Oh dear…

James a-digging

Not exactly a disaster… but we scratch our heads. What to do? The second section of concrete floor, a whole stall for (presumably) a cow came up easily. Another skip filled. Underneath the concrete, a few 18th century flagstones still intact and in situ – though large numbers seem to have been smashed up for hardcore. It’s just that underneath the hardcore, a roughly cobbled floor of rounded basalt boulders. Too nice for the skip, but they had to come up. We need to grow vegetables not cobblestones. Then… James had a brainwave – use them in bands between the relaid flags to make the paths we need to logstore, coal bin, etc etc. It’s a lovely feeling to be re-using the history of the ‘ruin’ – cottage to byre to garaging – and use it in the new use – tiny walled kitchen garden.
However, once rubble and sand are gone, cobbles saved, and all that, we have rather a large hole. We have some topsoil already piled high. Is there enough? More head scratching… Hmmm… Maybe… Part of ‘the wood’ (OK, it’s got four trees) belongs to us. It’s a sort of walled strip of ground that runs round the garden ends of this older part of the village, and is mostly in common ownership. Quite possibly it is descended from a defensive feature that ringed most of the villages and small towns in this part of the world. Anyway, our bit is privately owned. At one end is a sort of mound, probably the midden (rubbish heap) for the three cottages that comprise our property.
We’ve used it for bonfires for the last twenty years, so it’s a bit higher than it was. What if we excavate it, and take the soil/spoil for the walled garden? Even our layers will be filled with nails, hinges, and so on from all the junk timber we’ve burnt. But the deeper layers, which could go back to the 1750’s, might contain more interesting stuff. Sieves needed!


About david stuart

garden writer and journalist, and occasionally a designer, with a garden in the Scottish borders, and his pal's gardens in Edinburgh, London, and Lincolnshire. They keep both of us very, very busy. Books I've written listed on my website, and dozens of articles and garden and plant pictures. Currently working on several new projects. One of these was to return to painting - see the blog - and which is proving exciting! www.david-stuart.co.uk or, more fun, have a look at www.pinterest.com/davidcstuart
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