Seat Tops our Three Tier Treat
We are extremely lucky up in Consett to be at the top of may hills and surrounded by miles and miles of beautiful countryside in most directions. At our Community Garden site at Blackhill Club there is a fantastic corner where you can watch the sun set, looking down past the housing estate, which leads on to the amazing rolling hills behind. We wanted to make the most of this view and create an entrance feature for guests at the social club.
What We Did
We began the transformation by digging out the edge area of grass, we lightly tilled the soil and added compost before planting an array of bulbs, seeds and plants. We chose perennial varieties which are beneficial to bees and butterflies. The varieties we chose should include a spectrum of colour and bloom throughout the year.
Once the ground was planted we covered the area with a thick layer wood chip mulch to feed the pants slowly as it degrades, hold water in the soil and help to minimise weeds.
.Additional height and visual stimulation was added by planting a fruit tree a butterfly bush and a flowering currant bush. Later we added more varieties of fruit bushes and a dramatic rose bush for impact.
Next we decided to create a herb bed feature which will grow culinary (edible) herbs, we looked at different planter designs and began looking at different ideas. We decided to go large and tall creating a three tier planter with nine growing segments, using a spiral formation.
We collected materials, which we reclaimed or donated to us, that would be suitable for the planter we wanted to build. We managed to find some old but sturdy fencing and an array of wooden pallets.
Our team began building the square planter shapes using the donated fence material, each was sized to fit directly on top of the other.
Once the planters were shaped we added a base to each one using the pallet wood. Once completed each layer of the planter was moved it to it's final location.
When the planters were in position we half filled each layer with topsoil. In the centre we added a mix of hay, chicken and horse manure and in each corner we added and organic, peat free compost. As each layer was filled we added the next and followed the same process. Our top layer was filled slightly different with a more layered method of topsoil, manure, compost, because the final layer would be fully planted.
In the visual corners of the design we added our herbs; Parsley, Thyme, Sage, Mint, Chives, Oregano, Coriander & Lovage. The top layer was filled with Strawberries and a hardy Consett Bay.
Finally we covered the planter in a layer of wood chips to protect and feed the herbs. Everything was well watered in and secured in position.
At a later session we treated the planter with oil and painted the planter with a dark brown, natural tone to finish the aesthetic and help protect the wood. The wood will be retreated annually to help it last as long as possible.
We were kindly donated a picnic table by a local resident which was delivered to us in it's dismantled state, so like a married couple with an IKEA project and no instructions, we just about managed to stay friends as we rebuilt it. Once it was completed we gave it a coat of protective oil before moving it into position. The table is now in the perfect position to enjoy a perfect view.
Pleased with our efforts we managed to take a break to pose for some obligatory "after" shots.
We had a great harvest from our first year of herbs from the three tier design and our second year had a massive yield. The planter takes little maintenance and the shape seems to protect some what from our sometimes brutal weather.
The biggest maintenance task is harvesting and collecting seeds, which we all enjoy and now after we all love to have a little sit down and a chat, while enjoying the lovely view. We have updated more in this area which we will tell you about soon!
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