Planning the landscaping

by Nick Mann
26th July 2012

With the harsh weather continuing, I’ve cheered myself up by ordering some more plants and bulbs for my 50th birthday (take note, South Somerset planning control department).

I’m itching to get on with the landscaping, although we have already planted a mixed orchard in half of the small field we own, full of all sorts of goodies.

My business, Habitat Aid, sells native trees and wildflowers as well as heritage fruit trees, which sets the tone for the design.

We’ve planted some real West Country rarities, including a Devon Sorb, various perry pears and mazzards (edible wild cherries).

I’m under-planting this area with native woodland bulbs, which stops me from fiddling about in the other sections of the field and garden, currently either buried under 600m3 of subsoil or looking like some sort of battle ground.

Eventually the field will also feature various meadow areas and a large wildlife pond. Incidentally, as the pond is going to be on agricultural land we had to apply for planning permission.

Bizarrely this cost more than the fee for the house, and I had to write a full design and access statement. I understand why the Environment Agency needs to have a look at any plans for ponds like this, but perhaps it’s not the best way to encourage people to dig them.

Sad really, because there’s been a dramatic decline in ponds with good water quality up and down the country, and we should be doing our best to create new ones to maintain wildlife habitats.

As far as the house is concerned, after a couple of weeks in the Italian sun we’re reasonably pleased.

There were no significant variations jumping out of the woodwork at us, and we just have to be philosophical about the delays brought by the weather; we’re around six weeks behind the original schedule.

Although it seems pretty optimistic, it would be nice to catch up a bit, which should be possible now the house is out of the ground and we can work clear of the mud.

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