Garden Ravine Developments
The inspiration for Old Camps new Ravine Garden came from our much-loved visits to ‘The Lost Gardens of Heligan’, near St Austell, Cornwall. Over the years, we have spent many an hour immersing ourselves in the cool shade of their alpine-inspired, rocky ravine.
Construction started in late September, having laid out the site. Earth excavated from our other project ‘The Orto’ (Italian Vegetable Garden), has formed the steep, undulating banks of the ravine. This, coupled with further excavation of the lower end of the main walkway, has begun to create a sense of enclosure. Once planted with large tree ferns, acers and silver birches, the ravine should become the perfect micro-climate for a plethora of shade-loving plants and in time, a welcome shelter for visitors to the gardens, from the fierce, midday sun of the Summer months.
Sourcing the rocky boulders for the ravine has taken our search as far afield as North Wales and Staffordshire. Having visited several local quarries, we were fortunate to find 25 tonnes of boulders at our local reclamation yard – J. Brant Reclamation, Brimpton Common, Berkshire. A gem of a find and right on our doorstep!
With the aid of an excavator and bucket, each boulder, some of which weighed more than a tonne, was carefully positioned, so as to create the effect of a steep rockface. Smaller rocks are still to be added to create a scree effect on the slopes, as are the crushed blue/grey limestone rock paths.
The first phase of planting has begun to create the main structure for planting - Amelanchie trees, silver birch, acers, rhodedendrons, azaleas, tree ferns and witch hazel. A second phase of planting to create a bog garden at the low-lying points of the ravine is planned over the coming months, subject to the weather. Whilst some slopes in the ravine are cooler, north-facing ones, we will need to carefully consider the planting schemes for those which are dry, sunny and south-facing.
Whilst we anticipate to have the major construction and structural planting completed by Spring 2019, further planting schemes will take a further twelve months to evolve, due to the sheer scale of the ravine and the invariable cost involved in such a project.