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sanity in need of restoring

Hi All,

bought a house with big (for me) garden at front and rear. My first house and first garden! Was in a bit of a mess and I didn't have much time so I paid someone to remove everything especially all the small stumps sticking up everywhere. Paid a small fortune...

Fast forward a couple of months and I have now bought some fruit trees, soon to arrive. So I thought I'd dig over the areas where trees are going to be sited. Not a huge task and was looking forward to it. Until I discovered all the tree stumps just under the surface... nicely chopped off and buried!!

Then to add salt to the wound, I start digging another area where another fruit tree is going only to find less than 6inch of topsoil and then a solid barrier. This turns out to be builders rubble, tonnes of it... Is it just my bad luck or is it always like this? My back aches, my arms and legs are going to drop off and my last thought before coming inside today was: I'm going to pave the bloody lot!

I only managed half of what I thought I'd be doing and have no desire/motivation to tackle the rest. Please tell me its all going to be worth it in the end!





  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,817

    Oh dear Bill.

    The adage to leave a garden for a year is sensible on all levels, not just what plants you have but it gives you time to learn about your patch, soil, sun/shade and all the other stuff. 

    You could get some cheap very large plastic pots and plant your trees in them for a year to give you more time to discover the garden. I had to do this with fruit treeas and bushes and last year was able to plant the last tree a plum. all seem to have managed OK in pots. Though do need watering. It may give you time then to sort out all your other garden problems.

    Hope this helps


  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,817

    Just looked at your other threads. A garden taked time, time to plan and time to grow.

    I started with a blank canvas 2010. I have concentrated on a small area at a time, Some shrubs and then fruit trees,our soil was also full of roots and rubble. Still is!image

    I planted my fruit trees in pots while we cleared the area they were going into and then put them in, they mostly fruited last year.

    Our veg has had to go into raised beds because of the soil. Perhaps you could do something like that where the rubble is, flowers, fruit, veg will all be Ok in them

    The best complement I had last year was that it was beginning to look like a garden and not a wilderness. Last year and the same this year I have set targets of what I want to have done by the next winter. This year for the first time it means I will have to maintain what I have done as well as starting new areas.

    I hope this may help. it is a long term thing and if you hurry you may make mistakes you cannot rectify later

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,295

    One morning about 15 years ago I went out to plant a couple of conifers. 2 days, 2 barrow-loads of bricks and a 12x14foot piece of carpet later I planted the trees. But the soil was still so poor they didn't do much. Moved one after improving some soil but too late for the other

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,212

    We have removed over 30 tons of rubbish from this garden over the last 18 years. and this morning I noticed that on top of one of the moles hills was a piece of house brick, a broken scent bottle and the plastic handle from a child's cowboy gun, all fairly normal for our soil I hasten to add.

    Sorry, Bill, but leaving a garden in that state is not uncommon. The advice given is sound. I would also add that slow and steady, bit at a time is better than killing yourself trying to do it all in one go. After all, gardening is supposed to be a pleasure, not a backbreaking chore which leads you to hate doing it at all.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,295

    Put some small buddleias in Bill. They'll be something for you and the insects to enjoy. They grow in nothing at all and can be discarded when you're ready for something better

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Hi

    Same sorry story for me too when we moved into our renovated house six yrs ago - builders rubble buried all over the garden.

    What to do? - well I did do the hard work in clearing it and improving my soil and now we get Silver in our local 'in Bloom' comps.

    Alternatively you could make use of the poor soil and utilise it for plants that like those conditions - quite an opportunity really  - rather like the earlier suggestion of Buddleia and other wildflowers.

  • Well once I'd slept on it things didn't seem to be so bad, although the aching was definitely a reminder. Thanks for your shared experiences.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,055

    Just remember - if you join a gym they'll charge you for getting to ache like that image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • GirasoleGirasole Posts: 193

    Oh Bill, you have had some problems and from the thread I see others have, too, but have offered some really good suggestions for you. Stand back and take your time to think things out and then gradually decide - let's be honest it is not life threatening and will be enjoyable eventually image

    When I moved into my new home about a year ago there was (was being the operative word) a huge bay tree taking up a lot of space and casting a huge shadow on the flower bed below. I eventually got a chap to come in and remove it but like you he left the huge base and miles of underground roots! With much patience on my part he eventually came back and has dug more or less everything up and made a very big hole. I have dug it over several times removing yards/metres of roots as I did so - satisfying in its way to boot. Am planning on plants with pots in the newly created space and low lying ground cover.

    Don't be discouraged as gardening can be fun, is very rewarding and therapeutic image

  • I wonder if people's expectations of how quickly a garden can be sorted out are still subconsciously affected by Titchmarsh and his Groundforce chums apparently doing the whole job in a weekend, and by some of the copycat programmes that pop up from time to time. What viewers needed to realise was that a lot of this work was achieved on substantial TV programme budgets and hefty inputs of advertising freebies from suppliers.

    The good advice on this thread is to pace yourself and enjoy your achievements while not worrying much about what's still to be done.

    As to the two specific comments about work not being properly done by contractors, there is no better way to choose a gardener than by word of mouth recommendation. Talk to them about the job and get a quotation for the exact work required, but accept that when they start digging they might find unexpected problems, so they need to know that they can talk it through with you and come to an agreement about varying the price.

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