Monday, February 21, 2011

New old stone bridge opens...

Hello All,

Here we go again! I'm sure you have all been wondering what ever is that guy going to think of next?....

Well in answer to your question I have lots more to share with you before we even get up to the present day!

Before I bore you all again with my mad cap gardening a quick hello to our ever expanding audience from...UK, USA, Canada, Russia, Denmark, France, Ireland and Vietnam! I have to say we are getting a variety of readers all logging on to get the latest of how this little piece of Somerset (or as we locals like to say "Zomeerrsett") turns out!

February Has been a miserable month here with really low light levels which has made photographing the birds really tricky. I Have however had the continued pleasure of the new Reed Buntings visiting the garden which is nice to see. A beautiful Green Woodpecker has also started to put in a more regular appearance over the last couple of weeks and I have attempted to get some shots of him but he hasn't quite come close enough yet to get a real A1 shot, but to prove his attendance here's the best of a bad bunch....

Following on from the last blog when I worked on the new wildlife area and planted lots of bulbs, here's a picture of the first flowering bulb of this year (2011)...a lovely miniature iris growing out of the bank of the dry(ish) river bed..

Ok on with the gardening and I am taking you back to September 2010 again and the start of my next hair brain scheme! I have written in previous posts about my desire to recycle whatever materials I can,and to date I have told you about my recycled wheel barrow planter, landscaping with recycled branches and logs even using up old bits of sleepers to make benches amongst other things. To continue this theme and not to waste anything I have been piling stones or rocks which have been dug up out of the garden to one side for later use. At the time of digging these rocks up I didn't really have much of a plan for them other than possibly using them for a rockery or similar. Thinking about how the garden links together I wanted to build something to make the ditch running across the middle of the garden more interesting and a feature which linked in to the rest of this area. I had already recycled left over sleepers and fence posts to make a simple bridge but this still felt like 'just a few planks across a ditch'. After much head scratching I came up with the idea to build a real 'proper' feature which these rocks would be perfect for....'A new old stone bridge!' I also had a couple of sections of old concrete drainage pipe which I had found under a pile of rubbish at the bottom of the garden....just the job!!

This is the area at the end of the ditch which was a none de-script border at the edge of the lawn and ripe for some 'Higgy' development! 

As this area is in the ditch although drained it still gets quite wet in winter so anything built had to take this into account and not create a problem for standing/draining water. Therefore the base of my new bridge was built on a substantial layer of hardcore and gravel to allow good drainage. In the picture below you can see that the bridge is actually constructed above ground level with just the concrete pipe sat down into the bed of gravel.

Behind the bridge I used more gravel and hardcore to add a 12" layer of further drainage before back filling with soil which had been dug out of the wildlife area...

This picture below shows the bridge with backfilled soil, note the boards used to the side to add more depth to the shallow ditch and to help blend the finished soil level into the bordering lawn...

The soil was then prepared and planted with grasses and wild-flower seed mix which when grown up should hopefully give a nice natural feel to this feature...

The turf from the surface of this ditch was taken up and used to create natural looking banks inside of the boards, Planting pockets were dug with polythene and soil which were then planted with a variety irises. I have planted irises which should give year round interest due to their differing flowering times. The bottom of the ditch was laid with a weed membrane and then pebbles and gravel added to give a dry river bed effect....

The below picture gives you a glimpse over the top of the bridge to the dry stream bed which runs down the edge of the garden and links into this main feature...I will cover this in more depth next time...

From the picture above you have had a quick glimpse of the dry stream bed and the raised vegetable planters which I will cover in more detail next time. With the weather warming up slightly I may even have some up to date gardening activities to write about! The light should also be improving as we move towards Spring so I also hope to be able to show you a few more photographs of my feathered visitors....

Once again many thanks to all of you who are logging on regularly it is appreciated. I hope that you are finding my daft ramblings interesting and please do feel free to leave comments and ideas which I would be really pleased to discuss in future posts...

Cheers for now...


  1. Hi Higgy First time I have had to look at your Blog ,it looks terrific ,your like myself always looking for ways to improve and modify ,think we should both take a break and get some "us" time in and go fishing!! But we won't!!! we will get our backs in pain and in bits and we will struggle on doing what we like to do .
    Regards Mick (Grandpaddy)

  2. I'm gobsmacked. I caught up with the whole notion of gardening only the summer before last, and I've barely scraped the surface.

    Fantastic inspiring jopb.

    Keep up the good work

  3. Here’s a suggestion. After building a dry creek bed, dress them up a bit. If you are a little ambitious about it, try installing a bridge over the creek bed. Or, you can add plants to soften the edges. Tall ornamental grass can actually serve as “bookends” at both ends/entrances of the bridge.

    Cecilia Green


  4. Thanks to all of you for your comments. This area does now have some ornamental grasses around it which mix in lovely with the irises and creates a nice natural progression from the more formal part of the garden into the wild flower lawn and wildlife area!
    Please keep the comments coming!

  5. Hello there, Higgy. It's great to know that you still keep your garden in good condition. I wonder if you have added more plants there. The old stone bridge was a wonderful feature, by the way. It leads you to an awe-inspiring part of your garden.

  6. Thank you for the kind comment it is appreciated. This bridge leads to the raised vegetable beds and then by following the path alongside the dry stream you come into the wildlife area and wildlife pond. Glad you enjoyed it!