Here at Tanglewood, I have plants wedged pretty much everywhere. They’re nearly all functional plants as well – plants that provide for us in one way or another, like fruit, vegetables, herbs and companion plants.
Since moving in here, roughly four years ago, I’ve been hard at work. Still, there has been one area that has proven impossible to garden in! There is a south-west facing corner of our house that had a nearly barren space for a border garden when we moved in. I planted all sorts of things there. Each year I’ve tried to plant something else that is easy to grow and low-management, and each year it has died. There’s not much for me to assume other than the soil must be atrocious. Since we are renting, I really don’t feel like it’s reasonable to test, pull out and replace the soil on an entire section of the house border, so I thought of an alternative.
Of course, containers in the border always look just like that – containers sitting in a border garden that should otherwise be planted in lush border plants. So I solved that problem with another idea.
A Deck! I mean, how hard can a simple deck be to build?
It really wasn’t that hard. It cost me roughly $150 in lumber and hardware. I constructed a simple frame, staggered supports throughout, and covered the whole thing in cheap furring lumber.
After that, I actually decided to cut the ENTIRE THING IN HALF! (Mwahaha… I felt like a mad scientist!)
I did it because I have a number of “wimpy” potted trees (temperate-loving figs and some European plums, and whatnot) that need to be seriously sheltered during the winter. By carefully thinking through the way the deck needed to sit when finished, and the way I could use it to prop against the base of the house, packed with straw, over the winter wimpy-trees, I was able to figure out which boards to cut to make the deck stable when assembled, and yet modular and easy to deconstruct in the fall. We’ll see if it really works, next winter…
Anyway, after cutting it apart and sticking it back together, leveled on the cinder blocks, I installed 2×6″ boards along the edge to give it a nice finished look. The thing I love most about this project was that it is super easy to move if we should ever leave where we are currently living. That way, the poor landlady isn’t stuck with my deck and I get to take it with me.
So now I am awaiting my dwarf fruit tree order (it should arrive in two weeks – woo!) so that I can get to work on filling my deck with potted plants! Of course I may be able to leave a little space for a reading nook or a sunning spot for the dogs… I guess… (Or at least enough room to squeeze between pots and water everything!)
Have you ever had to come up with a creative way to fill an awkward space in your garden?