Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Visit Wednesday Feb 17

Photographs taken on Feb 17

This morning I made my fifth visit to the garden, timing arrival for what we had been informed would be the tree pruning with the truck arriving around 9am.

It was a slightly drizzly damp day, but not one requiring an umbrella. The garden was empty except for George sweeping.

I asked about the tree pruning and George said that the cutting lorry had been called off because of the rain. He then darted off and produced two plants of Bergenia, part of the collection I had brought the previous day as suitable material for the ground cover: evergreen, winter flowering, quickly spreading and tolerating shade.

He proposed to plant them on either side of the Durrell memorials facing the front gate.

Not enough Bergenia: He declared indignantly that there were not enough plants to fill the beds. I said they were never intended to be in the beds but to spread and cover the ground under the trees. They only flower in the winter anyway and would look rather dull as the first plants one saw on entering. I am sure the Durrell bros would concur.

Ivy climbs and suffocates: I also suggested that ivy should be planted in the bare areas under the trees to provide an evergreen ground cover. At this idea he practically exploded and shouted didn't I know that ivy climbs up trees and would suffocate them?

I told him as politely as I could as I could that it would be his job to clip the ivy round the trunk before it started to scale the heights, and that it was never too late to do that.

Even if ivy reaches the top branches, one can still chop it down at ground level and, if one wishes, eventually tease off the clinging suckering stems. They will die off anyway.

Along the waterfront side there is a long row of clipped bay trees trained to a ball shape at about 1½ metre intervals. I suggest that the same be planted at the four corners of the central fountain area, in place of the inevitable marigold beds. It would certainly add some style to the entrance.

Meaningless bed of fussy plant: Around the fountain there is a meaningless narrow bed of some fussy plant. This is quite unnecessary and should be removed.

There are also ugly carbuncles rising out of the four sides filled with what I suspect to be more marigolds.

Remove! - and allow the sides of the fountain to just slope away in grass to ground level and the corner plants of clipped bay.

I should like to point out the contrast between the Bosketto and the two around the port area.

When I contrasted them favourably to the Bosketto Team, the knee-jerk response was that they were maintained and financed by the Port Authority, which had more financial resources.

As an excuse this is rubbish and has nothing to do with the appearance and maintenance of the Bosketto, which in fact has far more workmen involved.

I have never seen any labourers pushing brooms in the Port, yet both areas are immaculately maintained. The garden along Xenofontas Stratigos by the New Port is a triumph of simple yet sophisticated design.

It has a completely green and white presentation, by which I mean white oleanders among variegated green planting: well placed branches, shade and open areas equally distributed.

As far as I can see, the plants in the beds are entirely self-sufficient and perennial - no constant moving and replanting - only clipping over and tidying according to the seasons.

British Cemetery, Corfu ~ And for more contrasts, there is the ultimate example of the British Cemetery.

Maintained solely by an old man in his 80s, the British Cemetery occupies an area several times the size of the Bosketto. It is also one of the island's Must-See tourist attractions, despite receiving no financial support from this direction.

It is famous for its wild orchids and in season is spangled with cyclamen and snowdrops.

An example for us and something to aspire to.

Summary of Feb 17 visit

  • Most urgent ~ Tidy and improve exterior of WC public lavatory at south-end entrance

  • Childrens Playground

    Instal and improve seating for adults. This could include easy-to-make pergolas at both road and coast ends for better shade.

    See the diagram showing how they'd fit easily over the many benches spread around, not all positioned with thought or offering real repose.

  • Benches ~ Check how many benches on the far side - if any - have good views out to sea or the canal or the Old Fortress. There are too many benches and clumsy brick-edged flower beds on the side of the main entrance. These can be dangerous for old or unsteady visitors and I have myself seen a child on a tricycle crash painfully into one of these brick-lined beds.

  • Cluttered and claustrophobic: The whole area is too cluttered and claustrophobic

  • This is not like a botanical garden where enthusiasts come to enjoy and examine the plants.

  • Effective shade: If you want to provide effective shade, a few benches would be welcome in hot weather among the trees in the middle section. At present, the impression is one of a No-Entry forbidden area.

    Stone or gravel path: I suggest a narrow winding path, stone laid or gravel and edged with:

  • Grassy Liriope
  • Bergenia
  • Violets
  • ... with a ground cover of periwinkle or ivy.

    All these are tolerant of the deepest shade.

    Trimming the ivy: The gardening staff seem nervous of ivy as if certain it will engulf the whole garden.

    Keeping it under control would give them something to do to ensure it does not.

    Not enough time! ~ There'll be time a-plenty once the 'fiddly' annuals are eliminated and there's no more watering required.

    This depends on them accepting the suggestion of plants and removal of benches.

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