We started on a new landscaping site last week, and due to the fact that we were rained out quite a few days, we are now at a point of pushing to get the site done so that we can move on to other jobs.
So far we are making decent progress re-shaping the structural soil of the property, and section for section we are starting to get that done and re-establishing growth on the newly sculpted banks.
The property that we are working on, has a very high water table, and water flow in the gardens has always been a problem despite the water canals leading water through the garden down to the natural streams at the bottom of the property, so contouring the earth just right for the water to go where we want it to in order to prevent structural damage to any buildings on the property is crucial.
Above you can see the first section of the garden that we started with, and that was the top bank at the entrance of the property. I will post the link to the video showing what the site looked like when we first started at the bottom of the post so that you can compare it to where we are currently on this site should you wish.
First we needed to back fill a one meter by four meter trench that was left vacant after the construction of the wall, then re-sculpt the natural flow of the earth so that water seepage and flow could occur naturally, without placing strain on their newly built walls.
We did this by dropping the gradient of the top bank ever so slightly, using that soil to back fill, and created a natural water flow path for surface water to run down without creating soil erosion, this also allows water to seep into the ground and join the natural underground streams that run out on the other side of the house.
The newly shaped and readied bank was then given a fresh layer of topsoil, and was then colonized with a array of plants mostly indigenous.
On the right hand side of the picture above, you will see all the young cutting of sour fig plants Carpobrotus edulis (L.) L.Bolus that has been planted, their root structure is brilliant at reinforcing the bank while serving as a beautiful ground cover with stunning purple flowers once they get going. Fortnight lilies or as we call them here rain lilies Dietes grandiflora DC, were planted on the back end of this section for the same purpose, they look beautiful, add some height and dimension to this section while their root system is great for underground water dispersion and steadying the soil. We then filled in with some wild strelitzias, aloes & tree aloes, and created a meandering footpath through this section with a quint little center piece feature created from an old garden pot as well as some non indigenous plant arrangements, and some gorgeous weathered rock. The footpath serves mostly aesthetic appeal, but will come in handy when garden work needs to be done in the future. other ground covers such as some variegated hen and chicken plants Chlorophytum as well as Crasulu's Crasulu Multicava were then brought up and filled in on the vacant spaces.
The great thing is that the majority of plants that we placed on this bank does extremely well under neglect - making it very easy to maintain.
And with that said we moved along to the next section, this was certainly a more time consuming and less fulfilling part of the garden, here we simply filled in embankments that were designed into the walls with topsoil and planted a selection of Daylilies Hemerocallis fulva and Dietes into them. we also filled in topsoil in the allowance space of the paving stones, and planted that up with Dwarf Mondo grass orMonkey Grass. Nothing too magical there.
The next section to be done was reshaping 320m2 of soil for proper water drainage, as all the water was currently damming up in one section of the yard, pushing back on the existing gabians/loffelstein blocks and newly erected wall forcing it to crack - but I will have more on that, the complications and challenges as well as how we managed to overcome them in the next post.
But in the mean time, while we started working on that I came across a windblown birds-nest, it was a weaver nest that had probably been taken down by some heavy wind and rain the previous night, and inside was a small little weaver looking up at me begging for food - the parents had clearly not visited the young chick who had fallen nest and all to the ground for feeding, and with all the commotion on ground level, I doubted that they would. So as per usual, I stopped my work momentarily and made my way to the closest shop to get some food and a syringe for feeding the little feathered friend.
Fed and happy the little bird soon dozed off for a nap - and I was able to continue my work on site...
Also, I have worms now!
A bit off topic - but the BSF (Black soldier flies) that I brought down from my well established Limpopo colony has miraculously made it through yet another cycle - I was under the impression that due to the colder climate here as well as moving house and forgetting about them for a few months, had all died, but it seems like I was mistaken.
One afternoon as I came from work, I noticed that there were a few flies in the container, and shortly after, I saw that they were starting to lay eggs, so I quickly stocked the bin up with some food for them and wet the earth enough for them to be mobile, next thing I new there were tiny little maggots in the soil... small blessings hey!
As promised - here is the link to the start up video: