My en vogue beaver dam

 Hello m' chewy beavers,

Well, it'd be nice to say my blogging absence has been due to this week's Chelsea Flower Show, but it was in fact another Lulu (Lulu Urquhart along with Adam Hunt) that won Best Show Garden. 'Rewilding Britain Landscape' incorporated weeds, a wild meadow, dead foliage AND can you believe it.... an actual beaver dam, made with twigs pre-chewed by real beavers. I mean, really, what's not to love about that!!! As a big beaver lover, I think it was genius. I wish I had thought of it. 'Is it a garden' is as boring a question as 'but is it art'. It was planted, it was made, it looks beautiful. Just let it be. Bring on the beavers.


As regular readers will know, I'm such an en pointe, en vogue, le chic kind of girl (yeah right!), so of course I already have my own beaver dam, of sorts. Oh, I may not have the gentle trickling water or beaver soundtrack,  but I am custodian of an old Cornish dry stone wall, so that's rather Chelsea-esque isn't it!?

A very brief history of the front garden: Monstrous, Leylandii hedging stood. Monstrous Leylandii was slain by hire-a-dad-with-a-chainsaw . Mutant stumps and roots were left in situ for artistic effect (nothing to do with being tough bollocks to move). The trunks and twigs were laid across, creating a type of 'dead hedge' that would benefit wildlife (nothing to do with unwanted pain in the ass skip trips). 

This for a while was called the 'Confedgery' [made up word alert]. A Coniferous 'Fedge'  - a cross between a fence and a hedge. The Confedgery is so 2020/ 2021. It has now been rebranded and become 'the beaver dam'. Much more 2022 don't you think?



The soil was a bit rubbish, the life sucked out of it, so each year I stuff the twiggy pockets with piles of soggy leaves that I sweep up from the path. The plants rather seem to enjoy it. So do the birds, resident slow worms and passing frogs. The foxgloves, quaking grass and oxeye daisies self-seed themselves freely but are persuaded into better positions. The ferns also freely spawn by themselves.


The hawthorn tree is probably as old as the dry stone wall. All the other plants, bar the mystery azalea which was here when we moved in, are hand-me-downs or gifts. Who needs a big Chelsea show garden budget ?!

Hawthorn blossom

Azalea  (variety unknown)

Rosa 'Scentimental' 

Of course I am always on the look out, whilst on my walks, for driftwood, interesting twigs and fir cones to add.

'Rewilding' was all over Chelsea this year. So please don't over garden yourself. Put your feet up and pour a preferred tipple instead. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to see if Monsieur will gnaw some twigs and pop a hole in our neighbour's pond liner, for that more authentic, naturalistic look.

Are you a wild thing? Please send gossip.

Lulu xXx


 

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Comments

  1. totally love your wild, beaver dam front garden and your attitude!!! <3
    because i´m a wild thing :-D never was into *compulsive gardening* - i´m way to lazy. and i do love nature - and she is always more happy when left alone.
    oxeye daisy envy here - i had lots in the un-mown lawn/meadow in the front garden - but last winter the nasty voles have eaten ALL the rhizomes!! all! just leaving soil hills where the daisies used to bloom!
    i guess it is the revenge for that i planted the tulips in pots in the shed.........
    cheers my dear! xxxxx

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    1. Glad you like my Beaver-tude and that you're a wild thing too Beate. I imagine the vicious voles were plotting revenge all winter, having stripped them of the tulip bulb delicacies ;) xXx

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  2. I absolutely love your garden. If you scrape a few of the leaves back and chuck all your veggie trimmings under them it'll rot down nicely and feed all the soil. Instant compost bin without a bin.

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    1. Thanks Cherie love. I would usual worry about ratty with peelings, but seeing as ALL the local cats seem to hang out in the front garden (and sometimes do gladiatorial fights) , that could be a plan! xXx

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  3. My favorite way of getting kicks, I go down town, I hustle chicks, Beaver Patrol!! Whenever I hear mention of beavers I'm instantly transported to Indie night at The Powerhouse in Birmingham and annoying Pop Will Eat Itself's Clint, who was always propping up the bar.

    When I saw Lulu named as the designers who'd created that Chelsea garden I thought it might have been you! What did you think of Monty and Joe discussing if it actually qualified as a garden or was it more of a landscape?
    Anyway, I'm happy that letting nature take over is becoming more acceptable. I've hardly done anything in our garden since last year and am loving seeing what's survived the winter.
    I love your garden, it never fails to make me envious. xxx

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    1. Beaver Patrol! I love it Vix! How can I have escaped that obnoxious Pop Will Eat Itself tune :0 There's been that landscape or garden discussion going on for a few years now. Someone must feel controversy needs to be added to spice up an otherwise quaint show. The way I view it : our landscape is constantly being eroded, why not emulate it in our gardens!? That idea in itself is not very groundbreaking really - goes back way before Capability Brown's time xXx

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  4. We are most definitely on the wild side when it comes to gardening and there are many parts of our garden where nature is absolutely in charge. We loved the beaver garden too and like Vix, watched the discussion between Monty and Joe. I thought Monty was uncharacteristically harsh about that garden. Of course it was a garden! It was naturalistic but a work of genius. It doesn't matter how big or small a part the gardener plays; if he so much as lightly prunes a bush or alters the arrangement of a log pile, he's altering the aesthetic. Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

    I enjoyed the description and glimpse of your lovely front garden - it's quite a large area isn't it? I did laugh at the hiring of a dad with a chainsaw and the "confedgery." I can also relate to the avoidance of the tip and somehow making it work. We used to have an old toilet in the garden we filled with bog plants (the ultimate bog garden) in an effort to avoid a trip to the tip! xxx

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    1. I completely agree Claire, of course it was a garden! Even if there was a strict textbook on what a garden is, or should be, the very fact that one of the biggest horticultural events allowed it as a submission AND to be physically made, makes it a garden! They do like to obsess on this garden vs landscape thing - the lines have always been blurred - and rightly so. I believe us gardeners and non-gardeners increasingly have a duty to recreate lost environments. I suspect Monty may have been playing devil's advocate, as fellow presenter Joe Swift had correctly predicted the beaver garden would win. Good cop, bad cop I suppose ;)

      Now that does sound like the ultimate bog garden! :) :0 ;) xXx

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  5. Dear Lulu
    Your garden is beautiful (no surprise there). I found it interesting how the top three of the People's choice winners had gardens and planting ideas that were more formal and traditional - paths, rills and herbaceous borders.
    Happy gardening!
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Thanks Ellie :) Yes - maybe it's like that bit in the Back to the Future film - where Marty McFly, played by Michael J Fox, does that ridiculous guitar shred. The audience are horrified, so he says "I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it" [personal side note - are they???]. Happy gardening xXx

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  6. Wild indeed - a garden visit requires a machete to find the summerhouse - the bees and the cat love it! no beavering or confedgery but certainly wild meadow meets jungle vibes going on ....

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    1. Meadow meets jungle sounds great Kate, and the machete adds a certain drama to the scene :) xXx

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  7. I'm sure it was you really! You're just being modest! Your own beaver dam is beautiful and the garden really is looking resplendent!
    Your beautiful pine cones are great. Confession....I stole a really unusual pinecone from a tree from a Monastery in the South of France about 14 years ago...I feel really guilty about it in retrospect!
    The Ox-eye daisies (Are they?!) look so fresh and beautiful!x

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    1. Oh yes I am secretly sat here polishing my glass trophy Kezzie (I wish!). They are indeed Oxeyes (the 'he loves me, he loves me not' game has French origins in these big daises) . I wouldn't ever return to that monastery if I were you Kezzie, you are bound to be on a most wanted poster! ;) xXx

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  8. Hello Mrs Eager Beaver, you certainly have got a lovely little beaver dam going on there, I like the pine cone topping and think it i is worthy of the Flower Show. I haven't watched the tv coverage yet but have recorded it and had hoped the wild garden would win so am pleased to read here that it has. What next for your beautiful garden? a bat roosting station would be a good addition :)

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    1. Sorry for the spoiler Betty Beaver :0 !!! What next for the show garden - a mission impossible style aerial squirrel run??? I also seriously like the idea of a bat cave. I am re-reading the Hunger Games at the moment, so I am now imagining all sorts of OTT simulated environments....hmmm..... xXx

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  9. Would you believe I thought of you when I heard about the winning garden. And that's before I knew you were a big beaver lover! I'm all for "rewilding" and wild gardens in which so-called weeds, wildflowers and wildlife go hand in hand with your usual cultivated garden plants! So yes, I think I'm definitely a wild thing! As for beavers, they seem to have made a return to our neck of the woods after many years of absence!
    Love your 'Confedgery' turned Beaver Dam, and Old Cornish Dry Stone Wall might well be next year's Chelsea talking point. I can definitely see you winning at least a Gold Medal for it! xxx

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    1. Yeah, I'm going to need yet another stage name now Ann!!! ... as well as a good design! Gotta love a beaver - good to hear they grace Belgium again too now. Mark Gregory's 2018 'Welcome to Yorkshire' is one of my all time favourite show gardens. It had a stunning dry stone wall. Wouldn't it be something to see a Cornish hedgerow in full bloom :) xXx

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  10. I love your garden, so colourful. You've certainly been busy creating the Dam, might even say you been "Beavering"away at it! 😕
    The colour combination of ferns & foxgloves is delightful and Hawthorn blossom too. A sure sign that summer is nearly here.
    I have a "wild area" at the bottom of my garden and no, it's not because I'm lazy. It's damp & shaded there so three years ago I tried this re-wilding idea and have been surprised at the range of plants that moved in. Enjoy the week ahead. 😊 🐕 🐢

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    1. Thanks David, haha yes, I do strive for beaver power :) Summer is certainly here. Actually, before the weather broke yesterday, it has been far too hot to garden :0 Great to hear you have a some wilderness at the bottom of your garden too xXx

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  11. Oh dear, I'm mostly neat and tidy, especially in the front garden - short grass, flowers and plants. The back garden has a touch of wildness though, as I love Cornish walls and borders but it's still not fully wild.
    Love the photos, of your garden, Lulu. As for the Beaver Dam - superb. Good wishes.

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    1. Thanks Mike :) You sound like a neat and tidy gardener like my dad. I think he is horrified with parts of my garden! You are very lucky to have some Cornish stone wall. A friend of mine wanted one, but was quoted a fairly substantial build cost - not surprising really due to the materials and skilled manpower needed xXx

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  12. Ooooh I do love your front garden. Sounds wonderful and looks so lovely. I love how in a small island we can have such different plants some of yours look very exotic to me and I suspect would not grow here at all. Our front garden has had a few changes since we moved in twenty years ago but we have planted little. We have moved a path to make it more convenient to get to the house after we had a porch built, we also built a large shed to keep our canoes in which we put a green roof on. Planting has consisted of an apple tree and some hazels to create a hedge. We have self seeded hawthorns a plenty bought to us by the birds using the nesting boxes on the end of the large shed. There a lots of flowering plants which look lovely at this time of year but were all in the garden when we moved in, I never weed and just let it do its thing. We have a bird feeder stand in the middle of the flowering patch which randomly gives us wheat and sunflowers when the dropped seed sprouts. The birds love it and so do we watching them all flying about doing their thing. We have no grass in either our front or back gardens.

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  13. Thank you SM :) Your front garden sounds like bird paradise - green roof to peck at, nesting boxes and delicious sunflower seeds. How fab that some of them self seed too! I have an ugly utility area that would be better covered with a green roof, but that's a project for another day, month or possibly year :) xXx

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