Ersatz Desert

21 Mar

Finally I get round to making the most exciting purchase of the year so far.

Something i’d been looking forward to for months. . .

. . . a ton of gravel. I must be getting old.

Specifically a ton of crushed local gritstone. The colour is a little anaemic, but for £44 I told myself I was happy with it. I did consider crushed basalt (nearly black) or blue slate chippings but they were twice the price. Besides, gritstone tends to harbour acidic soil, which is easier for most plants to cope with than basic soil. Also, it comes from the beautiful, nearby Dark Peak area of the Pennines that I know and love (so I paid somebody to destroy some of it, hmm) which seems somehow more suitable than transporting alien stuff from far afield (the opposite criteria to how I choose my plants, hmm).

I’ve done the laborious work of carting it round to the back garden in buckets and mixing it about 5:1 with garden soil so it is supremely free-draining. So now I have all the ingredients of an ersatz desert. That’s –

-A raised bed in the sunniest position I have.
-A roof that lets the light through and the air circulate, but keeps the rain out.
-Extremely poor soil that is far more stone than soil.

All I need is plants. I have a handful already, they are now planted permanently in place, tilted slightly to one side as an extra precaution against moisture collecting in their rosettes. What, I ask you, can possibly go wrong?


4 Responses to “Ersatz Desert”

  1. Mark and Gaz March 21, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    Job well done there! Looking forward to seeing what plants you will be putting in 🙂

    • thechthonianlife March 22, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      Cheers. Whatever it is, they’d better not grow too tall with that roof over their heads. Deliberately looking for modest sized plants will be a new experience 😉

  2. Peter March 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Nothing can go wrong! Your desert is coming right along!

    • thechthonianlife March 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

      That’s the kind of can-do attitude this project needs! At the moment I just look at it and I think well, at least it’s tidy. Lots of promise to come

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