There was a really good Viburnum Davidii that was a feature of the Fairy Garden here at Gortnalee. It was planted about 10 years ago and really thrived. Well that was the case until this year. This is how it looked in July 2020
Mind you, when I look closely I can see a few leaves looking a bit damaged. However I was not prepared for what happened this year. I had been working in other areas of the garden and only came to tackle the Fairy Garden in June. I was shocked to see that half the lovely healthy shrub was dead. I cut off the dead branches hoping the rest of it would recover. Unfortunately it did not.
I kept removing the dead branches but eventually had to admit defeat. There was nothing for it but to remove the whole thing. Of course this meant a complete revamp of the Fairy Garden and the pressure was on as my granddaughter will be visiting in a few weeks! I had already made a change in removing the willow fence round the area and now I decided to remove a path along where the willow used to be – a redundant path! The willow fence had been replaced by a non-living fence made from off-cuts of the hazels in the woodland garden. I had tried sweetpeas in planters along the fence but they didn’t do well so the decision was to remove the path and extend the planting area. In this photo the dying viburnum is clearly evident.
So there was a bit of construction to be done including removing the dead viburnum. There was weedblock under the gravel on the path so it was easy enough to remove the gravel and redistribute on the remaining paths. I added some of my compost to the area and planted it up with Cosmos that will give colour for this year while I decide on parmanent planting for this newly extended border.
But that area was really in need of a complete rethink. The sweetpeas were removed, the viburnum was no more, and a rather bedraggled buddliea has been cut to the ground in an attempt to get it to do better! There was a path that went behind the Viburnum but ti was completely overgrown and some wild mallows and a Pheasant Berry had also invaded the border. The Cotinus was all in a heap and the whole thing had nothing to recommend it.
A bit of ruthless weeding out, cutting back and tying up recovered the path. My granddaughter will be so pleased because she and her Daddy made this path when she was only about 3 years old!
The space where the viburnum was had become a real planting opportunity. Doing my best to conserve as much of the lychnis flowers as I could, I added a couple of Achillea, a Geranium Magnificum, some Chinese Lanterns. a tiny Oxalis Triangularis, and a Saxifraga Stolonifera to the area. Since all the Lychnis in that area were white I added a pink one just for fun! I have no doubt these plants will quickly fill the area and add lots of seasonal interest. Since the soil where the plant had failed wasn’t very good I also put some Soil Renew round and about to help the soil to recover. I will mulch it well this winter and hopefully next year will see a really colourful display!
So now the revamp of the Fiary Garden is complete – all it needs is for one of my little visitors to decide where the Fairies should hang out!
It is amazing how this kind of change alters the whole atmosphere of an area. From being very overgrown and boring it now invites exploration so I am hopeful that my visitors will also enjoy it!