Posted: 05/02/2015 at 23:58
I need a bit of help in figuring out what I have on my hands. This is going to be a bit long, I apologize in advance.
My garden is heavy clay throughout, I suspect that most of it is subsoil dumped on when the house was built, with a token amount of topsoil on top. You dig down one spade depth, you can literally sell it to potters for throwing pots. I understand that heavy clay soil will need a lot of improving, but it will always remain clay soil, albeit improved. Here is where it gets confusing for me. The garden is on two levels, first area is level with the house, then a sloping flower bed across the entire width of the garden, then the upper level. Here's the question: would you call the sloping bit, with heavy clay soil, and facing north, but not shaded by walls or trees a north-facing aspect, or full sun? And would you call it well-drained because it's on a slope, or would you call it waterlogged because it is heavy clay? I find that in winter and wet weather it is sticky and wet, and in summer it is bone dry on the surface, but wet enough at a spade's depth. Same question goes for the east-facing sloping bit at the side of the garden? This one is backed by a garden wall which means it only gets sun in the morning, but does this make it a partially shaded wet area, or a partially shaded dry area? It already has a couple of large, mature shrubs and a tree in this bit, so I assume those roots are taking up a lot of the moisture because I struggle to grow anything in there at all. It is literally bare soil, with even couch grass only struggling in it here and there. I am finding it very difficult to know what types of plants I should try to grow in these bits, anything I have tried so far seems to struggle, regardless of whether it's meant for sun, shade, dry or wet situations. Help please?