Learn how we prepared the pathways in the Landscape before the first of our deliveries arrived.
Preparing the pathways
Next up in the build is the path. Following the lines previously marked out, the team carefully excavate the subsoil to a predetermined depth. This depth is six inches and has to be precise as we are working to specific restrictions for excavation. Richard Lavelle is an old hand with the digger bucket and has worked the site on many occasions. Expertly he guides the machine and removes the subsoil leaving a two metre wide cut through the landscape. This is then filled with a mix of stone and stone particles to form a solid base for our path.
The excess soil from the path excavation is tipped into the planting bed shapes to give us some height and drama to the landscape. This also enables us to increase the usable soil depth for the really large plants which have deep rootballs.
Using the digger to form the path base
Our first delivery
This is always a nervous moment as our plants have been transported lying down! Our lorry arrives early in the morning carrying the stars of the show. Last seen some time ago, and selected by hand, this precious cargo has been loaded by experts. Slowly we begin to take the plants out in reverse to the loading. We specified a ‘curtain sided’ lorry so we could remove the flanks of the trailer and gain full access to the plants. Using a combination of straps and forklift the plants are unloaded and stood to enjoy a drop of rain on the leaves. The individual pots are watered, as they are quite thirsty after their journey!
Carefully placed plants tessellate in the lorry
A forklift removes plants from the lorry
Once the plants are unloaded (a total of five deliveries!) it's time to get them into the planting beds and into final position. Following our planting plan, plants are laid out and positioned to a number of aesthetic criteria. After some tweaking and sometimes a complete change of plan the plants are plunged into their new home and watered.
Plants are moved into position within the Landscape
Approximately 450 plants - big and small - are amassed and waiting to take their place in the landscape so we will be planting for quite a few days to come!
- Steve & Richard -
About Steve, Tony and Richard
Steve Ruddy is Manager of the Garden Development Unit, and is responsible for concept design, planning and delivery of a diverse range of projects, services and activities at Kew.
Tony Hall is responsible for Kew’s Arboretum, managing the globally important plant collections and heritage landscape. Expert in all aspects of plant growth and care, Tony manages the Arboretum Nursery ensuring the collections are safe guarded for the future. You can find out more about his work by following the Arboretum team blog.
Richard Wilford is the Collections Manager in the Hardy Display Section at Kew. His responsibilities include both nursery collections and collections on public display such as the Alpine plants, Grass Garden, Woodland and Rock Garden, and Order Beds at Kew. Richard also frequently contributes to the Alpine and Rock Garden team blog.
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