It’s so easy to dig. At the old garden, my backyard pond took an entire day to dig. At the new garden? I was done in half an hour!
As I write this, the new garden is just over a year old. As expected, the sandy soil needs a lot of compost added for plants to survive, but they do grow tall really quickly. And so do the weeds. At least they’re easy to pull out. At my old clay garden, removing most weeds required a shovel and a lot of might.
These photos show the progress so far. Aesthetically speaking, I’m far from happy with many of the plant arrangements (too many clashing colours together), but it’s a start. The vegetable beds (I now have 7 raised beds) have provided abundant, ongoing harvests. No surprise, it takes a lot of plants to fill a large garden and the vision I have for this garden will take many years to fulfill.
All in good time.