Gabions

Gabions covered in white roses

Gabions covered in white roses

Gabions are an Italian invention – the word means large cages – but when we asked for these to be erected, none of our Italian workforce recognised the name.

These gabions are holding back a very tall bank which we cut into in order to make a turning place in what was otherwise a 300 metre blind single-track drive.

The mesh cages were filled ‘in situ’ with rocks, some of which we bought, and others of which we ‘lifted’ from the environs.

The structure wasn’t the most beautiful thing to start with, but we planned to get climbing plants growing up it straight away.

The main problem with the site is that the water table is very high at certain times of year: dig and your hole instantly floods.

Lavender doesn’t flourish there, probably for that reason. Sweet peas are quite happy, though.

We had a very small wisteria which we nicknamed ‘the stick’; it grew a little bit and then died.

Roses so small they don't show up in the other photo

Roses so small they don’t show up in the other photo

The red rose chugs along.

The white rose is a different story. When we bought it, we were told to ‘stand back’ after planting it or it would knock us over, it grows so fast.

After 5 years it ‘owns’ the gabions, reaching right to the top. It doesn’t need pruning, and it attaches  to the mesh all by itself.

It blooms only once a year, but its foliage is always fresh and green.

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