The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

Yen Garden

A Japanese Zen garden...with a bit of Yorkshire relish!

The Man That Can had been left to his own devices on Friday afternoon as I am being 'phased' back into work.  On my return he had completed the first raised bed which already contains two climbing roses 'Dawn' and a clematis scrambling up the Folly arch.  The retaining sleepers and soil were re-used from the veg bed.

And then it rained...heavily.

We were out in the garden a little before 9am on Saturday morning.  The sun was shining and there was much to attempt to do while it remained dry.

Prunus Kanzan (flowering cherry) was the first thing on our long list of tasks.  Once we found exactly the right spot for it, some well rotted leaf mold was added to the soil and a good stout stake inserted for support.

Task number two involved bedding in a further sleeper recycled from the veg plot.  The soil from the plot was levelled and weed membrane laid.

Then came the we took the opportunity to nip out to the builders yard to fetch some more gravel.  It's astounding how much gravel we've used in this garden since moving here!

After lunch the end piece went into the new bed.  Blocks left over from the patio were added to the left hand side and soil backfilled.

Next the new arch was assembled.  

We played around with the layout of our new Yen Garden to get it just right.  The plan as I mentioned in a previous post is always subject to change so it took some time, viewing from various places in the garden and sitting in the warm sunshine to get the 'feel' just right too.

Staying with the recycling theme, we lifted a large clump of Japanese Anemone, split it and replanted a piece in the original spot...

...and the other piece behind the cherry tree.  It's quite a tall pink variety so should be perfect here.

Wisteria 'Caroline' was planted in the newly created bed.  I carefully unwound the Wisteria from the cane and rearranged it on the arch.  There are two main stems and lots of shorter ones lower down the plant.

While The Man That Can does all the hard work, I am still on light duties.  This included arranging all the plants, but not the actual planting.  So, all the fun bits I suppose...

...and taking photos of course!

We were given a very large rhododendron last year that had outgrown our neighbours garden.  Never one to say no to a plant, it was quickly potted up and temporarily put in an empty spot until we knew what to do with it.

I noticed a few new buds appearing lower down the plant so we took out a few of the oldest branches and trimmed all the dead stuff away.  We tried to balance up the look of the plant as best we could and repotted it in a new container using ericaceous compost. A good feed with slow release granules specifically for rhododendrons, a drench with collected rain water and topped off with cornish pebbles should give it a chance.  It's a bit suck-it-and-see.  

All planting has been done in the cherry tree bed.  Two acers have been planted in containers and top dressed with the same pebbles to bring it together.

I read that this style of garden is about balance rather than symmetry.  TMTC and I both have OCD tendencies so creating asymmetry was something quite challenging and we had to keep reminding ourselves of this mantra.

I think we may just have achieved it.

I didn't want to completely reveal our Yen Garden just yet as there are a few things to add.  

We have discussed, rediscussed and discussed some more what will go in the bed above alongside the Wisteria.  The initial plan was black stemmed bamboo in containers; however I wasn't comfortable with the possibility of it becoming a problem and read all sorts of horror stories about falling out with neighbours due to the plants escaping into their gardens!

So the planters have been repositioned to contain...something else.  The idea of plants to screen remains, but after some more discussion and some further research we have agreed on....well, watch this space.


  1. Wow when you three have ideas they certainly come into fruition speedily. It's looking wonderful and I look forward to sitting outside with you in the sunshine enjoying it, well done to you all. Xx

  2. The ideas ruminate around the old grey matter for a verrrrrrry long time. They very rarely reach the scribbled-in-a-notebook stage until we can afford to make it a reality lol xx