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The first step to take when making a new garden is to clear away any materials that might interfere with subsequent cultivation or the erection of fixtures. Usually the site will carry some form of vegetation such as tall-growing weeds, grass, or scrub. These can be treated by setting fire to the area -but select a day when there is little or no wind. Any short grass can either be dug in or pared off and removed to a compost heap.
The soil might appear clean after this work has been done, but usually there are many weed-seeds lying dormant in the topsoil. these should be encouraged to germinate so that the young weed can be destroyed before any further work is done. In the early life of a new garden weed control is important, and it is better to start off with clean land if possible.
The modern small cultivating machines, which are easy to handle, can make an excellent job of cleaning the soil by churning the top few inches. After the soil has been treated, these machines can be converted into rotary mowers by purchasing and fitting suitable attachments.
If it is possible to let the land remain fallow for a few months it will be much easier to obtain a fine filth (especially in clay soils), and the young plants will make a better start.
Portions of the site that remain very wet after rain need special treatment. A tile drainage system can be constructed by laying agricultural drain-pipes in
a prepared channel about 2 to 2 feet 6 inches deep in the soil. The excess water enters these pipes at the unsealed joints and so flows away to a constructed outlet at the other and lower end of the property. Work of this kind must be carefully thought out. It is expensive but this drainage system will function for many years without any attention if the outlet is kept clean and free from vermin.
To avoid drainage expenditure you can convert a wet patch into a moss garden. There are many members of the moss and fern families well suited to such a garden, and they can be made very showy and attractive.
Empty garden space is a great temptation to over-plant. Give every shrub or tree ample room to grow to its full dimensions. When a garden is over-planted many of the specimens are deprived of light and space. Consequently they become deformed and their beauty is never fully realized. Over-planted gardens, especially those carrying many evergreens, are often dull and oppressive.